We talked in our last blog about the different kinds of peak that can appear in your business, both expected peaks such as Christmas and those unexpected bonuses arising from sudden changes in weather or a celebrity endorsement. But what can you do to make sure you handle these peaks smoothly and capitalise on sales during these periods?See what happened last year
Take Christmas. Unless you are in your first year, you will have experienced a Christmas peak before. So how did it go last time? What went well and what had you tearing your hair out?
Understanding what happened in previous years will help you make plans to prevent the same issues from occurring again. Things to consider include:
- When did peak period start and end?
- Did the highest volume of orders come in when you expected them to?
- If you ran promotions or had massive Black Friday discounts, did they help your sales?
- Did you get your stock into the warehouse in time, and were there any bottlenecks in your warehouse processes?
- Did some suppliers perform better than others?
- Which products proved popular?
- Were you overwhelmed with returns?
If you have been running the same systems such as your Warehouse Management System (WMS) for at least a year, you will be able to see a lot of this information in reports, and may even be able to compare year on year - a great way of seeing the effectiveness of any new processes introduced.
Ordering and Suppliers
You can only sell the stock you have (unless you use presales of course!), so understanding supplier lead times, knowing which are the most reliable and who can respond the fastest to re-orders should a certain product prove an unexpected hit, will help you maximise your sales and keep your customers happy.
Plan your Goods-in
The faster you can get the goods into your warehouse and put-away into pick locations the faster you can be selling them. Careful planning of your deliveries matched up with your unloading capacity and staffing levels can help maintain a smooth flow of goods from the delivery lorries through goods-in to put-away and beyond.
Show your products to best advantage to reduce returns
Sadly the peaks, Christmas in particular, are often followed by an increase in returns - unwanted or duplicate gifts, clothing that didn’t fit or turned out to be unsuitable for that all important party to name a few.
There is no accounting for taste of course, but you can make sure that customers know exactly what they are buying by providing detailed product information and ensuring that photographs are accurate and appealing as this blog explains. Shipping accurate orders on time will also help keep your returns down, and a robust returns process is vital to get returned products back on sale as quickly as possible.
Run a tight ship
The volume of stock passing through your warehouse will be much higher than usual and any pinch points in your operations that you have, so far, been getting away with, will be exposed. Download our 10 Ways to Make Your Warehouse More Efficient infographic for ideas of how to streamline your warehouse.
These are just some of the things to think about now before peak hits. Time spent planning now could save a lot of time and hassle later on.
We wish you lots of happy customers and a successful and prosperous peak period!
If you are wondering how Peoplevox WMS could help can help you manage your peak periods, please get in touch and we’d be delighted to show you.