Every year, e-commerce retailers are faced with a new set of challenges during the peak season between Black shopping week and Christmas. The high volume of order fulfillment, higher rates and surcharges, and often low transportation capacities mean it’s critical you have a plan in place.
To stay ahead of the chaos, we've outlined four tips on for how to prepare for peak season as an e-commerce business.
1. Mitigate risk by working with multiple carriers in each region
A multi-carrier strategy means you are working with a mix of carriers on the last mile that fulfill your shipping needs best in each target market. For example, some carriers are stronger in certain regions while others might have more delivery options suited to your customers’ preferences in a specific market. A mix of carriers is also necessary depending on the type of goods you are shipping.
Whatever the reason, cost, speed, or flexibility, establishing a multi-carrier strategy ahead of peak season will keep you from running into unexpected issues. Suppose one carrier winds up having capacity bottlenecks or demonstrates a sudden lack of reliability. In that case, you can react fast and shift volumes to the other regional carriers you are working with– which is much easier if you already have established relationships.
2. Automated notifications and mobile tracking pages
Online retailers must establish ways to proactively communicate with customers to create a more positive post-purchase experience. One of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction is by setting up automatic notifications to keep customers up-to-date on their order status. Letting customers know when their order is out for delivery can help avoid a failed delivery attempt, while notifications about delivery delays can reduce inquiries to customer service teams.
You can easily set up automatic messages to be sent after triggered events such as "First Hub Scan" or "Delivered." Not only does it keep customers engaged with your brand, but good communication helps build customer loyalty. And as customers are increasingly engaging with brands cross-device, it's best to reach them through multiple touchpoints like email, SMS, and a branded, mobile-friendly tracking page.
Having a dedicated tracking page has more benefits than keeping customers in the loop about the delivery status and avoiding WISMO inquiries. A tracking page, or order status page, is another branding and traffic channel. An order tracking page customized to match your brand identity reinforces the connection between customers and your shop. The tracking page is also an excellent opportunity to highlight relevant products for upselling or to drive customers back to your website and increase repurchase rates.
3. Monitor relevant KPIs with a logistics software tool
Monitoring, collecting, and analyzing data about your shipping processes should be part of your strategy to gain a competitive advantage. You need data insights into supply and inventory, as well as your first and last mile performance, to make informed, data-based decisions about what is or isn’t working in your operations. Keeping track of your most important logistic KPIs lets you better forecast your volumes and prepare warehouse and hub capacities for peak times.
Nowadays, logistics operations can be optimized via analytics tools that provide a complete, at-a-glance view of all orders and shipments. Having real-time data can help you prepare for peak and keep track of performance while it's happening. Setting up dashboards that help you quickly identify any irregularities with shipments is critical to give you a chance to react and respond– before customers are affected.
4. Ensure easy returns
The high volume of peak season sales inevitably leads to returns. Paying attention to your returns management is just as important as the delivery experience to achieve high customer satisfaction. Making sure you have a transparent and seamless returns process is crucial to building long-term loyalty with customers won during peak season. Customers want as simple as possible returns, so provide convenient options like downloadable return labels, in-store returns, or drop-off to out-of-home collection points.
Work with the Seven Senders delivery platform for e-commerce peak season shipping
A one-stop solution like the Seven Senders delivery platform helps reduce the stress of e-commerce peak season shipping, enabling smarter optimization of the entire supply chain. With our Analytics tool, hard data on line hauls, capacities, and lead times allow for more reliable planning and enable cost and time optimized shipping processes. For example, you can drill down to evaluate a carrier's performance in terms of delivery times or delivery rates by region or zip code. Connect to the delivery platform via one central API and gain access to all shipping services, including the ability to create outbound and inbound labels for all European carriers.
Find out how we can help you prepare for peak season and contact us!