Learning from Peak Season 2021 to Plan for a Stronger 2022
In a recent superhero film I heard one of the protagonists say that the best way to learn a new skill is in high-stakes, perilous situations. While the exact phrasing of the line was intended to be comedic (and it was), the fact is that in those fight or flight moments when so much is on the line is when we learn a great deal about what it takes to succeed.
Entrepreneurs are superheroes in their own right because of this. They must always be learning and adapting. They understand that just because sometimes you have to deviate from a plan in the spur of the moment, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a strong one in place, and several more in your back pocket. And when the going gets tough, the tough get growing, which frankly is necessary in the fluxing, demanding world of ecommerce.
The ecommerce industry is always moving, always requiring businesses to be on their game. However, peak season is that time of year, every year, when entrepreneurs must dawn their metaphorical capes and rise to even greater demand that the world places on them. In facing that giant challenge, brands learn a lot about their operational strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Overall, they learn what they need to do to succeed in high-pressure situations.
As we open 2022, Ruby Has Fulfillment (now a ShipMonk company) wants to share some important recommendations regarding best ways to understand your 2021 peak season successes and struggles. That way you can begin 2022 with a new approach to improve and grow for the coming year. To start with, it is important to ask yourself key reflective questions about your peak season experience. For example, based on your Q4 results:
- Have you made, or will you be making, any changes in operations, apps, or technology based on results of peak season?
- Do you have an efficient returns policy, authorization, and tracking system in place?
- Is there anything your fulfillment provider could be doing differently to help you?
When your leadership team moves on to analyze specifics relating to your operational successes and struggles, we advise you to look at these three key areas:
- Product assortment, including new items by volume and number of SKUs
- Bundling or kitting needs
- Packaging and labeling
- Incoming freight timing and handling
- Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday season promotions
- Volume forecast for each product
- How you’re handling out-of-stock issues
- How you’re handling returns
2) Information Technology
- Order management processes/changes/upgrades
- Returns authorization, tracking, and refunds
- Omnichannel order and inventory management
- Shipping options and order prioritization
- Flexibility in staffing and shipping to accommodate spikes
- Shifting inventory locations to take advantage of local or regional shipping services
- Tracking and reporting
- Performance expectations and KPI’s
- Contingency plans
Once you have analyzed these different factors within your business, the next step is easy and involves only one question:
Based on your peak season performance in these key areas, do you need a new fulfillment provider?
If you’ve felt the burn of a fulfillment provider that didn’t come through with speed, accuracy, and customer service, it’s time to adapt and come back stronger like the best superheroes. Start 2022 off right by finding the 3PL that’s right for you.
Ruby Has Fulfillment (now a ShipMonk company) leads the third-party logistics industry with cutting-edge technology, seamless integration, and an uncompromised commitment to quality. Our 7 strategically located distribution centers empower retailers and Direct-to-Consumer brands to grow, focus on their customers, and scale with efficiency and speed. Our business can help you save on shipping and freight costs. Most importantly, we are more than just a fulfillment provider; we are a fulfillment partner. We’re ready to help take your brand to the next level so that your next peak season, and every other season outside of that, brings your business success.
Begin your journey to a better 3PL experience by reaching out to our team. A Ruby Has consultant is waiting to speak with you about your goals. Just fill out our quote request form to get started.