So, how did it go? Have you earned a pat on the back, or are there still some piles of undelivered orders waiting to be packed and delivered to your customers?
How many order statuses are still order processing, or have you managed to delight your customers by delivering the orders in time?
Analysts are still getting their data and doing the math, but it seems that Black Friday 2020 turned out just as crazy as everybody anticipated. Adobe reports a 15.1% year-on-year growth for consumer spending on Cyber Monday and 21.6% for Black Friday. And of course, the holiday season is just beginning.
The current world situation has pushed shoppers online in greater numbers than ever. More online shopping means more orders to fulfill, and more packages to ship. Black Friday & Cyber Monday is the ultimate stress test for e-commerce merchants and the beginning of the busy holiday sales season.
Many e-commerce merchants have trouble scaling the order fulfillment capacity for high peaks and sudden increases in demand. According to Reuters, Amazon hired 120 000 extra workers to deal with the holiday shopping madness. A small or medium-sized e-commerce business can't, of course, go about hiring 120 000 additional seasonal workers, but there is a lot one can do.
Here are a few suggestions to get your business through the holidays:
Communicate the deadlines clearly to your customers. What is the order deadline to get your package in time, for example, for Christmas?
Get enough staff for your customer service
Do not ghost your customers. Ever. That applies to all the channels you face your customers. Whether you serve your customers via chat, social media, email, phone, or all of the above, make sure you can – and will – answer your customers in a reasonable time.
Is it the deal, or is it the delivery? If your bargain is good enough, your customers might be willing to wait for it a few days. Next-day delivery could be your premium service offering. The premium could mean charging something a little extra.
Online shoppers expect a stream of communication of their order status. Has the order been processed? Send a notification. Has the order shipped? Tell that too. What is the tracking code, and how can the customer follow the whereabouts of the order?
Keep the order fulfillment engine running
If you see that your order fulfillment engine starts to slow down, it may be worthwhile to consider alternative solutions. Let your 3PL partner worry about the seasonal staff. If you outsource warehousing and order fulfillment, your partner's responsibility is to ensure the extra seasonal workforce is hired, trained, and ready.
Distribute the inventory to multiple warehouses
If you choose to multi-warehouse, it means the warehouse closest to your customer picks up, processes, and delivers the order. That equals shorter shipping miles and faster shipping times. Multi-warehousing, in some cases, could be a wise risk management move too. If one route or carrier suffers from delays, you have a backup. (Consider Brexit, for example.)