How to prepare for Black Friday 2019: Top 6 fulfilment tips
17 Oct 2019
The biggest event in UK retail, Black Friday, falls on the 29th of November this year, closely followed by Cyber Monday on the 2nd of December. Today, Phil Hall, MD at Hallmark Consumer Services shares his Top 6 fulfilment tips and advice for retailers gearing up for the event:
Black Friday is fast approaching and is set to be another huge event for retailers, with many shoppers preparing to take advantage of deals ahead of the Christmas season.
The event is a great opportunity for retailers to maximise sales and attract new customers, but thorough planning and careful consideration of the resources required is essential in order for fulfilment operations to run smoothly as possible.
Hallmark Consumer Services provides six top tips for preparing for Black Friday 2019 to ensure it is a great success for your retail business.
Top 6 fulfilment tips to prepare for Black Friday 2019
- Get your stock early
Make sure the stock that you are planning to sell is in your warehouse as early as possible. This way, you can ensure quality control checks are completed in good time to allow the stock to be sold. It is also important to consider the storage space you may need for additional stock ahead of Black Friday.
From a resource point of view, it is advisable to have every available person in your operations team picking and packing orders to go out, rather than unloading and checking off deliveries on Black Friday.
For retailers using Amazon to fulfil orders, it is equally important to get your stock in early, to allow it to process your goods in plenty of time and make products available for sale in time for Black Friday – even Amazon can have resource issues!
- Organise your stock well
If you’re preparing to offer deals on your bestselling items, put these in easily accessible locations in your warehouse or fulfilment centre to make picking as fast and straightforward as possible. Ensure your warehouse team or fulfilment partner is fully briefed on where the bestsellers are located and advise them on the best packaging to use to fulfil these products.
- Set realistic shipping times
Engage with your fulfilment house or carriers to set a forecast of the amount of goods you are likely to ship over the Black Friday weekend. The carrier network and fulfilment resources will be stretched over this period due to the high spike in demand for a good deal. It’s important to be realistic about when you can get orders to your customers – don’t offer a next day service if you physically can’t get the order to the customer the next day. It’s also a good idea to offer a tracked delivery service so that customers can track their parcels, to give them peace of mind and reassurance that their order is in transit and will be delivered safely and securely.
- Make returns simple
With an increase in order volume, it is reasonable to expect an increase in returns. The Wednesday and Thursday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday are often hailed as “Boomerang” days, when customers return items purchased in these sales events.
Prepare a simple and robust returns process which enables you to quickly turn around the good stock so it can be resold and ensure the customer experience remains a positive one.
There are various actions you can take to streamline the returns process in preparation for peak retail periods, including providing an extended period to return items, assessing the quality of your packaging and ensuring your ecommerce site is clear and concise.
- Use live webchat software
Live webchat is a quick and efficient way to handle customer enquiries during busy periods, as contact centre agents can handle up to five webchats at any one time.
No customer wants to waste their time in a phone queue when they have a straightforward enquiry about a product. Live chat allows you to provide answers and solutions to issues more quickly and is often a more convenient and accessible method of communication for the customer.
- Extend the event
To flatten the spike in operations, consider running your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals over a longer period. Last year, many retailers ran a Black Friday Week with some launching different discounts each day so that orders were staggered, helping supply chains to cope with the increase in demand and maintain a high level of customer service.
By Chris Dawson