Online Retailers

A Checklist For Managing the Peak Season Smoothly

By Dan Lawsons, E-commerce and OMS Expert
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Peak season can be one of the most rewarding – and at the same time – most stressful times for E-commerce. As new online purchasing habits collide with peak season sales, online retailers can expect larger shipping volumes, carrier capacity issues, rising transport costs, and delivery delays.

With record-breaking order volumes coming and shipping issues arising, it’s more important than ever to be well prepared for peak season.  With peak season 2021 shaping up to be a record year, let’s make sure you’re ready! 

Here are some actionable strategies and tactics you can implement to increase your peak season success this year:


Stock up and plan the right inventory


It can often feel like a balancing act to ensure you have enough stock to cover the Black Friday/Cyber Monday to Christmas season – but not too much – as storing slow-moving stock can be costly and takes up valuable warehouse space. Accurate forecasting, as well as having a clear picture of your inventory management, means fewer sleepless nights as you’ll know what you need to order in from suppliers more frequently so you can continue to fulfil your customer orders.


Top tip: Use E-commerce management software to determine which products are likely to be in high demand, and automatically sync stock levels. Remember to keep a close eye on your stock levels daily through your software. If you’ve got slow-moving products, use further clearance sales during peak times to clear it out, free up shelf space, and convert your stock into cash. 


Automate order processing


It’s difficult to keep up with high volumes of orders. To tackle high order volumes efficiently, it’s important to automate your order process. Having an order management process in place will reduce errors and help deliver a more responsive and consistent service, which is especially important when employees are extra busy. Order management software allows you to take control of the full dispatch process from picking, packing, to shipping orders. 


Top tip: Barcode scanners can save valuable time and reduce errors with up to 100% picking accuracy. This allows you to book your inbound deliveries and manage warehouse inventory, reduce errors, and allows real-time inventory visibility. 


Increase shopping and system integrations


When you manage different online stores or offer your products through marketplaces like Amazon, it can be difficult to keep track of all incoming orders and stock levels for each online store. 

For this reason, it might be helpful to connect all your online stores and marketplaces to one order management system, like Mintsoft. By connecting online stores and marketplaces into one account you can capture new audiences and sell wherever you are. Mintsoft offers over 175+ integrations including shopping cart and marketplace integrations, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and Amazon.


Top tip: Managing all your systems in one place means you can easily switch between different integrations to process orders. This means your warehouse, inventory, and shipping systems can communicate data in real-time. 


Get your logistics in place


One of the biggest challenges during the peak season is shipping. If you’re doing everything in-house, make sure your fulfilment team is ready to prepare and ship high volumes of products as fast as they can. If it’s becoming too much, it might be time to consider outsourcing this responsibility.

Customers are forever demanding. The shorter the delivery times, the better the consumer response. Strategies such as “Same-day delivery”, “Express delivery” or “Next day delivery” are all prominent crowd pullers.


Top tip: Warehouse and logistics management are crucial for the peak season. Adopting smart shipping rules means courier services can be automatically selected based on the criteria you define. 


Overcome carrier capacity issues


The challenge of finding carriers for the coming season will be one of the greatest hurdles in the upcoming peak season. Due to high demand, many carriers have announced drastic cost increases and warned about slower delivery times, as well as raising fees beyond what we’ve seen before. 


Top tip: If you haven’t already, leverage a multi-carrier strategy to get products to customers quickly and accurately. Connecting with multiple carriers is one of the best ways to increase both conversion rate and customer satisfaction. 


Exceed customer expectations


Since most companies can anticipate a significant peak in sales during the final few months of the year, they can also anticipate a spike in customers, and in turn, a big increase in service requests. 


Top tip: If their number one query is “Where’s my order?” pinpoint them to live order tracking, so they can follow their parcel’s journey. This functionality means fewer customer service tickets to deal with during what’s going to be an incredibly busy, but successful time for your business.


Streamline your processes


While having enough supplies to get through peak season helps, knowing how long it takes you to package each item for shipping, as well as how long it takes to process shipping labels for each package will help you plan your time. 


Top tip: Create a checklist for each product or package type to ensure you put the right things in the right place each time. 


Ensure continuous improvement


Once you’re done with the push for peak season in 2021, take time to analyse how it all went. What went well? What needs improvement? Don’t forget to look at every area affected by peak season: your website, customer service, shipping, and marketing efforts. 


Top tip: While order management software is vital during the peak season, it also helps you to stay streamlined across the entire year. With online sales set to increase year-on-year, cloud-based technology will help you overcome challenges and capitalise on opportunities every month of the year. It can also allow you to scale up or scale down depending on the expected (or even unexpected) peaks and troughs throughout the year.


Using technology to lighten the load


Peak periods can really test how effectively your order and warehouse management system meets demand. However, with all the above parameters in place, and streamlined, you are well-prepared to welcome the peak season of your business profitably. See how CBF group managed just that using Mintsoft in this insightful case study.


If you can’t check off all of the items on the list above, have no fear. A cloud-based order management system can simplify, streamline, and solve. To find out how best to improve fulfilment and order management in advance of peak time sales, check out Mintsoft’s video tour, or book a demo with a member of the team.