The big man in red is nearly here, but while you’ve been focusing on attracting his elves to your products and store, how much attention have you given your Christmas shipping and fulfilment strategy?
Overselling and under-delivering are two of the biggest eCommerce blunders you can commit this festive season. They not only limit your sales but can direct unhappy customers straight to your competitors.
But, with online sales rising at an unprecedented rate, it can be challenging to prepare for the unknown. Luckily, these three simple but effectice fulfilment and shipping strategies can help.
1. Plan for sales
It might sound obvious, yet many online retailers are simply unprepared for the volume of sales at Christmas time – leading to stockouts and unhappy customers. Protect your eCommerce store against this with these four simple tactics.
Analyse previous trends
Find and crunch last year’s eCommerce sales reports to predict seasonal trends, forecast demand and plan your stock levels across November, December and January.
Monitor your inventory
Use an inventory management tool to closely monitor your multi-channel stock levels, and set up low stock alerts that give you enough time to replenish stock before selling out.
Automate your inventory management
Use your inventory management tool to automatically update stock levels across your sales channel(s) in real-time. This will prevent you from overselling stock that you’ve already sold out of.
2. Optimize for speed
Fast shipping is on everyone’s shopping lists this Christmas. Ensure that you’re ready and prepared to deliver orders within two days or less with the following steps.
Diarise last shipping dates
The big shipping carriers have already confirmed their final posting dates and turnaround times for Christmas, so if they’re not in your diary, they should be. You can find Royal Mail‘s and Parcelforce‘s by clicking the links.
Pick the right fulfilment method
You don’t have to be a shipping ace to achieve fast shipping times, you just need to pick the right fulfilment method. There are three main ones to choose from:
? In-house fulfilment – if your existing fulfilment operation is up to the task, then you can boost your ability to offer fast shipping speeds by using additional warehouse staff, order management software, and a bulk printing shipping label tool.
? 3PL – if your existing fulfilment operation isn’t up to the task, then you can achieve fast shipping speeds by using a 3PL who uses 3PL eCommerce software to integrate with your sales channel(s) directly.
? FBA – if you’re selling on Amazon, you can take advantage of FBA and multi-channel FBA to deliver as quickly as the same day.
Did you catch the news that we now directly integrate with Royal Mail? Our Royal Mail eCommerce integration means that you can now bulk print your Royal Mail shipping labels and manifest straight from your Expandly dashboard.
Offer free deliveries
Fast shipping isn’t the only buzzword this Christmas. Absorb the costs of offering free shipping by setting a minimum order amount, displaying prices inclusive of shipping, and reducing your fulfilment costs by using a 3PL or negotiating bulk shipping rates.
3. Prepare your customers
And finally, it’s important to keep your customers updated as part of your Christmas and shipping fulfilment strategy. By this we mean:
Communicate shipping dates
Use your website, social media accounts and email campaigns to inform customers of your Christmas delivery speeds and final order dates.
Send tracking information
Send your customers timely tracking information so that they can track the progress and location of their order themselves.
Advise of delays
And finally, if it does all go to pot, ensure to keep your customers informed and rewarded for their inconvenience.
If you’d like to know more about how Expandly and our 3PL partners can help with your shipping and fulfilment strategy this year or in 2020, get in touch today at [email protected].