Order fulfillment ensures that when someone buys something from you, they get it on time and in good condition. It means keeping track of what’s in stock, getting the stuff the customer ordered, putting it in a box, and sending it to their doorstep without mistakes.
Big companies usually do order fulfillment in a giant warehouse. Workers there find the things people order and pack them for shipping. If a regular store also sells stuff online, they might fulfill the orders themselves or get help from a company specializing in shipping things.
If you’re a retailer, you may face the following problems in the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Issues You’ll Likely Face During Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, businesses often encounter several challenges. These hurdles, like rising costs, managing inventory, and ensuring product quality, can be problematic. Let’s explore these issues and provide solutions to help you successfully navigate these crucial shopping events.
Increasing Costs of Products
One of the significant challenges for businesses during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the increasing cost of the products they sell. It means you must pay more to get your hands on what they want to sell. According to research, about 31% of retailers have seen their products’ costs increase by 5-10% this year, and another third have seen even more significant increases of 10-20% or more.
It is a problem because you want to offer good discounts to attract customers and make money. So, you must figure out how to deal with these higher costs. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Intelligent Sourcing: You can be more innovative about where you get your products. Look for new suppliers, try different materials, or talk to your current suppliers about getting better deals. Building good relationships with suppliers can also help you save money.
- Inventory Control: You must be careful about how much stuff you have in stock. You don’t want too much, or you’ll have extra products, but you also want to be able to meet customer demand. Using data to predict customers’ purchases can help you get this balance right.
- Efficient Shipping: Getting products from one place to another can be expensive. You can save money by being smart about how you ship things. You can group products in shipments, find faster and cheaper shipping routes, and try to get better prices from shipping companies. Using technology to monitor real-time shipments can also help you make good decisions.
Now, you have some strategies you can use to deal with the challenge of higher product costs during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Keeping track of how much stuff you have in stock is a big challenge for supply chains worldwide. When many people want to buy things during events like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, ensuring you have enough stuff to sell but not too much can be challenging.
85% of retailers worry they might not have enough things to sell during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But here’s the tricky part: 83% say they’re being more careful about how much stuff they order because the cost is increasing.
How can you ensure you have the right amount of stuff to sell during these significant shopping events? Here are some steps you can take:
- Use Data to Project Demand: Look at past sales and what’s happening in the market, and use fancy math (predictive analytics) to guess how much of each product people will want to buy. It helps businesses ensure they have enough stuff for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Talk to Suppliers: Keep in touch with the companies that supply your products. Ask them when they’re sending more stuff your way. This way, you can adjust your inventory based on when new stock is coming.
- Get Good Inventory Software: Invest in intelligent computer programs that can help you track how much stuff you have. These programs can also send you automatic alerts if you’re running low on something and give you reports with all the critical info.
Using data, talking to suppliers, and having good software ensures you have the right things to sell during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Inadequate Quality Control
Ensuring you sell quality stuff is vital during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Customers don’t want to receive low-quality or broken items.
So, to ensure everything is quality, you need to pay a lot of attention, follow specific rules, and talk to the people who make the stuff you sell. Here’s how you can do it:
- Have Clear Quality Rules: Make sure everyone knows what “good quality” means for each type of thing you sell. Write down exactly what materials to use, how to make things, what they should look like, and how the packaging should be. And make sure your suppliers and partners understand and follow these rules.
- Check on Suppliers: Visit the companies that make your stuff regularly. Make sure they are making things the right way and following the rules. It helps you know that the items they send you will be quality.
- Listen to Customers: Pay attention to what customers say about your stuff after they buy it. If many say there are problems, you need to fix things. Use their feedback to make sure your quality control gets even better.
The list is incomplete and entails much work. Fortunately, you can make things easy by using an order fulfillment system.
Why Is Order Fulfillment Vital in Growing Your Business
Any online store must be good at getting orders to customers. If you have an intelligent plan for this, you can enjoy these benefits:
- Spend Less Money: If you get help from a company that’s good at sending out orders, it can often cost you less to ship things. For example, Globallyfulfill does the order fulfillment for many online stores and gets good deals on sending from USPS, DHL, and UPS, which they pass on to you.
- Make Customers Happy: It’s crucial to ensure that when people order something from your store, they get what they ordered, and it comes on time. If you mess up on either of these things, customers won’t be happy, and that’s not good for your business.
- Grow Your Business: When you have a smooth system for getting orders out, it saves you time. It means you can focus on making your business bigger and better, especially if you get some help or use technology to handle orders.
Nowadays, people are used to buying things online. So, if you want people to take your brand seriously, you must send out orders quickly, tell customers the tracking number, and check in when the package arrives. You must streamline your order fulfillment process.
How to Streamline Your Order Fulfillment Process
Let’s simplify these strategies for streamlining your order fulfillment process:
- Keep Track of Your Inventory: Efficiently managing your stock is essential. An order fulfillment system integrates with physical stores to speed up the fulfillment of orders.
