Well, it’s that special time of year …Christmas is upon us once again! The countdown to the festive period is always a busy, frenetic time for all, particularly so within the fulfilment industry. For e-commerce owners, customers, couriers and everyone involved in the supply chain, panic ensues over whether orders will be received in time for the big day. Throw into the equation external factors, like shipping delays, postal strikes and shipping container shortages, there is an untold potential for problems to affect deliveries.

Although there are some external factors outside of your control, it never hurts to try and be as organised as possible, does it? You can plan ahead and optimise your order fulfilment to good effect; at least you’re holding up your end of the bargain (pardon the pun). So, let’s delve a little deeper into what you can do to optimise your e-commerce fulfilment operations, ready for the busiest time of the year.

Shipping deadlines will differ across the globe, so depending on where you are shipping to will impact when orders need to be made. To hit that all-important ‘delivered in time for Christmas’ holy grail target that all customers crave, it’s essential you check international shipping deadlines. By being clear on exactly what shipping deadline area, should you need to ship orders globally, you can communicate clearly to your customers when the cut off for Christmas orders is.

The best way to keep it ‘au fait’ is to be transparent and open with your customer base – don’t over promise on unrealistic deadlines and cut off points. This only leads to frustration from the customer, and you’ll struggle with retaining customers if you promise the world but can’t deliver. Be realistic and communicate delivery times in an honest way. By giving customers the option to order, even if an order isn’t received by Christmas, at least the option is there, and the customer can take their decision willingly.

2. Constantly optimise your stock levels

Optimising your stock levels should always be a top priority for your fulfilment at any time of the year. However, it would be bordering on foolish to not have your stock levels adequately stacked ahead of the Christmas rush. Compare your sales numbers from previous Christmas periods, and start to optimise appropriately, making sure you replenish stock levels via your fulfilment centre provider. A good fulfilment centre will be able to calculate your inventory and restock or relocate parts or all of your inventory should you need it.

By outsourcing your inventory, a fulfilment centre is able to use a cloud-based management software, and ensure stock levels across various warehouses are adequately prepared.

Equally, a fulfilment warehouse usually conducts an uptake in staffing levels during the months leading up to Christmas. Couriers who partner with fulfilment centres also have higher staff levels, so there’s little need to fret about your orders being fulfilled – it’s always taken care of.

3. Choose your fulfilment provider very wisely

Experience and knowledge are critical in any setting, and none more so than in the world of fulfilment. You need to have your supply chain in full working order, and having a reliable fulfilment warehouse at the heart of your operations is key to maintaining this. Opting for a new kid on the block in terms of e-commerce fulfilment is likely not to pay dividends. Optimising inventories during the frenzied Christmas run-in requires efficient, streamlined processes, experience at handling adverse scenarios and an industry nous that is unrivalled.

You don’t need to be hearing of bumps in the road with your orders as your rookie fulfilment provider is unable to cope with demand. Entrust the experienced veterans in the game, and choose your fulfilment provider carefully. If you don’t already have a provider you fully trust, speak to an alternative fulfilment centre, and see what they can offer for your inventory.

4. Talk…communicate…connect!

Your supply chain will only be as good as the communicative components within it. Ensuring all parts of your chain are synchronised and talking to each other will increase the potential of your Christmas orders being delivered properly. Forecasting sales and potential peaks helps a fulfilment centre get ahead by ensuring any products that are flying out like hot cakes are always available to be distributed quickly as soon as orders are received. Connectivity is the aim of the game, so ensure all your components are working together and in sync.

Communication goes a long way – and that’s no different for your customers. Part of the customer experience is receiving sufficient communication about orders, with live tracking updates and messages. Finding a provider that can offer this service will help elevate your e-commerce store above many of your counterparts.

5. Prepare well for a surge in returns

Like night follows day, you’re bound to see a little increase in returns following the Christmas rush. Consumer behaviour can be irrational around the Christmas period, so there are likely to be some buys that are either not wanted or needed. Ensure you’re prepared for the surge in this and that your reviews policy is airtight. Ensure your fulfilment provider partners with couriers who offer good rates so your e-commerce store is not impacted financially. Communicate your returns policy explicitly to your customer base, such as cut-off dates for returns.

The Storage Place – your go-to fulfilment provider

So, there you have it, we’ve given you the inside track to optimising your fulfilment ahead of the Christmas period, so now it’s time to partner with us. The Storage Place is vastly experienced within the fulfilment industry, we’re tried and tested order fulfilment specialists, ensuring your Christmas orders are fulfilled successfully.

What’s more – we’re now carbon neutral, so you can count on us for sustainable fulfilment. Contact us today and discover how we can help elevate your fulfilment in time for the Christmas period. Watch your e-commerce store expand and grow with TSP.

Featured Posts

Featured Posts