It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or not – if you aren’t prepared. Surprisingly, many e-commerce sellers throw their hands up in the air when it comes to peak periods, including Christmas.
It’s already a stressful time, therefore you don’t want to be dealing with any additional stress caused by issues and unhappy customers. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with some of our top tips for optimising your e-commerce fulfilment at Christmas.
This is something you probably already do, but now more than ever, you should really be analysing data from previous years. This is extremely insightful and can really help you predict upcoming seasonal trends, estimate product demand, and help you plan your stock levels.

Using an inventory management tool is a no-brainer, it will make things so much easier for your e-commerce fulfilment and for you, as you can closely monitor multi-channel stock levels and set up low stock alerts so you can keep on top of things.
While we are on the subject, it is worth using your inventory management tool to update your stock levels in real time to prevent you from overselling stock you don’t actually have. Nobody wants to deal with backorders or unhappy customers, especially at Christmas.

2. Consider your cut off times

Have you announced your final posting dates and turnaround times? What about checking the final dates and turnaround times for couriers? If you’re using a 3PL, have you checked details and dates with them? It’s critical that you make sure they’re in place and clear to customers. Otherwise, you may struggle to hit the deadlines you need and satisfy your customer base.

3. Staffing levels

Hiring extra staff may also be a good idea, without extra staff you may struggle to get orders out on time due to the increased volume of orders that peak brings. Obviously, you want to make sure you’ve picked the right fulfilment method, so let’s dive into that and what you can do to keep things running smoothly.

Are you using in-house fulfilment?
Great! You can offer faster shipping by hiring more warehouse staff to speed up, and increase pick and pack. You can also invest in order management software.

3PL user?
Hopefully your 3PL will be up to speed and can keep things moving quickly and smoothly during the Christmas period, but if not, it is definitely time to reconsider which UK fulfilment centre you partner with. (Hint: TSP is always keen to help!)

Why not offer free delivery?
Fast and free, two words customers love to hear. Let your customers feel like they’re getting a little bit more this Christmas by offering fast and free shipping. You don’t need to lose out on money to do this, you can always set a minimum order quality to compensate for the free shipping.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
Customers really value consistent and easy communication with sellers, especially during peak shopping periods.
Take advantage of the power of social media and your website, not only for marketing and promotional purposes, but also to communicate with your customers. You can inform them of estimated delivery times, and cut off dates for orders needed by Christmas. It’s also a good idea to make your customers aware of your returns process and policy. A returned item doesn’t mean you’ve lost a customer, but it can if you don’t have a clear, easy process.
Delays can be inevitable during this time, however customers are usually very understanding. But, we cannot stress enough if you prioritise communication at all times along every step of the way, then your e-commerce store will always be streets ahead of those that don’t.
If it’s just you handling your customer service, then hats off to you. However, now may be the time to consider hiring someone, or using a trusted fulfilment centre to help cover customer service, as enquiries are likely to double during the Christmas period. It will make things more manageable for you, and you’re less likely to end up with unhappy customers.
Here at TSP, we offer a range of services including customer service management and inventory management. We’re the experts for helping deliver trusted, efficient e-commerce fulfilment, and we’ve got all the tools required to make sure communication is seamless with your customers.

So, why not partner with us and watch your e-commerce store grow? Contact us today and we’ll discuss all the options available to you.

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