‘Tis the season for online shopping! With up to 50% of all retail sales happening during the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year is a critical one for e-commerce retailers. With dramatic increases in volume leading to the potential onslaught of complications, shippers are at risk for mishaps that could erode customer satisfaction.
So, how can retailers minimize risk to maximize peak season success?
1. Inventory placement and changes
In today’s post-pandemic world, consumers have grown accustomed to the world of online shopping, marking a 63% increase in global online gift sales. What does this mean for shippers? Keeping an eye on your inventory is key! When shipping from multiple distribution centers, brands should prioritize inventory distribution. A misalignment in inventory placement can lead to imbalances and result in costly shifts between buildings. To mitigate this risk:
- Monitor throughput: Keep a close eye on the throughput from each of your business’s distribution centers to identify any disparities and ensure they are functioning efficiently to handle the increased volume. This will help you determine whether you have the right amount of inventory in each location as well.
- Monitor inventory changes: Continuously assess where inventory is coming from and how its characteristics may have changed, such as new categories like footwear. This can affect how items are shipped.
Unforeseen circumstances, such as extreme weather, can lead to employee call-offs and disrupt your operations. Planning for staffing contingencies is essential. To mitigate this risk:
- Weather monitoring: Stay informed about weather conditions that may impact your DCs. Be prepared to shift staff or have seasonal contingency plans in place.
- Seasonal contingency staff: Hire seasonal staff to ensure smooth operations during peak season, and be ready to scale your workforce up or down as needed.
3. Diversify carriers
In a study from Narvar, research showed the average holiday package time in transit decreased 15% YoY when shippers diversified their carriers. This difference can be attributed to traditional carriers’ difficulties with capacity constraints, surge pricing, and problems handling high demand, all leading to potential delays or disruptions. To mitigate this risk:
- Diversify carriers: By spreading out your volume across multiple carriers, businesses have more flexibility to better optimize their shipments and avoid the typical issues associated with traditional carriers. Partners like Veho can help you mitigate risks with:
-No surge pricing.
-Flexible operations that scale to meet demand during peak season.
-Over 99% on-time rate (OTD), even during peak.
-Superior customer experience with a 4-hour delivery window, personalized delivery instructions, and photo proof of delivery.
Proactive planning and the adoption of flexible carrier partners like Veho are key to mitigating the risks associated with peak season shipping. By getting ahead of risk, shippers can safeguard their operations to ensure a successful peak season and drive customer loyalty.