10 Tips for Better Order Management During Black Friday
10 Tips for Better Black Friday Order Management
The number of “make or break” sales days per year can be counted on a single hand. You’ll find that Black Friday sits right at the top, too. If you want your ecommerce company to enjoy a profitable year, then you need to ensure that the holiday sales season gets off on the right foot, and that means making certain that your Black Friday sales are up to snuff. That can be pretty challenging to accomplish, but there are a few tips to help improve order management during the mad rush you’ll experience.
1. Prepare by Hiring
Unless you’re using FBA, a 3PL partner, or working with a dropshipper, you’re going to need to ensure that you have the staff you need on hand. Yes, that includes warehouse workers, but you’ll also need additional team members to handle the increased demands of more customers. You will want to boost your customer service team in particular, as well as kicking up your marketing to make your customers aware of your offerings. If you expect the additional need will be seasonal, you may want to look at using SureDone’s multichannel e-commerce managed services (which are agnostic – you don’t need to use SureDone software to use our services).
2. Invest in Extra Training
Bringing new talent aboard isn’t the end of your employee-oriented Black Friday preparation. Warm bodies only get you so far. You need the brains inside those bodies to be engaged, and you do that through training. Simply put, if your employees don’t know what to do, then they’re going to drop the ball. Orders will be lost or overlooked. They might be sent out incomplete, or to the wrong address. It’s a nightmare. Make sure your warehouse and customer service teams are well trained to handle the demands of Black Friday. Start documenting your processes today and use the documentation to train new staff.
3. Invest in a Central Inventory Management Solution for Multichannel Ecommerce
There’s a lot to be gained by branching out beyond your own branded website. Statistics published by Shopify show that adding just one more channel to the mix can boost your revenue by 38%. Adding two or more channels can increase your revenue by 120%. So, multichannel ecommerce is definitely a “no brainer”. However, you need a way to seamlessly manage your inventory levels across all channels. Manual management is a sure way to fail, particularly when it comes to Black Friday. A central inventory management solution like SureDone guarantees accuracy and control, even in the face of Black Friday chaos.
4. Under-Promise on Shipping Times
If there’s one major sticking point when it comes to ecommerce buying, it’s shipping. You should certainly be offering free shipping whenever possible, but you also need to take the right stance to shipping speed. Ideally, you’ll under-promise and over-deliver on shipping times. Quote your customers with a shipping window of 2 days, and then initiate the delivery in 1 day. That gives you a buffer for better order management, and it makes sure that you can wow your customers.
5. Be Proactive about Customer Communication
Whether we’re talking about shipping confirmation or something unexpected that has delayed an order, it’s vital that you communicate effectively with your customers. Keep them in the loop about everything and they’ll be more loyal and will be less likely to give you poor feedback. Customers often understand that delays can happen during busy times – but not if you don’t communicate with them.
6. Communicate with Your Suppliers
You work with many suppliers, whether we’re talking about manufacturers or distributors. Make sure that you’re on good terms with them, and that you have a system that integrates with theirs for automatic updates and better inventory control and order management. This is particularly important around Black Friday when the hectic pace means mistakes, out of stocks and other issues are more likely. As an example, SureDone’s automation engine allows you to sync inventory with any distributor that can provide a CSV, XLS, API or numerous other types of connections and formats.
7. Exception-Based Order Management
Many order management systems are reactive, but that’s the wrong stance to take. Instead, use an exception-based order management system so that you’re alerted when anything out of the ordinary occurs, without the customer having to be aware of it.
8. Ship Smart
All multichannel ecommerce companies have preferences when it comes to shipping, and you need to meet customer expectations, too. However, don’t just look at speed. Use a combination of customer vs. warehouse location, internal stock vs. closer distributor stock, costs, special deals and other attributes. Know when fast isn’t the only option for the item being shipped and go with the best method.
9. Make Returns Simple
You can bet that you’ll experience a ton of returns after Black Friday and the holiday season. Make the return process as painless as possible, and ensure that items can easily be added back to your inventory.
10. Live Inventory Updates
Out of stocks are a very real possibility with multichannel ecommerce sellers during Black Friday. Make sure your system allows for live inventory updates across all channels for complete accuracy and fewer surprises.
There you have them – 10 ways you can improve your multichannel ecommerce company’s order management this Black Friday.