Smart Warehousing Jul 12, 2021 5:25:00 PM 8 min read

How to Ensure Seamless Order Fulfillment for the Holidays in 2021

Even in the middle of summer, the peak holiday season is just around the corner. For e-commerce companies who want to ship and fulfill orders successfully, it's time to prepare for a successful season. Any online merchant must prepare adequately by having the right order fulfillment strategy to overcome the chaotic and hectic experiences during the busy shopping season.

The holidays are stressful for businesses, but you must strive to have a seamless shipping experience for your customers. This is especially true considering holiday e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 18.9% in 2021.

In this piece, we'll give you some of the most critical holiday order fulfillment solutions that you should utilize in your e-commerce business. With the right tips, you'll be ready to have a successful holiday season. Read on for more insights.

Holiday Order Fulfillment

As the holiday season approaches, many e-commerce stores are focused on having excellent social media, website, email marketing, and other creative means of reaching customers. Still, you should develop an efficient logistics plan that will leave a lasting impression on your customers. This means you must have an alignment across all departments, especially your suppliers and your marketing team. 

However, despite receiving many orders, if you can't ship the products in time or items constantly go out of stock, you risk losing all the affected customers and damage your brand's reputation. Statistics show that about 15% of online consumers in the US choose a different site if an item is out-of-stock. 

Notably, Cyber Monday and the rise in e-commerce have heightened the need for great holiday order fulfillment in 2021. Every customer expects excellent services, and you must prove that your company can exceed their expectations.

Optimize Your Website

The holiday shopping season has become increasingly popular over the past few years, so customers will actively check e-commerce platforms for the best deals. As a result, you need to ensure that your e-commerce site is fully optimized for conversion. If a customer has a bad experience on your site, they will try a different one with a better journey.

Make sure your products page, services page, and other aspects on your site don't take too long to load. Good customer experience on your site also leads to referrals, which means more sales.

Also, a majority of shoppers are using mobile phones to go online and make purchases. As a result, you need to have a mobile-friendly site that is simple and fast, making it easier for customers to make purchases. Once you optimize your mobile site, you also need to ensure it has a seamless checkout experience.

Expensive shipping rates, too many advertisements, or too many fields before checkout are some of the turn-offs that can make a potential customer abandon their cart.  Research shows that 49% of e-commerce shoppers abandon their carts due to hidden costs, and 18% abandon them because of a complicated checkout procedure.

Stock Enough Inventory

The holiday season means huge orders, so your inventory should be well-stocked. Don't wait until the last hour to make last-minute preparations. Instead, make all the orders and maintain the packages before the peak shipping season. Also, order all the items in time and constantly communicate with your suppliers to know the exact dates they intend to deliver. 

Ensure you order enough supplies to avoid frustrating your customers as items run out of stock during the peak shipping season. There is no problem if some items end up as surplus provided you have enough on-hand.

Some items may be essential to some customers, and they would rather cancel the entire order if one item on their list is out of stock, which means that you lose out on making extra sales altogether as the customer will choose a different store.

Having stocked inventory helps in warehouse operation optimization, leading to better employee staffing. You'll also have fast order fulfillment due to organized inventory management. Try analyzing your previous orders during past holiday seasons to ensure you have enough stock.

Use Inventory Tracking Software

Keep in mind that the unexpected can occur at any time during the holiday season, despite using the best inventory planning tools. As a result, you need to continuously review your stock counts, inventory turnover, and daily order performance.

To achieve this goal, you need access to timely and accurate data. Using SWIMS software technology, you get real-time visibility of your inventory, transaction, and a summary of all activities via cloud-based technology. In turn, you can have direct insight into the health of your inventory to stay ahead of any hiccups.

Understand and Communicate Carrier Cutoff Dates

Cutoff dates are essential timelines that you should provide to your customers during the holiday shopping season. By giving accurate cutoff dates, you have a better chance of making on-time deliveries that keep customers coming back.

However, as e-commerce shopping continues to rise in popularity, you will likely experience an increase in new shoppers, making it unclear how the holiday season will turn out. As a result, you need to give customers all the accurate shipping details to ensure they make their orders early enough to ensure they receive packages before the holidays. Prior preparation also ensures that you pick the most economical shipping option that still offers reliable services.

Partner with a 3PL Early

Fulfillment is not as easy as you may think, especially during the peak shipping season. To avoid the challenges that you might encounter during the shipping process and end up frustrating your customers, partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) company. 3PL companies know the industry well, which maximizes your chances of having a successful order fulfillment. 

Working with a reliable order fulfillment company like Smart Warehousing will help fulfill your e-commerce orders quickly and efficiently. As a result, you will save on time and money by taking care of one of the most critical parts of your business. Even if you have excess supplies, a 3PL will provide sufficient storage and resources. 

Making the decision to use a 3PL or to shift from your current partner by September will give you ample time to onboard, ensure inventory is in the proper warehouses, and be set up for a stress-free peak season.

Is Your Holiday Order Fulfillment Process Ready for 2021?

The holiday shopping season can turn out to be the most lucrative and still the most overwhelming if you aren't prepared for the influx of orders. By utilizing the above tips early enough, your order fulfillment will not feel like a chore.

Get in touch with Smart Warehousing today and be a step ahead of other e-commerce platforms as you prepare for the 2021 holiday season.