It’s no secret the holidays bring increased sales for online retailers. But for some retailers, as much as 30 percent of annual sales occur during the holiday season! Increased sales are great, but sales spikes bring increased demands to deliver holiday orders in the most timely and cost-effective manners. Online merchants must figure out how to manage increased inventory, labor, costs, payment processing, freight, logistics, and most notably, increased pressures of delivering on customer expectations for low cost/free shipping.
There is a LOT to think about and a limited window of time remaining to put a solution in place. With consumers shopping for the holidays as early as August, now is the time to put in place a winning holiday strategy. Focusing on your fulfillment strategy now, can streamline operations to simplify your workload and allow you to focus on sales and happy customers.
Here are 3 ways outsourcing fulfillment to the right partner can pave the way to record-breaking holiday sales:
1. Inventory Management
Increased levels of inventory are needed to meet increased demand. However, many retailers find themselves with a fixed storage space that may not allow for scaling the business during these peak times. By outsourcing fulfillment to a multi-house fulfillment provider, you have the ability to scale up or down as needed to meet demand during peak seasons, without incurring additional overhead costs.
A quality order fulfillment provider can manage inventory from the time it is manufactured, to the time an order is placed and shipped to your customer. Let a team of experienced freight specialists ensure your inventory is safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively transferred into storage at your fulfillment center. Once in storage, inventory levels are monitored with real-time order data and inventory counts, to provide complete transparency.
2. Flexible Workforce
Fulfilling in-house leaves you with little room to scale your operations, and a limited workforce can compound the challenges. Simply put, there is not enough time in one day to complete your order fulfillment tasks, when your daily volume triples with holiday orders. The additional labor force needed to keep up with increased demand leaves online merchants with two options:
- Hire extra help and risk increase margins, or
- Risk negative reviews, but not meeting customer expectations for fast and accurate fulfillment
Outsourcing not only allows merchants to scale their storage space up or down as needed, it also alleviates the challenge of forecasting labor requirements. When you outsource you also end the headaches of hiring, training, supervising and firing to meet increased demands or compensate for slowdowns. Hiring seasonal employees can be costly in more ways than one. Merchants who decide to do it all themselves often spend the majority of their day packing and shipping, with no time to promote the business or quickly respond to customer inquiries.
3. Fast Shipping
Consumers now demand fast delivery of their online purchases. The average online shopper expects to wait an average of 4.8 days for delivery. Offering free shipping gives merchants extra time to deliver. The number of consumers willing to patiently wait more than 5 days for delivery drastically increases, when shipping is free, giving you more time to deliver accurate purchases.
Outsourcing to a fulfillment provider with multiple locations can help merchants bound over the fast, and free shipping hurdle. An experienced third-party fulfillment provider can arm you with same-day order processing, fast delivery options, and reduced shipping costs. With 87% of online shoppers stating shipping speed as a key factor influencing repeat purchases, online retailers cannot afford to risk meeting fast shipping demands.
Are you ready to plan a successful holiday season?
The fulfillment consultants at RSL are experienced professionals who understand eCommerce merchants. We value your commitment to your customers and want to help you exceed customer expectations this holiday season.
A free shipping and fulfillment consultation with one of our advisors can help you discover ways to optimize your current operations and enhance customer experience, to successfully grow your online business. Give us a call at 866-955-7793 or let us call you. We’d love to get in touch!