Businesses wanting to cash in on the holiday shopping season need to learn how best to cope with demand without unnecessary disruptions.
When the clock struck midnight on Singles’ Day (November 11) in China last year, retailers and logistics providers put all hands on deck to process the 250,000 payment transactions that came through every second.
The annual holiday, created by e-commerce giant Alibaba to “celebrate” singlehood in China, has evolved into the world’s largest online shopping event, shattering its own sales record year after year.
The value of shopping transactions in the 2018 edition topped US$30.8 billion (€27.6 billion), dwarfing the sales generated from other popular online retail mega-events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the West.
And that is often just the beginning of the lucrative year-end season, which culminates with the festive holiday shopping nearing Christmas.
For businesses aiming for a slice of the pie on Singles Day and the year-end holiday shopping season, knowing what to expect and how to cope with the influx of orders is critical. Here are five tips on how businesses can prepare in the lead up to the peak season.
1) FORECAST DEMAND AND PLAN AHEAD
Looking at data collected in the past years can give indications of specific peak periods for the demand that a business is likely to face.
By mapping this out in advance, businesses will have ample time to put in place measures to plug the gaps that may arise with a hike in shipping activity.
This could include securing additional manpower to cope with the peak season volume and training them ahead of time to ensure familiarity with the processes.
Referencing historical data would also guide businesses in determining their inventory levels and identifying supplier alternatives — by geographies or product types, for instance — in the event of overwhelming demand.