This guest post is brought to you by our friends at Brightpearl
You’re probably just recovering from the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday just in time for the holiday rush. Most of your preparation has probably already occurred, but these are a few steps that our multichannel retailers take to ensure a great holiday season.
Publicize your final shipping dates
As consumers we all intend to be fully prepared and done with our shopping at the start of December. I’ve said this every year since I’ve started working, and accept now that I’ll never finish before the 24th. As a merchant you can help me by letting me know your last possible delivery windows – it’s also a great mechanism to set a little urgency amongst your window shoppers!
- Make sure you know your carrier’s final shipping windows …and subtract a day for the flaky ones!
- List the dates clearly on your webstore – hero images, banners, checkout pages, anywhere to spread urgency and cut down phone enquiries
- If you’re selling goods that can be difficult to deliver, such as furniture or other large items, ensure that your order confirmation emails thoroughly express the importance of the customer not missing the delivery window – give them a call to really boost a positive experience
- If you’re selling downloadable products, capitalise on and market the fact you don’t have this barrier!
Have a clear returns policy
A clear and straightforward returns policy is important for any multichannel seller but is essential during the holidays. It makes gift buyers much more comfortable when they know that products can easily be returned or exchanged. A delightful returns process is also a great way to turn gift recipients into repeat customers!
- Publish your return policy clearly on your website. If you’re in an industry with high return rates, even consider adding it to product listings to help drive buying impulse
- Provide gift receipts. Help your customers avoid an awkward price reveal.
- Consider providing a return shipping label and packaging
- Clearly state the timeframes of when products can be returned
Document your warehouse workflows
Increased holiday shipments usually mean bringing temporary staff into your warehouse to help with picking and packing. Spending a few hours clearly documenting and posting your warehouse workflows can significantly improve your fulfillment accuracy and speed.
- Clearly label each area of the warehouse and the associated tasks
- Use a person or software as a traffic controller to assign pickers and packers to specific orders or batches. Avoid multiple staff having to click around a system and search for orders.
- If need to receive any purchase orders during the next few weeks, clearly post their expected arrival date and time so that your fulfillment is not interrupted and you have a team ready for put away.
There’s always time for improvement when it comes to business processes and customer experience. As each holiday season arrives we see an influx of enquiries asking how businesses can optimize their processes, and as we emerge from the chaos and the new year arrives, we find that frustrated businesses are looking to change and adopt new software. The main thing to always bare in mind – it’s never too late, ‘til it is.
Scott Hill is head of product marketing at Brightpearl and knows the retail management system inside out after five years with the company. Scott is focused on helping independent merchants grow their business with the help of powerful technology.