How to Execute a Successful Peak Shipping Season as a Retailer

October 3, 2017 by FreightCenter Team
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As we enter the height of peak shipping season, it’s a good time to start preparing your game plan for next year. Yes, peak seasons – no matter the industry – take the entire year to effectively plan out and ensure efficiency. Whether you’re a business owner of an e-commerce or brick and mortar store – or even a warehouse operations manager – the tips and tricks listed below can help you grasp a better understanding of what you should be doing to assemble your team and plan of action for peak season.

Calling All Business Owners

Peak season should be at the top of your mind year-round. 

In the months leading up to peak season, you should be making great strides each day to ensure that peak season goes off without a hitch – not something that you simply just “get through”. When thinking about how far in advance you should plan your logistics – just know that consumers are thinking about and researching their potential purchases months before they actually purchase anything in the peak buying month of November.

Understand when each customer’s “peak season” is.  

Each of your customer’s peak season may differ depending on what commodity they sell. It wouldn’t be wise to take on all customers who share the same peak season. The more spaced out your customer’s peak seasons are, the less stretched you’ll be for available freight options.

Be selective with customers you take on (if you can).

Most business owners can certainly agree that all business is not good business. There are times when certain business or customers prohibit your business more than they contribute to it. If that’s the case, peak season is an especially important time to be choosier when taking on new business. For those that don’t have the luxury of cherry-picking new business, turn to FreightCenter to help accommodate the influx during peak season.

Get creative with your hiring process. 

Retailers alike can agree that it’s becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find qualified labor – especially for seasonal operations. Rather than accepting defeat or mediocrity, get creative by utilizing unique recruiting efforts and offering incentives.

Get Ready for Peak Season

  • Prepare as much as possible in advance. This will save you from having to make arrangements during your busiest times.
  • Not being prepared for peak season will not only dent your margins but also your reputation. By showing customers that you’re prepared for a surge, you give customers confidence and peace of mind.
  •  It’s a universal truth in the freight industry that the only constant is change. Shipping patterns in the retail market are constantly changing – and fast. To stay successful, one must also stay agile.

What You Should Be Telling Your Customers

Plan to use insurance.  

During peak season, theft increases due to freight being unattended during long holiday weekends. In October, theft surges to an all-time high. Insurance is not something you ever want to skimp on, but especially not during peak season.

The reality of shipping costs, time, and demand. 

When the demand for freight shipping goes up, so do the prices. It’s the reality of the situation, but the sooner you educate your customers about this, the less shocked they’ll be about it when peak season rolls around.

What’s Your Plan?

Every retailers plan will be different depending on their product or service, but there are some fool proof tips that can are beneficial to all retailers, no matter the industry.

Be transparent. 

Customers want transparent and generous return policies. Don’t try to hide anything in the fine print, especially during the upcoming holiday season when tensions are high. Be upfront and honest with customers about how you handle returns if they’re not satisfied with your product or service. If you’re an eCommerce retailer, know that over 50% of customers back out of a purchase if there is no offer for free return shipping.

Provide convenience. 

By now it comes as no shock that consumers want instant gratification. The moment you make a purchase or interaction difficult for a consumer, they back down and move onto your competitor who provided a much more pleasant and seamless experience. By offering little incentives such as in-store pick-ups, limited time sales and promotions, and free shipping, your customer is much more convinced they are making the right purchase.

Test your customer experience.

Try walking through the customer’s experience when making a purchase at your store or online website. Was it a fluid and guided process? Are you providing customers with all the information they need to make a purchase? Is there room to provide a more customized experience? These are the questions you should be asking yourself in the months leading up to peak season.

Although patterns will change and certain events simply cannot be anticipated for, it’s important for industries and companies alike, to learn from past years and analyze what works, what doesn’t, and what you could be doing even more of.

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