October 4, 2022
Peak Season is about to unfold, and Verst fulfillment experts are weighing in!
Peak Season is the busiest shopping period of the year, typically occurring in the 4th quarter around the holidays when shoppers fill retail stores and place ecommerce orders, creating an unprecedented spike in order shipping volumes specifically during this time of the year. For the 2022 Peak Season, analysts at ROI Revolution are predicting a 3.3% increase in US Retail holiday sales, with holiday ecommerce expected to grow by a whopping 15.5% 1.
The big question: Are you ready for Peak Season?
If you’re not sure, we’ve got you covered. We asked Verst fulfillment experts to weigh in on what you can do now to be ready for the Peak Season that is about to unfold. Here are their Top 4 Tips:
Tip #1: Prepare a forecast and staffing plan - the earlier the better (Hint: If you haven’t done this yet, it’s not too late! Start TODAY!) Perhaps the biggest reason Peak Season poses such a challenge for manufacturers and retailers alike is because it’s difficult to predict how much and where demand will spike. There’s little question, however, that the 8-week window of Peak Season is coming — so plan for it! Prepare a forecast for order volumes well before Peak Season begins. Forecasting helps every stakeholder in your fulfillment operation get ready —- from staffing/human resources, to brand managers and beyond. Done right, it also sets the stage for what you expect to happen daily (think Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales), weekly (think week-after-Christmas returns), and monthly. Be smart about anticipating when special promotions and sales will run, and the demand spikes they will bring with them. Finally, share your forecast with your transportation carriers — across the board from small parcel to LTL and truckload — so they have the capacity you’ll need ready and lined up. With small parcel carriers in particular, we recommend doing pre-work with them up front to ensure they have the capacity to meet the demand you’re expecting.
Tip #2: Get your inventory staged, stored, and ready to ship. There are two important aspects to having your inventory ready for Peak Season. The first aspect is inbound inventory coming from suppliers, who are often located overseas. Has the inventory you need to fulfill your forecast arrived at domestic distribution centers? Will it be here, received, and ready for picking by the time your first holiday promotions and Black Friday unfold? If you’re not sure, now is the time to get the answers. The second aspect is inventory staging closest to stores and consumer demand hotspots. In today’s ultra-fast, consumer-driven environment, it’s critical to meet consumer expectations for same-day, next-day, and as-soon-as-possible order delivery. Here are three things you can do to get goods to consumers faster:
Tip #3: Make your customer experience seamless by setting expectations proactively. This means ensuring your e-commerce order systems communicate accurate inventory availability, out-of-stock and backorders, and ‘ship-to-door’ timeframe before and during the ordering process. Doing this upfront enables customers to make informed purchase decisions, and not be disappointed when an order arrives later than they may have expected. Once again, giving them the option to pay for an even faster shipping method is also a best practice.
Tip #4: Collaborate with your fulfillment provider to ensure they have an ironclad process for fulfilling your orders in a timely way. Many fulfillment providers are not prepared with the staffing, warehouse space, technology platforms, or fulfillment processes to handle the massive spike in demand that happens during peak season. At Verst, we bring together the processes and quickly hire and train seasonal staff to meet the demand. We also pair our staffing practices with automation and robotics capabilities to dramatically expand the order volumes we can handle in our fulfillment centers. Our advice: meet with your logistics provider now to make sure your Peak Season fulfillment plan and expectations are clearly defined together. Identify any gaps or unknowns that need to be met, and put action plans in place so they are solved by the time holiday promotions and Black Friday sales begin.
For over 3 decades, Verst has fulfilled orders for customers during Peak Season, with a full range of B2B and B2C services in omnichannel fulfillment. We help large global brands and fast-growing companies in industries like consumer packaged goods (CPG), food & beverage, and retail get to market faster by integrating and consolidating touchpoints across our fulfillment network. Best of all, our central fulfillment center locations in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area are strategically positioned to reach 85% of the US population within 1-2 days.
Need more advice for an exceptional Peak Season fulfillment solution? Learn more here or call our Fulfillment experts at 800-978-9307.
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