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3 Ways to Wrap Up Peak-Season Fulfillment Success

For many consumers, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For many retailers, it’s the most stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be.

For many consumers, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For many retailers, it’s the most stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be.

The peak season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, can account for 40 percent or more of annual sales, and it’s just around the corner. Here are three steps online retailers can take to get ready.

Step One: Tighten Up

Streamlining fulfillment not only saves time and money, but it can also help you stay ahead of customer demand. Kick off peak season preparations by rethinking your shipping strategies.

First, determine which items you’ll self-fulfill and which you’ll drop ship. For many retailers, it may make sense to process some orders locally, at the store level. This allows them to:

  • Capitalize on employee downtime
  • Reduce excess store inventory
  • Optimize fulfillment center inventory
  • Cut shipping costs by reducing parcel zones

Next, discuss your expectations for holiday order volume with your shipping partners so they can prepare to increase capacity and help customers’ parcels arrive on time. This can ultimately save on shipping costs and potentially increase sales as well.

Cost to ship packages that miss the ground cut-off date can increase by as much as 500%, and if needing to meet the demands of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping promise, you’ll need to ensure goods are delivered on time so you don’t lose out on sales.

Step Two: Staff Up

With the national unemployment rate near record lows, competition for quality seasonal workers is likely to be intense this holiday season – and can cost you more in increased wages to attract and keep the right employees. Retailers should begin their recruitment and interviewing processes early and reach out to their staffing agencies now.

Once hired, it’s critical that seasonal staff are properly trained, and with the help of new technologies, new staff can better retain what they learn.

Pregis has launched a series of virtual-reality tutorials to get new hires up to speed quickly on proper packaging techniques. The VR tutorials create an engaging, immersive experience so employees retain more of what they’ve been taught, and since every new hire is getting the same training, there will be greater uniformity in your packages and fewer damaged items.

“Running low on protective packing materials can lead to more damaged items, returns and delayed shipments, which in turn lead to dissatisfied customers and higher shipping costs.”

 

Step Three: Stock Up

Running low on protective packing materials can lead to more damaged items, returns and delayed shipments, which in turn lead to dissatisfied customers and higher shipping costs. Falling behind on holiday order fulfillment causes retailers to resort to costly air or overnight shipping methods to achieve on-time delivery.

But before you reorder shipping supplies, consider the potential impact of right-size packaging.

Parcel carriers now charge customers for whichever is higher, a package’s actual weight or its dimensional weight, often referred to as DIM weight. The DIM weight is a calculation using length, width and height to determine a theoretical minimum weight for a package. By switching high DIM weight parcels to poly bags or custom boxes, retailers can save big on shipping.

Wrapping Up

The secret to peak-season success is preparation: determining the right shipping strategies, hiring and properly training seasonal staff, and stocking up on right-size protective packaging. These three simple steps can help make the holidays happier for online retailers and their customers.

 

Learn more about Pregis’ comprehensive eCommerce and fulfillment solutions at www.pregis.com/ecommerce-fulfillment.