Fulfilment & Seasonality – Getting Prepared For The Christmas Rush

Picking and packing your own orders for your ecommerce business can be a nightmare at the best of times; dealing with seasonality can be an overwhelming experience. Whether you’re a toy seller at Christmas, sportswear retailer in the New Year, or garden furniture brand in the summer, here are some things to consider when planning your order fulfilment:
Seasonal Fulfilment

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Storage

If you own your own warehouse, then the storage space has to be as big as your biggest demand in the year. This often means redundant space which you are still paying for during your quiet periods. Using a fulfilment provider means that you only pay for the space that you use. For example, if you require 100 pallet spaces in November for a busy Christmas period, but only 20 pallet spaces in April, you only pay for 20 pallet spaces in April.

Order Reworking

As an ecommerce retailer, you may notice that your average spend per customer increases at Christmas time. Customers are extra receptive to offers and added extras at this time. Many retailers make the most of this by offering hampers, product bundles and gift wrapping. Using an outsourced fulfilment provider such as Vdepot means that you can be more flexible in offering these to your customers, and you can increase the average spend of your clients at relatively little cost.

Personnel

Hiring extra personnel to cover busy periods can often be a time consuming hindrance, let alone having to make sure that they are trained to pick and pack quickly and efficiently. Using a fulfilment provider eradicates this hassle for you and means that your goods are in experienced hands.

Order Tracking

The order has been picked, packed and shipped, but while it’s in transit you’re open to those ‘where is my order’ calls and emails. Naturally, these spike during Christmas and other peak periods, and they can take up much of your or your team’s time. One way to remove this additional step is to allow your customer to track their orders. Vdepot can send branded email updates to your customers to advise them of their order status, at no extra cost to you.

Stock Management

While you’re busy picking and packing your orders it can easy to miss stock running low especially if you only have a basic stock management system. Using a fulfilment provider’s stock management system (if they have one) means that you can get reorder alerts sent to you when stock is running low, or you can view online at any time.

Adverse Weather

This is less of an issue if your busy period is during the summer, but colder weather has been known to seriously sabotage some online retailers’ busiest time of the year. It’s Christmas, you have picked and packed your orders, but now you can’t get them to the carrier or the carrier can’t get to you. 

Due to the number of parcels most fulfilment houses process, it is extremely rare that the carrier doesn’t turn up because of bad weather. They are more likely to miss out smaller businesses or home-run businesses in favour of the larger collections.

Returns Management

After the busiest shopping season of the year comes the busiest period for returns! So you and your team will still be working above capacity well into the New Year. If you sell clothing, electronics or beauty products, you’ll have particularly high return rates to deal with.

Vdepot will carry out quality checks and return to stock if necessary, all without you lifting a finger – leaving you to focus on customer service and planning for the rest of the year.

Fulfil your potential

Overall, outsourcing to a fulfilment provider will allow you to focus on your core competencies allowing you to fulfil your business potential whilst gaining assistance from fulfilment experts. It may be cheaper than you think. So don’t have a pick and pack nightmare in your busy periods – ask a fulfilment provider what they might be able to do for you.

If you would like to know more about how we operate, costings and how we can implement any of the above, get in touch today

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