Even though the mercury’s climbing, it’s not too late to plan for this year’s busy retail season.
Busy season, no matter when it is for your eCommerce business, is always just around the corner. If you want to succeed, now is always the time to start planning ahead.
Adopting New Fulfillment Strategies Before the Holidays
Even if a busy holiday shopping season is months away, this is a great time to try out some new fulfillment service strategies.
After all, volume is high enough to really test things out, but not so high that you’ll absolutely choke if things go wrong. No matter what stage your eCommerce business is in now, there’s always going to be some aspect of your fulfillment strategy that could use improvement, whether that’s in your forward logistics or reverse logistics.
Here are a few fulfillment strategies to try:
- Use your data to plan ahead. There’s nothing so powerful as data in today’s retail environment. It can tell you almost anything, from the price a shirt should be tomorrow to the amount of money you’ll save by changing shippers before the holiday season. If you’re using a 3PL, ask them if they track this information.
- Automate everything. Automation can take so many errors out of the pick, pack and ship game that it’s worth applying anywhere you can. A human will still need to put orders together at the end of the line, but they can be assisted with technology like bar code scanning and cartonization tools that can determine the most efficient size of box in which to pack that order.The more you automate, the more you can cut costs related to improperly transcribed work orders and the faster your order fulfillment can move.
- Designate a dedicated reverse logistics fulfillment team. Your 3PL probably already has a designated reverse logistics team in place, but if you do your own fulfillment you’ll want to follow suit.Handling returns isn’t as simple as throwing a box back into the warehouse and your forward-facing fulfillment team will be slowed down if they have to juggle irregular items that need repaired or repackaged before being resold.
As the summer comes and goes, you can stay cool knowing that your busy season will be smooth sailing because of your practiced fulfillment strategies. eCommerce retailers are entering untested waters as sales surpass those of brick-and-mortar stores, it’s going to pay to be prepared for busy spells like back to school or holiday shopping season.