Black Friday is arguably the biggest shopping event of the year in the United States. Millions of people eagerly take advantage of heavily discounted products. Not only to trim their holiday shopping bill, but to buy enough gifts for family members and inner circles.
For ecommerce companies, handling the volume of purchase orders from Black Friday is a challenge at the best of times. In 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on and reports about supply chain shortages making headlines across the nation, it’s going to be one of the most difficult times for companies to fulfill orders and get their customers the items they purchase on time.
So, how can you deliver customer expectations this Black Friday? Let’s look at some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of this holiday season.
Have a Warehouse Built to Handle Large Volumes of Inventory
Supply chain management is in a national upheaval due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. However, there are steps you can take to address the supply chain issue. Then, your brand is ready to deliver on customer expectations for Black Friday.
Warehousing is one of the most crucial pieces of any ecommerce supply chain. Ecommerce warehousing saves you an abundance of:
Why? By ensuring you have the inventory of high selling SKUs, long before you start to sell them on Black Friday.
Far too often, ecommerce brands don’t invest in a proper warehouse to store inventory. Instead, business owners rely on their own homes or garages to keep a limited supply of inventory on hand. During massive sales events, ecommerce companies need enough inventory to fulfill the high volume of orders placed by customers. Without proper warehousing, order fulfillment can be a struggle.
Team Up with an Order Fulfillment Company for Added Support
If you don’t have your own warehouse, or you need additional support in that department, there are alternative solutions. One of the best ways to streamline your order fulfillment process is with assistance from a 3PL order fulfillment company.
3PLs specialize in managing order fulfillment procedures from the time of order placement to the completion of the delivery. Many 3PLs have fulfillment warehouses set up across the nation, which allows you to split inventory across multiple regions. This ensures that deliveries can be more localized and match time to order fulfillments made by your brand without stretching your logistics beyond capacity.
In addition to the storage of inventory and management of deliveries, 3PL partners provide many other support programs that can help your brand capitalize on acquiring new loyal customers this Black Friday season.
Manage Orders & Inventory Through Ecommerce Integrations
Many ecommerce companies websites are their primary revenue generating tool. But, they also sell their products across multiple channels to expand their reach and ability to curate more sales from a variety of platforms.
Managing the intricacies of placing orders and fulfilling orders from all of those different channels is a tall order to fill in itself. But an order fulfillment company has the technological capabilities to handle custom ecommerce integrations across any number of different platforms.
3PLs ensure orders are routed correctly and shipped to marketplaces long before big promotional events like Black Friday. As a result, inventory is made available for when customers start taking advantage of those discounted savings.
Built-in Call Centers Provide Additional Support During Peak Sales Events
In any big sales event, shoppers inevitably have questions. Many of these questions are variations of the same types of inquiries related to pricing, discounts, shipping, deliveries, and any special features they should know about the item.
Multiply that volume of questions by the thousands of additional people shopping during events like Black Friday and you can see how your support staff may become overwhelmed. An order fulfillment company that has built-in call center services can take that extra burden off the shoulders of your in-house support team.
Agents at these call centers are fully trained and onboarded to handle customer service inquiries. They’ll quickly be brought up to speed on how to speak your brand’s language so that there’s consistency when shoppers call your in-house team or the support agents provided by your 3PL partner. Plus, you have additional headcount to manage responses from chats, emails, and over the phone, ensuring customer service and satisfaction is maintained even during the busiest sales events like Black Friday.
Maintain Positive Customer Experiences When Handling Returns
Inevitably, someone is not going to like the gift they received from a loved one. Companies online and offline brace themselves for spikes in returns following the holidays. It’s a pain for any brand, but it’s part of the shopping experience. Buyers need to feel the same positive experience when returning an order as they receive when first placing their order.
Order fulfillment companies, due to maintaining diverse warehouses and trained support staff, can help your team manage what’s known as the reverse supply chain. Since returns are an inevitable part of e-commerce business, especially during the Black Friday shopping season, an order fulfillment partner will help you manage the logistics to handle a spike in return volume.
A 3PL company will help:
- Implement parcel tracking so you know where your items are in the return process
- Manage warehouse space and manpower you need to physically accept returns
- Create proper cleaning and repackaging processes, especially in light of COVID-19 to resell items that fit the bill
- Oversee all accounting, inventory management, and warehousing issues to simplify the return process
Don’t let the anticipated high volume of returns disrupt your ability to provide amazing shopping experiences for your customers. Resources are available to shoulder some of the burden on your behalf; you just have to reach out.
If you’d like to talk about how to deliver exceptional customer expectations this Black Friday, then contact us. Call us at 1-866-289-9010 or email us at sales (at) owd (dot) com.