Prepare your e-commerce shop for the peak season

Every year in October, operators of e-commerce stores ask themselves the same question: Is my fulfillment prepared for the peak season between Black Friday and Christmas? In mid-November begins what is undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year for retailers. However, the trouble is usually worth it. Online retailers make a significant portion of their sales in the last quarter of the year. To make the holiday season as profitable as possible, store owners need to pay special attention to their e-commerce fulfillment – especially this year.

 

Last year, the retail sector had to deal with closures of brick and mortar stores. At the end of 2021, logistics in particular will pose a challenge. Global supply chains are subject to a continuous stress test. In addition, parcel providers expect record numbers of parcels. For online stores to be successful this year, their own logistics must not become a bottleneck.

 

Meet the high expectations of your customers

In online retail, the choice of stores is vast. While customers in brick-and-mortar retail think twice about making the trip to the next store, the competition online is just a click away. But there is one key lever for increasing customer retention: smoothly functioning e-commerce fulfillment. This is especially true in the turbulent fourth quarter.

 

The effort is worth it. After all, e-commerce stores that are well prepared for the Christmas season will also be more successful throughout the rest of the year. With the right fulfillment setup, you save money and set yourself up for future success. Because online retail in Germany is growing and growing. According to the Online-Monitor of the German Retail Association (HDE), e-commerce recorded growth of 23 percent in 2020 compared with 2019. In some segments, online trade accounts for a significant share of business. Almost 40 percent of total sales in fashion & accessories and consumer electronics in Germany now move over the virtual e-commerce counter.

 

What can online retailers do now to improve their e-commerce fulfillment?

It's not too late to start thinking about your fulfillment for the upcoming Christmas season. Simple fulfillment projects can be migrated until mid-Novemberto be ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We have compiled four tips that e-commerce store operators should follow now to make the upcoming peak season a success.

 

4 tips for your e-commerce fulfillment before Christmas

1. Minimize error quota

What sounds obvious is a challenge in practice – especially in the time leading up to Christmas. When shipment volumes multiply, the susceptibility to errors when picking parcels also increases. Especially when fulfillment service providers pick with the outdated hand slip instead of using scanners.

 

For customers, this is a nuisance. The wrong color or size creates extra hassle, a trip to the parcel drop-off point and possibly delayed processing. For retailers, errors mean extra work, more costs and less profit. The likelihood of a disappointed customer coming back for more is slim. An error rate approaching zero is an important criterion when choosing a logistics service provider.

 

2. Stay on top of inventory management

"Delivery problems – item not in stock" – Hardly any news destroys the Christmas spirit among consumers as much as this one. The reason for this annoyance is poor inventory management. Retailers should use the pre-Christmas period to ensure that the number of products on their shelves also corresponds to the number of products in the Warehouse Management System (WMS) of their logistics service provider.

 

Store operators should avoid stockouts at all costs. To do this, it is helpful to have access to real-time data that depicts inventory levels. The right fulfillment service provider offers this via a dedicated dashboard.  

 

3. Offer easy returns

Unfortunately, gifts are not always a perfect match. Customers want to be assured that they can exchange gifts without any problems if necessary. For retailers, returns are an unpleasant topic. They are time-consuming, tie up resources and cost money. But for customers, they are an important sales criterion.

 

A study by parcelLab parcelLab shows: The returns experience in online stores is in need of improvement. Stores should set a good example and make returns as simple and customer-friendly as possible. In addition, good returns management can save money.

 

4. Put your logistics to the test

Good external fulfillment ensures customer satisfaction, saves money, and takes some of the burden from retailers. Therefore, it is advisable to regularly put logistics setups to the test. Important questions retailers should ask themselves: Is my setup scalable? Am I paying high fixed costs? How digital is my provider?

 

Warehousing1 is very happy to help you take a closer look at your logistics. We will review your fulfillment setup without obligation and show you potential for improvement and cost savings. Reach out to one of our consultants and receive expert feedback on your logistics setup.

Learn more in our e-commerce guide for the Christmas season

 

Good e-commerce fulfillment in preparation for Christmas makes all the difference. We've provided more tips and two helpful fulfillment checklists in our free e-commerce guide. This is now available for download.

Der Warehousing1 E-Commerce-Guide für das Weihnachtsgeschäft