Four tips on how online traders can enter the stressful peak season

August 24, 2020
Four tips on how online traders can enter the stressful peak season

Do you know the German pop song called “When will it be summer again”?  While Rudi Carrell longed for sunshine from June to September in 1975, many an online trader hopes for peak times from January to December. Because summer is – even in the not at all normal Corona year 2020 – one of the least ordered times of the year.

It’s not surprising: Most of us have cancelled long-distance travel due to restrictions and fear of infection. Nevertheless, many of us are travelling in our own country, sitting in the garden and taking a break from shopping. Sales in summer are mostly behind the figures for autumn or winter (swimming pools, swimwear and co. excluded). This may be one of the reasons why 84% of e-tailers are in favour of a Black Friday sale in summer. We at Seven Senders advise: Now is the time to take advantage of the summer weeks, which are usually a little less busy and prepare the business for the next peak period! In the following tips, we have put together for you what to look out for at the end of the year and how to set the course for Black Friday and the Christmas business cleverly.

1. Fresh ideas for customer communication: Operations Experience in focus

Fast, easy and cheap delivery is more important to consumers than ever before. But when it comes to the Operations Experience, many an e-tailer can optimize processes. In other words, the processing of an order from placing it in the shopping basket to potential returns can be improved in many places. For example, a DHL study found that customers want new and more flexible shipping options: 78 percent of customers would specify a time for delivery if they had the opportunity. More than a third of those interested in the desired time (38 percent) prefer evening delivery between 6 and 9 pm. 84 percent would also like to know the name of the parcel service provider. In addition, too few retailers still lead customers who want to track a parcel back to their own website – and thus miss valuable opportunities to strengthen communication or even secure further sales.

What should you do instead? Create tracking pages optimized for mobile phones and the like in your own shop design. Our figures show that eight out of ten customers visit such mobile tracking pages. Here they can find status information on shipping, information on the expected delivery time or on customer-relevant products that encourage further purchases. Automatic notifications based on events such as “First Hub Scan” or “Delivered” also provide proactive information about the status of deliveries. The summer is a great time to explore such up-selling and retention opportunities.

2. Optimize your international shipping and choose a carrier that suits you and your target group

Black Friday 2020 is coming up on 26th November. Even if the dreary November days in sunny August still seem far away, e-commerce players should think about how they can best position themselves early on. Would an expansion abroad be appropriate? And how could such a step be optimally managed? In this context, a holistic, Europe-wide and centrally controlled carrier network is advisable. Access to local carriers facilitates your market entry and successful shipping. You as an online retailer can thus cooperate with the delivery partner that best suits your own requirements and the needs of your customers in the target country. This includes optimized process chains in terms of costs, delivery speeds and delivery options. But also consider returns. If returns are processed via the same network, this will again save effort and costs. If you integrate returns in different languages into your shop, your customers can return unsuitable clothing or other goods much more easily. And that’s not all: With improved returns you also increase the chance that customers will buy from you again next time. You can also read how optimized returns strengthen customer loyalty in this blogpost or on our website.

3. Polish your data management 

We continue with a topic that is currently on everyone’s lips: data analysis. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to collect, collate and evaluate information more strategically and thoughtfully than before. Now is the time to explore the opportunities and possibilities of an analysis tool that gives you an at-a-glance view of all orders and shipments and helps you make data-driven decisions based on your own dashboards and reports. For example, you can evaluate a carrier’s performance in terms of delivery times or delivery rates by region or zip code. It’s also incredibly helpful to set company-specific rules for automatic reporting to prevent delays and slowdowns. Your customer service will thank you in the next peak period, as there will be far fewer calls from disgruntled customers asking for their delivery. 

4. Consolidate delivery processes and become more flexible

It is also becoming increasingly important not to use solutions in isolation, but in well thought-out interplay to get the most out of them. This is why the use of a delivery platform is a good choice, as it provides you with a wide range of tools, data and options to act more flexibly. Merchants connected to our platform can, for example, check out various connected carriers and thus increase their performance. Such an interface saves integration costs and time, because you do not have to connect to many different carriers independently. It is also helpful to link your ERP or warehouse solution to a delivery platform via an interface in order to create outbound and inbound labels for all European carriers much more efficiently than before. Customers can also create their own label for returns and then hand in returns at the drop-off point. Such a combination of systems and processes also provides better insight into KPIs and enables data-driven performance measurements.

The next peak time may come…

When’s it going to be peak time again? A lot sooner than you think. That’s why it makes sense right now to turn the screws on important aspects of delivery and customer communication. Smart carrier, returns and data management reduces the complexity of your processes immensely. In other words, you can concentrate on more important things, especially in peak times. With this in mind, Seven Senders wishes you a pleasant planning summer 2020!

Would you like to learn how the food experts at foodspring deal with peak times and what tips the company has for other online players? Here you can watch the recording of our customer lunch talk with foodspring.  

Do you have personal questions on how to prepare yourself for Black Friday and Co. in a relaxed but smart way? Contact us now here.

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