Q4 has historically been a stressful time for retailers. It is filled packed storefronts, lines out the door, gift wrapping merchandise, and dealing with overwhelmed and often unfriendly customers. The holidays can be exhausting! Now that consumers are looking to rely on ecommerce options more than ever before, companies are shifting Q4 concerns to their supply chains.
In the beginning of stay-at-home orders, the demand was higher than the supply. Multiple companies were dealing with the bottle neck of their supply chains. Consumers, this year, are concerned about not getting their items in a timely matter which adds another level of stress to company’s supply chains. Though carriers have focused on hiring more delivery people to keep up with demand, company’s still need to be efficient on their side.
Q4 fatigue does not need to exist!
With both consumer spending and shipping costs increasing, doing the correct prep work can take the stress out of your Q4. Don’t leave your organization to be rushing to fill orders at the last second. Here are ways to stop Q4 fatigue from controlling your company:
1. Set up Workflows
This can be represented in multiple ways. The first option would be to set up back of house inventory workflows where you keep all product organized based on item type, clearly labeled on the packaging. For example, each box is labeled pants, blouses, and shoes on top of the box, with the corresponding items within them. If the items stay in that order, there is not mishandling of product and everything is easier to grab while packing orders.
Another workflow that can be created is in succession of your promotions. If you are offering a promotion of 40% site wide and you know that there will be influx of orders, then prepare for that by offering workers time in a half or schedule more than your average amount of workers that day. This may seem like a no brainer, but instead of firing off “sorry your package is delayed” emails to your customer, you’ll have employees more eager to get the job done and be able to get orders out the door efficiently. This instills trust with your customers and keeps them returning.
2. Keep Inventory systems from being hacked
According to CNBC, inventory management systems and marketplaces were hacked last year, leaving consumers thinking something was in stock only to never get the item. The best way to keep this from happening is to not only assign someone to check your management system throughout the day, but also set up firewalls to keep hackers away. It is not always that easy to keep the hackers at bay, so by additionally keeping the inventory management system online and saving the information throughout the day, you can keep a better eye on any discrepancies.
3. Keep customers informed
Yes, we mentioned earlier that we should not have to send out a, “sorry we are delayed with your package” but that does not mean that you should not keep them updated. Whether it is through your email list or Instagram followers, you should be keeping your customers updated on any delays or problems that will affect them this holiday season. Being transparent and honest will keep your customers for life. It also keeps your customer service workflow open to deal with bigger issues instead of constantly getting asked, “where is my package?”
4. Stagger your promotions
Businesses have already started doing this despite it being the beginning of Q4. Many have decided to stagger their promotions and are no longer sticking to major holidays such as black Friday, cyber Monday, and those last couple of days before Christmas. Allowing the promotions to start early encourages the consumer to shop throughout 4th Quarter. This seriously reduces the chance of bottlenecking your supply chain and overwhelming your staff with shipments. You can still promote on these important holidays but shortening those periods of promotions and spreading them out encourages the customer to return to your sites and spend money throughout the holidays instead of just on two or three days.
5. Integrate with a shipping solution
This may seem like an obvious part of an ecommerce business, but multiple companies are still shipping the old-fashioned way. When you change your shipping solution over to a technologically stacked solution then you are ensuring correct orders, efficient sending, and carrier mapping - honestly, the feature list could go on forever! You also save money on postage by real-time rate shopping (an exclusive feature to DesktopShipper).
Company’s waste so many hours trying to automate their workflow or code out their marketplace systems just to help with their shipping. Save time and money with DesktopShipper.
We all know Q4 is stressful. Don’t be a grinch. Prepare correctly!