Most eCommerce brands can anticipate increasing orders and product demand during the holidays. The holiday season is the most important time of year for print on demand businesses. It’s critical to have the right shipping strategy and fulfillment processes to keep up with the unprecedented volume in such a short period. Because it is the holiday season, expect an increase in order and shipping volume. Customers expect so much from their online shopping experience. In addition, those who can keep up logistically will attract more customers and keep them coming back.
WHAT IS PEAK SHIPPING SEASON IN PRINT ON DEMAND?
Peak shipping season refers to the time of year when order and shipment volume increases. In addition, it results in more orders to fill and returns to process due to the busy holiday shopping season surrounding popular shopping days such as Christmas. Supply chain efficiencies are disrupted during this time as online retailers try to keep up with demand. They do it by managing inventory and fulfilling a high number of orders, while shipping carriers become busier than usual. They are working hard to deliver packages on time.
6 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR PRINT ON DEMAND STORE FOR PEAK SHIPPING SEASON
1. Prepare ahead of time
Plan ahead of time and use data as much as possible. Think through planned promotions, and decide how you will handle massive influxes of demand. You can optimize stock levels and make better decisions about how much of each SKU to reorder and when by forecasting demand. Though inventory forecasting is never completely accurate, there are steps you can take to bring your estimates closer to reality.
• If there is a stockout, you should set up a process that immediately marks orders as “out of stock” on your store so you and your customers have a clear understanding of current stock availability.
• If you have a lot of deadstock, you can run a promotion or a flash sale to clear it out to make room for in-demand inventory.
2. Provide your customers with advance notice.
Because Christmas is the busiest time for peak shipping season shipping, eCommerce brands must monitor carrier cutoffs for each service and carrier transit time performance to communicate any potential delays to customers. Last-mile delivery is critical to customer satisfaction, but delays do occur. In the event of a delay, be proactive and notify customers as soon as possible of any potential delays.
• Take careful note of carrier holiday shipping deadlines when they become available. It will allow you to inform your customers about when you place holiday orders for orders to be fulfilled and shipped on time.
• It would help if you also kept an eye on inventory levels.
• Make sure you provide order tracking to your customers so they can track orders in real-time.
3. Team up with an experienced print on demand provider.
Working with an experienced print on demand service provider can make the hectic holiday season more manageable. Fulfilling holiday demand on your own is extremely difficult, and leasing your own warehouse is both costly and time-consuming. The sooner you begin working with a print on demand company, the better prepared you are for busy holiday season.
4. Increase the number of customer service representatives.
You’ll want to increase staffing for your customer service team because you’ll likely receive more inquiries than usual. This is due to the influx of orders and even carrier delays. Your online store will see an increase in visitors and orders. As a result, the more assistance you can provide to your customers at the times and channels they prefer, the better. Ensure that your team knows carrier cutoff dates, current promotions, the various shipping options available, expected delivery timeframes, and how to return or exchange items quickly.
5. Communicate with your suppliers regularly.
To avoid potential stockouts during the holiday season, collaborate closely with your manufacturer or supplier by sharing predicted holiday order volume ahead of time. Work in longer lead times than usual due to holiday demand, port delays, and other supply chain issues. Understanding production lead times reduce the likelihood of stockouts, backorders, and running promotions on out-of-stock items.
• Diversify your manufacturer by partnering with multiple partners in different areas. It will mitigate risk if your primary supplier cannot replenish on time.
• If you work with a print on demand provider, keep in mind when their inventory receiving cutoffs are for the holidays, as their backlog will be higher than usual.
6. Stock up on extra shipping supplies.
The last thing you want to do is slow down eCommerce order fulfillment due to a lack of packaging materials. So, stock up on boxes, poly mailers, and other supplies if you keep fulfillment in-house. It would help if you also considered making your brand stand out during the holiday season. Custom packaging, marketing inserts, and gift notes, for example, can make the unboxing experience memorable. A memorable unboxing experience can delight your customers. It will also increase the likelihood of sharing the experience with their friends and social media followers in the age of social media.
GET READY FOR PEAK SHIPPING SEASON WITH FULFILLPLEX
This year, eCommerce brands must plan ahead of time to ensure that a large volume of orders is filled accurately and quickly. With online sales expected to break records once more during the holidays, your company must be ready. The best way to prepare for peak shipping season and meet customer expectations is to ensure that all aspects of your supply chain are in sync. Rather than managing a warehouse, investing in your own fulfillment tech stack, and shipping orders yourself, you can save time and money by outsourcing fulfillment to a top eCommerce fulfillment company expert like Fulfillplex.
Contact us right away to learn more about how Fulfillplex can help your business during the peak shipping season.