The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with your family, cooking tasty meals, or simply taking some much needed rest. It’s also the perfect occasion to grow your business, especially if you specialize in e-commerce sales. However, it’s not as easy as just lowering prices and promoting your specials. There’s a lot to be considered if you want to maintain profits and productivity.
You might be thinking that increasing your stock is a wise move. After all, it’s a prime season for boosting sales, so having more of your products to get ready for the increased demand makes sense, right? In actuality, it’s a bit more complicated. If you are an Amazon FBA seller or work in conjunction with a third-party logistics company, you might run into the issue of limited warehouse space due to increased demands for stocking. Timing your restock levels right before the holiday season can help curb this issue, albeit with a potential increase in stocking prices.
Your Shipping and Handling
Mail carriers and general product transportation crews are working overtime in order to meet holiday demands. As such, this will affect the logistical side of your business as you factor in both the arrival time to your warehouse as well as packaging costs.
As mentioned earlier, fulfillment warehouses traditionally increase their holiday rates in preparation for increased inventory. This also means that the arrival time to the warehouse shelves may also be affected. If you are determined to get your inventory ready for the expected sales, consider using multiple outlets to host your stock to ensure that no matter where it’s hosted, it’s ready to go.
This is also the best time to examine your packaging costs, or specifically your dimensional (DIM) weight pricing. Your DIM weight pricing is based on a number of factors including the weight of your item, the size of the box, and a DIM factor constant set up by each carrier. To put it simply, you might be undergoing unnecessary shipping costs if you rely on boxes are too big for your product. Be very cognizant of the boxes you rely on for shipping and look for the carrier with the rates that fit your budget.
Your Customer Service
Maintaining a strong relationship with your customers is one of the backbones of a successful business. That relationship faces arguably its biggest test during the holidays, where customers are expecting top-tier service as they look to get gifts for their friends and family.
As such, returns will undoubtedly be a part of you customer service plan. Gifts will be returned due to unwanted gifts, an error on the shipping end, or other unplanned actions. Your return policy should:
- Be transparent enough that customers are not confused during a hectic time
- Contain proper outlets to communicate (ex. direct phone lines to help desks, contact entries on the website, etc.)
- Include free shipping on returns
- Resemble larger companies for consistency
- Be flexible to accommodate extenuating circumstances (ex. returns that are slightly late)
Aside from providing premium customer satisfaction, your main goal during the holiday season is to take advantage of the yuletide need to buy gifts to increase your profits. This can also be a time to do a “stress test” of sorts to see how well your e-commerce business does against a larger volume of customers.
To track this stress test, you need to examine the following variables throughout the season:
- Docking time
- Shipping time
- Inventory changes
- Return rate
- Customer service response time
- And more!
After the holidays, you can compare those figures to your normal rates to see which areas are boosting or hindering your profit margins.
If you’re still flustered with the holidays as you build your e-commerce business, consider using a third-party logistics business to handle your shipping and distribution. With additional warehouse space, specialized distribution, and instant inventory tracking online, this gift-giving season will be smooth sailing for you and your customers.
Ready to see what your e-commerce business can become? Sign-up with 3rd Eye Logistics today to get exclusive services guaranteed to make you merry!