Whether you’re experiencing an influx of sales due to an upcoming public holiday, a new discount offer or the fast-approaching Christmas season, ensuring your ecommerce business is ready to handle the order rush is essential to delivering outstanding customer service and staying ahead of your competitors.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the competitive retail market during peak times, which can mean the real issues associated with increased purchasing are overlooked. However, with careful planning, many of these obstacles can be avoided - delivering smooth-running operations at all times. In today’s post, we’ll be sharing some insider tips on packaging and wholesale logistics to help you stay ahead of the game and feel fully prepared for the increase of orders when they come in.
Bolster your inventory
While ensuring you have enough stock seems like a basic requirement, it’s often difficult to pre-empt customer buying decisions ahead of the Christmas season, particularly if your business is relatively new.
If you’re lucky enough to have a few years worth of order history on file, comparing the figures over the last few years is a great way to gain a better insight into ordering trends during specific times of year, like Christmas. For those who may not have this information, or if you have introduced some new products specifically for the festive season, it’s always better to have more stock than less, as this could be sold later in the year or the following Christmas.
Stock up on packaging supplies
Whatever you’re shipping to customers, your products will require suitable packaging to ensure they arrive undamaged to the end user, so don’t forget to order sufficient packaging equipment, too. From strong tape and cardboard boxes to bubble wrap and packing paper, these must-have items should be in ready supply to ensure all goods are securely and safely packed for transportation to deliver an excellent standard of customer service and optimise the efficiency of your supply chain process.
Again, comparing figures from previous years is a great way to calculate how much packaging equipment you require, however, it’s always best to have a surplus to account for any mishaps or welcome spikes in sales. It also goes without saying that if you’re introducing new items into your product range during the festive period, factor in whether they’ll need any specialist packaging beyond your standard supplies to guarantee they’re well-protected on route.
Aid supply chain efficiency with technology
Demand prediction is one of the most accurate methods to estimate stock order requirements, and efficiently manage wholesale logistics. Adopting artificial intelligence within your supply chain could be an effective way to speed up forecasting, planning and your overall strategy.
With the capability to predict monthly orders and seasonal trends, artificial intelligence could save valuable time on reordering inventory, while also reducing the costs of overstocking. While all predictions have room for error, artificial intelligence powered inventory management negates the risk of human error in manual data entry and report gathering - making it a viable addition to any online enterprise.
To stay ahead of competitors, artificial intelligence can not only optimise inventory management, but also increase stock turnaround and delivery speed. With figures suggesting that almost 50% of customers would shop online if they were guaranteed same-day delivery, it’s essential that your ecommerce supply chain is equipped to meet customer expectations, especially during busy periods to help your brand stand out from your market competitors.
Taking advantage of machine learning algorithms could also help you overcome potential glitches in the supply chain such as delivery complications. From calculating alternative routes to predicting arrival times, supply chain technology has the capability of providing a better view of your entire supply chain and its efficiency.
Maintain consistent customer communication
A key component of an efficient and agile supply chain is real-time visibility. Understandably, customers expect their delivery to be the same as promised at the point of order, so ecommerce retailers should do their utmost to guarantee this or at least keep customers in the loop on order progress with tracking visibility. This will work to better manage their expectations and help you deliver better value over your competitors.
Other options that can help bolster customer service through better communication is a live chat option on your site, which offers instant answers working to resolve queries or issues faster. If you have the resources, connecting the customer directly with an operator or customer representative is one of the most effective ways to achieve real-time visibility and notify the customer of any changes to delivery status. As standard procedure, we’d also suggest sending an email notification to announce the item has been dispatched - improving customer rapport and putting their mind at ease that their order will arrive in good time.
The key to keeping up with an influx of orders is all about careful planning and forecasting to manage customer demands and avoid potential breakdowns in the supply chain that may lead to a poor customer experience. In the event that delivery is likely to deviate from standard practice or customer expectations, consistent communication and real-time visibility are likely to be the best approach to avoid reputation damaging glitches during peak season.
In search of quality packaging supplies for your online business over the Christmas period? To find the perfect packaging solution to meet your needs, browse our expansive range of quality packaging supplies today.