As we enter the height of peak shipping season, it’s a good time to start preparing your game plan. Whether you’re a business owner of an e-commerce or brick and mortar store – or even a warehouse operations manager – the tips and tricks listed below can help you grasp a better understanding of what you should be doing to assemble your team and plan of action for peak season.
Peak season should be at the top of your mind year-round.
In the months leading up to peak season, you should be making great strides each day to ensure that peak season goes off without a hitch – not something that you simply just “get through”. When thinking about how far in advance you should plan your logistics – just know that consumers are thinking about and researching their potential purchases months before they actually purchase anything in the peak buying month of November.
Understand when each customer’s “peak season” is.
Each of your customer’s peak season may differ depending on what commodity they sell. It wouldn’t be wise to take on all customers who share the same peak season. The more spaced out your customer’s peak seasons are, the less stretched you’ll be for available freight options.
Plan to use insurance.
During peak season, theft increases due to freight being unattended during long holiday weekends. In October, theft surges to an all-time high. Insurance is not something you ever want to skimp on, but especially not during peak season.
The reality of shipping costs, time, and demand.
When the demand for freight shipping goes up, so do the prices. It’s the reality of the situation, but the sooner you educate your customers about this, the less shocked they’ll be about it when peak season rolls around.
Customers want transparent and generous return policies. Don’t try to hide anything in the fine print, especially during the upcoming holiday season when tensions are high. Be upfront and honest with customers about how you handle returns if they’re not satisfied with your product or service. If you’re an eCommerce retailer, know that over 50% of customers back out of a purchase if there is no offer for free return shipping.
By now it comes as no shock that consumers want instant gratification. The moment you make a purchase or interaction difficult for a consumer, they back down and move onto your competitor who provided a much more pleasant and seamless experience. By offering little incentives such as in-store pick-ups, limited time sales and promotions, and free shipping, your customer is much more convinced they are making the right purchase.
Test your customer experience.
Try walking through the customer’s experience when making a purchase at your store or online website. Was it a fluid and guided process? Are you providing customers with all the information they need to make a purchase? Is there room to provide a more customized experience? These are the questions you should be asking yourself in the months leading up to peak season.
Although patterns will change and certain events simply cannot be anticipated for, it’s important for industries and companies alike, to learn from past years and analyze what works, what doesn’t, and what you could be doing even more of.
Be efficient in crunch times.
With events like Cyber Monday, companies see a huge spike in orders. Those who make it successfully through these specific sales days are those who have quick turnaround, a report by Kurt Salmon, a global management consultancy firm, stated. Researchers in the report found that Cyber Monday (the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend) is the largest online shopping day, which puts more pressure on getting items out of the warehouse faster.
Automate simple processes.
In the packaging industry, some facilities still spend several man hours taping, assembling boxes, void-filling boxes, packing, labeling and moving products out the warehouse door. With the peak season quickly approaching, look for automation opportunities that reduce package handling. This will increase throughput, reduce labor costs for temporary employees and allow you to focus more on customer satisfaction.
Contact UDS for more information: http://www.uniteddeliveryservice.com.