Optimising your logistics and fulfilment can help your retail business get orders out to customers faster this festive season, writes Tom Buttigieg, Alliance Manager, Marketplacer and Shippit Co-founder, Rob Hango-Zada.
Bracing for a frantic few weeks, as Australians get stuck into Christmas shopping in earnest, or perhaps you’re overloaded with orders already?
The time of year which typically sees eCommerce brands experience a surge of activity is now well and truly upon us. Courtesy of Covid, this online shopping season might be bigger than Ben Hur, as customers collectively say ‘yeah nah’ to high streets and shopping malls and ‘nah, yeah’ to letting their fingers do the walking.
Adopting a multi-carrier shipping strategy that incorporates a dedicated cloud-based shipping partner like Shippit can help to streamline the process.
Indeed, many Marketplacer and Shippit customers are already working double shifts to pick, pack and send a record volume of orders, and the pace is unlikely to ease before December 25 rolls around.
But while customers love the choice and convenience eCommerce affords them, they’re less enamoured with shipping delays that see them waiting weeks for their goods to arrive. That’s been a recurring theme throughout the year, as Australia’s parcel handling system has groaned under the weight of a 25 per cent uptick in online consumer activity. Delays and courier disruptions have been a regular feature.
Even if delivery schedules are beyond your control, your customers will not thank you if their goods don’t show up when they should. That’s why it’s imperative to do everything you can to de-risk your operations and reduce shipping delays over the next few weeks.
Here are some tips from our experts to get you started:
Increase your warehouse hours
Opening earlier and shutting later may help you stay on top of fulfilment backlogs and reduce delivery times to customers. That’s why it makes sense to create a calendar that shows when extra capacity is needed. Scheduling a Saturday shift after the Black Friday sale, for example, will reduce the number of orders that need to be fulfilled the following Monday.
Pre-sort your parcels by destination
Carrier depots are at capacity during the peak season. Pre-sorting your parcels into Unit Load Devices, so they can be docked and loaded directly, can help them make their way through the system and onto the next leg of their journey faster. Plus, you’ll score brownie points from your carriers for making their lives that bit simpler!
Adopt a multi-carrier shipping strategy
Putting all your eggs in one basket is rarely a good idea. A multi-carrier strategy can help to spread the freight – and the risk – across a mix of partners.
Introduce PickUp DropOff (PUDO) collection points
Carrier networks are already busier than Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve and demand for drivers continues to outstrip supply. Sending deliveries to centralised PickUp and DropOff (PUDO) sites whenever possible can alleviate their operational strain and allow you to get parcels to customers faster. That’s a win-win in anyone’s book!
Give customers options
Some shoppers are prepared to pay more for speed and certainty. Introducing multiple delivery options – standard, express, next day, same day and on-demand – allows you to cater for those who want their goods yesterday and those who are happy to pay a few dollars less to have them turn up whenever they come.
Define your returns strategy
After the sales surge comes the returns. Hammering out your returns policy before they begin to arrive will help you deal with them efficiently when they do. It’s also a good time to analyse your data to see which ranges and products are sent back most often and whether you need to modify your product descriptions or switch suppliers.
Communicate with customers
When it comes to deliveries, burying the bad news is rarely a good approach. Communicate potential delays to customers clearly and promptly to let them know where they stand – and your honesty and transparency in doing so will likely stand your business in good stead.
Ready, set, ship!
There’s no doubt this year will be different. Getting ahead of peak season demand will help your eCommerce business fulfil its orders accurately and quickly and ensure it’s top of the list when customers are ready to order again.
We know how busy the holiday season can be if you are overloaded with orders. Shippit can help you stay on top of your shipping during this busy period so you can free up more time to focus on your own holiday shopping. Get in touch
Shippit is Australia’s largest eCommerce shipping platform, taking the guesswork out of shipping decisions by connecting retailers to carriers across Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia with a seamless delivery experience that delights customers.
Marketplacer is a global technology Software as a Service (SaaS) platform equipped with all the tools and functionality needed to build a successful and scalable online marketplace, at speed. The Marketplacer platform exists to make growth simple, from implementing marketplace strategies such as shipment from drop-ship sellers, adding new categories or third-party range extension, through to consolidating markets and rolling out modern revenue models such as recurring memberships that allow businesses to grow faster and beyond the constraints of capital inventory.
(This blog was originally published by Power Retail, the original blog can be found here.)