The holidays are right around the corner and businesses across the world are looking to make the most of the busiest time of the year. Up to 40% of the total annual revenue for small to mid-sized retailers will be made during the last two months of the year and in the US alone, Christmas sales are predicted to surpass $1 trillion this year.
Needless to say, it is very important for companies of all sizes to step up their game. Today we are going to tell you why you would want to go for an order fulfillment provider to avoid the holiday delays.
Holiday Season Challenges
Explosive sales presents us with several challenges. How are you going to make sure that all orders arrive on time? It is crucial that they do, as delivery time highly correlates with customer satisfaction and your reputation as a business. 48% of consumers said that five days is the longest they are willing to wait for their purchases to arrive, while only 23% of respondents said they could wait up to 8 days or more.
The longer people need to wait to receive their order, the less satisfied they will be and the more unlikely it is that they will become returning customers. How much time or manpower do you have to keep track of everything and to manage shipping well?
Make sure you got your inventory sorted and start procuring goods well ahead of the holidays. Wholesalers, manufacturers, couriers; everyone is affected during the busiest time of the year. That means that you need to plan everything well ahead to make sure that you are ready for the storm. If you postpone procurement, you will not receive the goods on time and will not be able to deliver.
Nobody wants to see an ‘out of stock’ notice. It directly decreases consumer trust, confidence in your business and overall satisfaction. Not having proper inventory management software in place is even worse. Not showing customers that a product is actually out of stock will lead to massive delays in perceived delivery time as you will not be able to meet the customer’s expectations. A fulfillment company will keep track of your inventory and notifies you when it is time to give your supplier a phone call.
Correct Address Data
Making sure that you collect accurate address data and generate correct labels is crucial for a timely delivery of orders. Research shows that an average of 5% of all online orders worldwide don’t make it to the consumer because of wrong address data or issues with labels.
Orders simply won’t arrive at the right address and may be returned, or will just get lost. Of the surveyed consumers, 43% blame lost or delayed packages on the courier, while 34% blame the retailer. Make sure consumers enter correct address details. One thing you could do is to have your system automatically fill out address fields based on inputted postal code.
That way the user can immediately see whether or not is it the correct address and may adjust accordingly. Instead of printing labels manually, you can have your fulfillment provider handle it for you.
Courier Cut-Off Time
Couriers usually communicate their cut-off times, which is the time before the holidays that still allows them to ship parcels to consumers. Passing on parcels to couriers after the cut-off time will likely result in delayed delivery and orders won’t arrive on time.
In the event that couriers do not communicate their cut-off times, you should ask for it yourself to guarantee a timely delivery and therefore, satisfied consumers. You could also have a fulfillment company communicate with couriers and inform you accordingly.
China Specific Holidays
It is commonly known that a large portion of the world’s products are manufactured in China, a quarter to be exact. It is therefore likely that your business sells products that are made in China as well. Importing goods from China has its regular challenges, but knowing when China has its own national holidays will help you avoid delayed delivery of orders within your own target markets.
Chinese new year usually falls in February and factories tend to close for a minimum of 23 days. That means that other companies will drastically increase manufacturing before Chinese new year, putting pressure on factories’ capacity. Couriers will also put down most of their work during Chinese new year and will therefore work overtime prior to it.
It is therefore important to plan manufacturing and procurement well to avoid delays later on. Fulfillment providers know the ropes of the industry and can advise you.
Order Fulfillment Providers,
Choosing a good order fulfillment provider will make a big difference in avoiding delivery delays around the holidays. Order fulfillment providers got agreements with couriers and get notified well in advance about cut-off times and other potential issues, such as limited capacity or technical problems.
These fulfillment partners can make arrangements accordingly and do all communication for you so that you free up time to focus on driving sales. Fulfillment providers handle your storage and pick & pack your orders as soon as they come in, through often fully automated software that integrates with your eCommerce platform.
Whenever available storage isn’t sufficient, they can find alternative storage or warehouses through partnerships, or potentially own more facilities themselves.
A good Fulfillment partner will also let you know when your inventory needs to be restocked so that you can avoid unnecessary delays. Order Fulfillment businesses know which delivery methods work best for each individual region, which tariffs or policies there are per country or region and what to be aware of to avoid delays.
Not all countries’ infrastructures are created equally. Knowledge will help you save time. Order fulfillment providers are specialized in all that goes on between receiving an order and the actual delivery.
Don’t have a fulfillment partner yet?
Make sure you get in touch with and sign a deal with a fulfillment provider well ahead of the holiday season so that everything is in place to guarantee fluent processes and timely delivery. Depending on target market, infrastructure and choice of delivery method, make sure to arrange everything up to a minimum of 2 months prior to the holidays. Ideally, you should have it sorted out by the end of September.
Floship is one of Asia’s largest e-commerce order fulfillment providers and the number 1 in crowdfunding fulfillment. Our award-winning tech integrates seamlessly with most major e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce and Amazon. We can also build custom API’s for most other platforms within a few weeks based on your needs. Setting up with us is both quick and easy, and mostly depends on how fast you can get your inventory to our warehouses.
After that, it is a fully automated process and orders will be fulfilled as they flow in. It is difficult to say how far in advance you should contact us, but assuming that you got your inventory ready and are able to ship it to us quickly, a month or two should be enough time to set up. Of course it depends on the shipping method. Postage is much slower and less predictable than Express shipping. The sooner the better.
Want to learn more? Contact Floship for a free consultation.