eCommerce is an interesting and challenging industry. Those brands that rise to the top have achieved the pinnacle of supply chain logistics, digital marketing, and customer satisfaction. To fulfill orders, you need both reliable vendors and a superb shipping partner, and that's on a normal day. Of course, most eCommerce brands have a peak season when order demands spike. When this happens, good logistics management can make or break your brand.
How can you best prepare your eCommerce business for the holiday season? Maintaining satisfying order fulfillment is all about a perfect alignment of supply chain and shipping management. Here are some of the top strategies to manage skilled outbound logistics:
1. Plan for Logistics & Supply Chain Management
Always plan ahead because without peak season preparation, it is all too easy to see your inventory demolished by eager shoppers, but then lose customers when the items they want are sold out. You may also need to plan ahead to ensure that a vast number of packages will ship quickly and reliably when orders hit their peak.
Plan first for your supply chain, securing a steady supply of the goods you will need. Then, talk with your shipping partners about logistics management.
2. Stock Up on High-Demand Products
As peak season approaches, stock up on items that you know will sell, like hot cakes. Use rates from the last few years to determine how much of each item sold during specific months. This can help you prepare for a sudden rush of orders or orders that would otherwise deplete your inventory. Planning ahead is a great way to ensure all of your customers get your hottest items and anything left after the peak season is likely still salable so there is no customer experience downside.
3. Streamline Your Re-Order Procedure
Inventory management is key during peak season. You will want to prepare for resupply more frequently in case any product starts running out faster than anticipated.
Make sure that your team and supply chain partners are all ready for rapid re-orders. If you use sheets, print extra. If only one manager can approve re-orders, make sure they check in every day in case an emergency resupply is needed. Look for ways to improve your re-order procedure using software and training together.
4. Increase Your Re-Order Threshold
When popular products are moving fast, keep more of them on the shelf. Most businesses including eCommerce have a threshold at which they will re-order to keep from running out. Increase that number so that you re-order sooner and with more products still on the shelf. If you would normally reorder a product when only 5 are left, push that number to ten or even twenty. Don't let any product get too low, or you will risk lost sales when something sells out. This is a key element of inventory logistics.
5. Reinforce Your Vendor Network
Before the peak period begins, reconnect with your entire vendor network. These partners make up your supply chain and will be critical when you need to resupply fast. Make sure your vendors are ready for rapid and emergency orders and that they have your peak season in mind.
Depending on your vendors, you may not be able to order your full inventory capacity for peak season from just one or two suppliers. If this is true, you may also want to increase your vendor network to secure a greater volume of supply than your usual network may be able to handle.
6. Diversify Your Shipping Partnerships
Happy customers expect fast and reliable shipping, whether or not it is your peak season. This requires coordination with your shipping partners and preparation for increased shipping capacity. You may also want to cultivate additional shipping partners to give your potential customers more options in terms of delivery times, shipping costs, and package size.
Make sure you have options that can guarantee shipping within two or three days and before key dates like upcoming holidays. It's also a good idea to seek business partnerships and enterprise deals to avoid paying full price for large-scale shipping during your peak season.
7. Prepare Your eCommerce Supply Chain Management & Logistics
Peak season is a great opportunity to maximize your yearly sales, but it can also be a serious logistical challenge. You need to be prepared to manage your inventory, supply chain, and shipping to ensure that customer demand is met with full satisfaction. ShipNetwork is here to help. We offer robust 3PL (third-party logistics) services to eCommerce brands like yours. We can help you plan for logistics, supply chain, and inventory management to keep your shelves stocked as customer demand spikes.
Request a Quote today to see the best ways to optimize your supply chain issues to prepare for your eCommerce brand's next big peak season. Learn more about our 3PL fulfillment services and how we can help your business.