The holidays are the busiest time of year for online retailers around the world. For most, strategizing and implementing a marketing campaign is the key to a profitable last quarter. But while marketing will definitely play a role in success of your holiday season, essential preparation in other areas will equally impact your business’ holiday goals.
Come November, your business will be inundated with orders, leaving you and your employees exhausted, if not a bit frazzled. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to ensure your business’ holiday season goes over smoothly – at least in the stressful area of shipping.
Let’s take a look at some shipping tips that’ll help prepare you for the busiest shopping days of the year:
Pre-pack Orders in Advance
Have a hot selling, popular item that’s frequently bought during the holidays? Get ahead of the game and pre-package your hit items in your downtime. As your orders come in, you’ll be ready for the rush, freeing up valuable time and energy to be spent elsewhere.
Keep a Surplus of Shipping Supplies on Hand
You’re about to receive an influx of orders; do you have everything you need for safe shipping? Packing peanuts, air pillows, bubble wrap – you’ll want to ensure you have ample quantities of a variety of necessary shipping supplies on hand. Check your inventory and order extra supplies if necessary; you’ll want to match last holiday season’s quantity plus an extra 10 to 15 percent in anticipation of increased sales. Don’t let your packing process come to a halt simply due to a lack of supplies.
Organize Your Picking and Packing Process
Do you run an efficient and organized warehouse? When the busy days hit your business, you’re going to need to be able to find what you’re looking for fast and without delay. Evaluate your warehouse space to ensure you’re utilizing your space smartly. How do you find and pack your orders? Do you pack by order or segment your products by SKU? You may need to reorganize your warehouse space for a more organized, efficient space.
Hire Some Helping Hands
With the holidays comes a huge spike in sales, and more than ever, all available hands will be needed on deck. Depending on the size of your shipping staff, you may need to look into hiring some part-time staff members to assist in your warehouse. If you’re running on a tight budget, consider hiring friends and family members. You’ll want to give your part-time employees a run down before the rush to ensure they’re familiar with your picking and packing process.
Take Advantage of Shipping Software
Are you manually tackling the tedious process of shipping orders? Copying and pasting tracking codes, navigating multiple sites, and combing through orders can be downright frustrating – and the furthest thing from time-saving efficiency. With shipping software, you can automate your entire shipping process. With the right software, you can print labels, update order statuses, email customers, and more in just a few easy clicks.
Eliminate Trips to Carrier Locations
Save valuable time and energy by scheduling pickups with the shipping carriers of your choice. Most carriers will pickup any number of boxes free of charge, a service you should use to your advantage. The holidays are going to be a busy time for you and your business – don’t waste precious time waiting in line at your nearest UPS or Post Office.
During the last quarter of the year, shoppers expect a level of quality service that’ll determine where they shop in the years to come. Unfortunately, the holidays don’t bring about an abundance of leniency – demands are high and tolerance for delay is low. Take steps in advance to ensure your business can meet the growing shipping demands of shoppers everywhere.