As discussed in our recent blog, "Is Presales Fulfilment For You?", Presales Fulfilment can help maximise addressable sales opportunities, especially for those retailers in the fast fashion business.
But it makes good business sense to take steps beforehand to mitigate any potential risks that could be avoided so as not to damage your hard earned customer loyalty and business reputation. After all, Presales is a balancing act between feast and famine, where you’re jumping in ahead of everyone else to test the market temperature, in the hope of landing a large haul.
Remember you are selling products you don’t yet actually have, or at least, only in small quantities. If demand is much higher than anticipated it’s a nice surprise but one which can quickly escalate into a major problem if you’re not set up to rapidly scale up supply in order to deliver the goods on time as promised.
So, be as sure as you can be it’s all going to be worth it for the sake of grabbing a share of that suddenly in demand soap star endorsed black dress, or pair of rapper inspired trainers.
Here are 8 tips for mitigating those Presales risks:
1 Check out proposed supplier credentials
If you don’t usually use them, are your intended suppliers/manufacturers up to the job? Should you source or make products locally or abroad?
2 Goods In quality control
Time is of the essence when faced with a peak situation. Check for any obvious damage/defects at Goods-In before wasting time unpacking and putting away goods.
3 Watch inventory like a hawk
At all costs, you will want to avoid being unable to deliver on time, so as not to lose a sales opportunity, repeat business, even an existing loyal customer. To mitigate overselling, closely monitor orders against actual available stock to know what items you have to sell and timelines for delivery. This will also help you avoid missing out on further sales should demand be higher or more sustained than expected.
4 Optimise your warehouse
Being quick and slick will be essential to coping efficiently with the expected demand. Consider your warehouse layout and picking routes – it may be worthwhile setting up a dedicated pick, pack and despatch area in close proximity to Goods-In.
5 Is despatch up to scratch?
The Pack Bench will be the last chance to check for any defective items to help prevent unnecessary complaints or returns from customers. Despatchers will also need to be focused on getting parcels correctly address labelled first time, every time.
6 Pre-brief your fulfilment team
Make sure they aren’t overwhelmed or taken by surprise by an unexpected peak situation. And ensure you have sufficient staff available during the expected peak selling period, including customer services for managing increased volumes of inbound calls from customers on order status.
7 Ensure carriers are in the picture
Don’t be let down at the final hurdle. You’ve got the goods ready to go out but your usual courier or carrier is unavailable or can’t cope with the increased capacity. Make sure they are aware in advance of your campaign and have alternatives on standby.
8 Be ready for Returns
While you should have pre-empted as many unnecessary returns as possible by having clear and concise website product descriptions, still be ready to handle any returns efficiently. A clunky experience here is the lasting impression you won’t want to leave with customers, risking future customer loyalty and repeat orders.
In summary, managing that hoped for tidal wave of demand that may follow a product you’re preselling requires a feet on the ground approach to fulfilment, especially in the supercharged and fickle world of fast fashion. Without doubt, however, being out there first with the product of the moment means the rewards on offer can potentially be sky high.
Attention all Fashionistas! Try our fashion & apparel Fulfilment scorecard to see how your warehouse management and fulfilment strategy stacks up against your competitors.