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Fully Connected Shipping

Your holiday shipping health check – Are you ready?

Pacejet - Tips and Tricks, Pacejet - Strategy, Pacejet - Holidays

As the holiday season approaches, preparation is key to a successful shipping process. The more prepared you are to handle a flood of orders, the happier your customers will be, whether they are buying online or in the store.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your shipping plans, and chances are you are in planning mode right now. 

For the unprepared retailer, higher order volumes during the holidays can quickly spiral out of control. If you haven’t built a solid plan, lined up extra staff, bought additional packaging, or established relationships with the right carriers, then partners and customers can be left frustrated with delays or damaged goods. And you risk losing valuable repeat business and damaging your word of mouth during the most critical time of the year.

That’s not exactly the impression you want to leave during the holidays, when you have the best chance to generate loyalty with great experiences. If we learned anything from last year, a player like Amazon can change the holiday schedule in a flash and impact you when you least expect it, so taking the time to perfect your process before Halloween will serve you well.

At Pacejet, we want to make sure companies remember that the space between the shipping dock and the customer determines your success. Read on to see our holiday shipping health check to help you get your shipping operations in order this holiday season, hopefully avoiding potential pitfalls along the way.

Are you prepared for the biggest surge in Back-to-School shopping?

Pacejet - News, Pacejet - Strategy, Pacejet - Holidays

Back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record breaking $83.6 billion this year, surpassing previous figures of $75.8 billion in 2016.

These recent projections from the National Retail Federation include spending for both college and schools – the expected rise of $7.8 billion is due to greater confidence in the state of the economyOn average, parents are anticipated to spend $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes, and $114.12 on school supplies.

Trends reveal back-to-school shopping searches begin as early as two months before the school year starts. What’s more, 46% of back-to-school shoppers and 44% of back-to-college shoppers will buy supplies online.

The expected rush of school supply purchases over the coming weeks is a big eye opener for retailers in this space. As demand soars, retailers must ensure they have the right measures in place to meet demand and customer expectations.

Preparation is key, but there is still time to make a difference. Here’s what you should be doing right now to streamline operations for one of the busiest times of the year.

Retailers Triumph with 97% Fulfillment During 2016 Holiday Season

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With expectations set high, consumers and analysts alike wondered whether retailers could keep up with unprecedented demand this holiday season. Reports released at the very end of 2016 show that retailers successfully delivered 97% of orders that were guaranteed by December 25th. According to a study released by Kurt Salmon, a part of Accenture Strategy, this is up from previous years where retailers achieved 95% in 2015 and 87% in 2014.

Why is this such a big achievement?

We shared in November that major carriers UPS, FedEx, and USPS were expecting unprecedented volume this season and took steps to prepare by hiring workers, expanding facilities, and investing in automation. With the infrastructure in place, the next steps were left to retailers, who didn't disappoint. In December, we were able to see Black Friday and Cyber Monday blow away projections with a 21.6% increase in online sales.

Shoppers have made significant shifts in their buying behavior, relying more on online shopping and mobile to place orders, compared to waiting in long lines at brick-and-mortar stores. This put increasing pressure on retailers to deliver on their promises, which is difficult in the age of Amazon and the expectation of 2-day shipping, courtesy of Amazon Prime-conditioned shoppers. This is one of the major reasons why a 97% fulfillment rate is so important, along with the critical role holiday shipping plays in customer satisfaction.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Blow Away Projections

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Black Friday started early this year, and apparently it paid off. The former one day event turned into Black Friday weeks for many retailers and blew past last year’s ecommerce numbers. Adobe Digital Insights reports that Black Friday online sales passed the $3 billion dollar mark for the first time to reach $3.34 billion. This was an increase of 21.6% from 2015, with special deals and mobile use driving the growth.