The holidays can be your most profitable time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. With orders coming in thick and fast, a few wrong moves can put you in a tailspin. No one intends to find headaches during the holidays, but they often happen when you least expect them.
There’s your inventory, shipping supplies, and processes to consider. All elements play a crucial role in the success of your business. If there’s a kink in the line, you could quickly find yourself sidelined with orders backing up for days or even weeks. And we all know this means an unhappy company and unhappy customers.
If you do the groundwork now, you’ll put yourself in top position when the sales really start rolling in. We want you to be prepared for the busy times ahead. So read on to find out how you can avoid common problems and stay in control this holiday.
Master inventory management
The most obvious first step is ensuring you have enough stock to meet rising demand. If you haven't assessed your holiday sales from 2016, now's the time. If you discover certain products were more popular than others, make stocking those items a priority and get in touch with suppliers now.
If you’re sitting on stock that’s not selling particularly well, now might be a good time to discount slow-moving inventory to make space for your best-sellers.
Equally important, ensure you know how long it will take your manufacturers to ship your products. If it takes a couple months for them to handle and ship stock, start ordering inventory in advance now. You don’t want to be faced with a stock shortage mid-season and find nowhere to purchase more.
And, if you were overwhelmed with orders last year, think about whether you need to add short-term or long-term warehouse space to store more products.
Must-have shipping supplies
To ensure your shipping operations run smoothly, arrange adequate shipping supplies to fulfill extra orders. Make a note of what you already have and what you’ll expect to use based on your 2016 holiday figures.
- Scales are a must-have to weigh packages correctly and save money on your shipping costs.
- If you have high demand for lighter orders, make sure you stock up on unpadded and padded envelopes.
- Ensure you have a range of box sizes so they’re the right fit for the product. Order excess boxes for best-sellers.
- Ensure you have adequate filler and protective packaging.
- Place orders for various types of packaging tape.
- Ensure you have enough label printers to handle demand.
Remember that capturing incorrect weights or dimensions can cost you unexpected charges when your packages arrive at the carrier for processing. If you know this is something that cost you dearly in 2016, look at ways to improve your accuracy. If you are a Pacejet customer, look in the Help section within your portal for more information on the devices that work best with the platform.
Automate your shipping processes
If you’re tediously handling your shipping processes manually, consider the efficiency and cost savings of automation. With shipping automation, there’s no need to do manual order entry, copy and paste tracking codes, sift through countless paper orders, or manage multiple shipping software accounts.
With Pacejet shipping software you can rate shop in real-time, pack your orders, print shipping labels, see status updates instantly, and send customer emails in a few clicks.
If your shipping process is causing you pain now, the holidays will only magnify the problems that already exist (and may uncover new ones!) Consider upgrading to an enterprise shipping solution that's better prepared to grow with you now and in the years to come as your business continues to scale.
Review carrier choices
The carriers you choose are a big part of running a tight ship and maintaining customer satisfaction. This can make a huge difference in terms of customers receiving orders quickly and keeping your shipping costs down.
If you’re using the same carrier as last year, do you feel there are areas for improvement? Were all packages delivered on time and in great condition?
Your choice of carriers is vast. You’ll likely find by shopping around you can get better rates and greater flexibility. Both of which will give customers confidence in your ability to deliver gifts before the holidays, as well as provide a healthier ROI for your business. That's why Pacejet gives you the flexibility to add, upgrade, or change carriers as your business grows.
See our article on how to choose the right carrier.
Schedule carrier pickups
Heading to the post office to drop off 200 packages doesn't make sense for a mid-market business or larger enterprises. So why take unnecessary time out of your day calling and emailing carrier reps when you could arrange pickups ahead of time free of charge?
As order volumes increase, ensure you plan additional pickups in advance to avoid unwanted delays. If you haven’t planned ahead, and your carriers aren’t available when you need them, you could find yourself stuck with orders piling up for a carrier, which erodes the cost savings of rate-shopping in the first place.
Our team at Pacejet is on hand to help reduce your shipping costs, simplify your processes, and save you money on unnecessary labor. We achieve this promise to our customers by providing extensive carrier options and streamlined shipping automation.
Pacejet transforms the shipping dock into a launching pad for profitability. This starts with a best-in-class cloud-based solution, surrounding it with the consultative support that enables customers to thrive in the 21st century shipping economy.