- Double-Check Orders Before Shipping: Imagine getting the wrong item. It’s frustrating. To prevent this problem, have a system that ensures the right products go to the right customers. Packaging also matters–ensure items are well-packed to avoid damage during shipping.
- Build Good Relationships with Shipping Companies: Your shipping partners significantly influence how fast customers get their orders. Be in touch with them, share your expectations, and offer positive feedback when things go well.
- Use Data for Decision-Making: Analyze your sales data to understand which products move slower than others. It helps you plan better and keep your inventory fresh.
- Automate Where You Can: Human errors can mess up the fulfillment process. Use technology to reduce mistakes. For example, use software to send orders to your fulfillment center automatically. Barcode scanners can help locate items in a busy warehouse. Also, send customers a tracking link so they know where their order is.
- Be Open with Customers: Sometimes, things beyond your control go wrong. It’s essential to be honest with customers. If there’s a delay, let them know immediately, apologize, and explain why it happened. Transparency builds trust.
Following these steps can make your order fulfillment process more efficient and keep your customers happy. But, since Black Friday and Cyber Monday experience a deluge of sales, you need more innovative strategies to handle your orders.
Order Fulfillment Strategies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Here are some innovative strategies for handling orders during Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- Be Honest About Shipping Costs and Delivery Times: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If someone orders something on December 24th in London, it won’t magically appear in Calgary by Christmas morning. You should clearly show shipping details on your website and tell people when it’s too late to order for holiday delivery.
- Start the Shopping Season Early: November is an excellent time to kick off the holiday shopping season. Many customers prefer to avoid the last-minute rush. By starting early, you can handle orders more smoothly and reduce stress as Black Friday and Christmas get closer.
- Explain Your Shipping Policies: Holiday shipping can get tricky, so ensure your customers understand how it works. Tell them about shipping costs, deadlines, and how long it takes to deliver. This way, customers can order confidently and know they’ll get their gifts on time.
- Offer Different Ways to Shop: Online shopping is convenient, especially during the holidays. But some customers like to shop in stores too. You can offer options like Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store (BOPIS) or Buy Online Pick-Up Curbside (BOPIC) to let customers choose how they want to get their purchases.
- Clarify Your Return Policy: Returns are standard during the holiday season. Make sure your return policy is clear. Let customers know who pays for return shipping, how long the process takes, and whether you offer refunds or store credit.
- Consider Alternative Shipping Services: If traditional delivery services are overwhelmed, you can use services like Uber, Lyft, or Instacart for last-mile shipping. It can be a flexible and safe option for getting orders to customers quickly.
- Provide Gift Options: Give customers alternatives like gift cards or subscription services. These can ease the pressure on order fulfillment and let customers choose what they want when ready.
- Offer Fast Shipping: While you might not match Amazon’s speed, try to fulfill and ship orders as quickly as possible, especially during Christmas. Fast shipping can make a big difference for last-minute shoppers.
- Combat Cart Abandonment: Many people abandon their online shopping carts. Send a friendly email to remind those who left without buying.
These strategies can help your business handle orders smoothly during the busy Black Friday and Cyber Monday season. If you want smooth handling of your orders, you should use an automated order fulfillment system.
Benefits of an Automated Order Fulfillment System for Black Friday Sales
Using an automated order fulfillment system can make Black Friday sales easier for sellers in several ways:
- Faster and More Efficient Processing: Black Friday is famous for having many sales and customers. Have a system to handle these orders quicker and better than people can. It means customers get their stuff faster, and you avoid making them unhappy with late deliveries.
- Keeping Track of Stock: Your automated system can always check how much stuff you have in real time. It helps you not sell things you don’t have and ensures products are available as long as they’re in stock. It is super important on Black Friday when everyone wants to buy things.
- Fewer Mistakes: Because your system is automated, it makes fewer mistakes than people. It means orders are more accurate, and you won’t have to deal with returns or angry customers.
- Handling More Orders: Black Friday can bring in many orders simultaneously. Your system can manage this without hiring extra workers.
- Works with Your Online Store: Your system can efficiently work with your online stores, like Shopify or eBay. It makes everything run more smoothly and reduces the chance of errors.
- Better Shipping Choices: You can figure out the best and cheapest ways to ship orders, which saves you money and gets products to customers faster.
- Order Tracking and Communication: Your system can tell customers where their order is, so they don’t have to ask. It makes shopping better and eases the load on your customer service team.
- Using Employees Wisely: With automation, employees can focus on more critical tasks, like helping customers or promoting your products.
- Handling Problems: Your automated system can keep things running smoothly despite technical or other problems. It is essential during busy times like Black Friday.
Effective order fulfillment is paramount to success during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events. Overcome rising product costs, inventory management, and quality control challenges by ensuring you perform strategic planning and adopt automated systems. By implementing these strategies, businesses can optimize operations, meet customer expectations, and thrive during these crucial shopping seasons.
Limit your stress come Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Have a solid order fulfillment system in place to ensure you keep your customers happy.
Contact Globallyfulfill for your questions and concerns.