Wow, it’s November already which means the holiday season is just about in full swing and we all know what that means for ecommerce. The holiday season is the most important time of the year for sellers, and when you execute your strategy correctly, it can be the most profitable time of year, too.
UDS offers tips on the holiday shipping season:
1. Consolidate your box sizes. You’ll have enough to do come shipping time than to start doing volume calculations in your head for which box will fit the products you have in your pick list for each order. Consolidating your box sizes to a few standardizations for your business will help when it comes to not only packing, but keeping track of your packing supply inventory and re-ordering.
2. Have enough materials on hand for your busiest season ever. Holiday sales have continued to grow each year, so the materials you had on hand last year will probably not be enough. Make sure you have at least the number of boxes, labels, and volume of bags-o-air or packing peanuts that you did shipped last year, and then add 15%. Unless you’re planning on going out of business sometime soon, the extra materials can be a welcome cushion for when things shut down after Christmas and into the first few months of the next year.
3. Create a shipping plan for the holidays. It’s a good idea to meet with your packing team before the holiday onslaught and get on the same page about procedures and processes. Create an open forum and hear from each of your packers, who probably know how to make things smoother and faster.
4. Re-evaluate how efficient your picking & packing process is. Be honest; is your warehouse organized? If someone gave you a product’s SKU or name, would you know exactly where to go to get it? Now is the time to take a look at your organization, as well as how you find your products to pack each of your orders. If you have only a few SKUs, your packing process may revolve around segmenting your orders via SKU and packing each SKU separately. If you have a wide variety of products, packing per order may be a better option. Once you organize your space and look at your average order’s contents, the best method should make itself pretty clear.
5. Start using a shipping software. Are you copying & pasting label information into 5 different carrier sites? How many labels can you print out at the same time? How do you notify your customers that their stuff has shipped? If very little of your shipping process is automated, it may be time for you consider a shipping software. If you already use one, make sure you’re using it to the best of your (and its) ability so it can eliminate as many of your decision points as possible. A good shipping software imports your orders from wherever you sell, and creates labels for however you ship them. Make sure it includes automation features and is customizable to the process by which you handle your orders.
Use Regional carriers for holiday overflow, UDS offers many great services including same day routed express delivery. Look to UDS to handle your holiday overflow as we approach the holidays. http://www.uniteddeliveryservice.com
With the right preparation, the busier holiday season can seem just like another “day at the office.” Making your life easier through a few choice decisions now can ensure that you’re not spinning your wheels when it comes time for the fourth quarter.