This post is contributed by Ashley Duke, a content creator at 3dcart. She loves coffee, video games, and all things sci-fi. 3dcart is a complete eCommerce platform designed to help online store owners thrive in a competitive market.
Big sales, holiday blowouts, and special marketing events are eye-catching opportunities for customers and their wallets. After all, who doesn’t love feeling that surge of pride that comes with nabbing a brag-worthy discount?
But what customers don’t often think about – and why would they? – is what’s happening on the other side of the curtain: the magic makers dizzily and frantically rushing about like Santa’s elves, ever-watchful of the time and incoming orders. The hard truth for a lot of small online businesses is that while a surge in sales is great for the bank, packing and shipping inventory is back-breaking work, especially when you’re operating with a limited budget and team.
Luckily, busy shopping days don’t have to be synonymous with sweat and blisters for online merchants. If you’re a business owner that feels even the tiniest bit of dread at the start of a busy shopping season, check out the following tips and tricks that can help you improve your business’s shipping speed, efficiency, and maybe your sanity, too.
Pre-pack your popular items in advance.
Many online stores sell only a few items, while some are lucky enough to carry a hot-selling product that faithfully rings in a large number of orders, without fail, every sale. Pre-packing these orders in advance is a smart way to free up valuable time for when a big rush of orders comes rolling in. Like the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you’ve already got an inkling about what’s going to sell, use it to your advantage.
Keep a surplus of shipping supplies on hand.
Few things can disrupt your shipping process like running out of supplies in the midst of your business’s busiest shopping days. Before you’re inundated with time-sensitive orders, ensure you’re stocked up on essential shipping supplies like packing peanuts, air pillows, bubble wrap, and any other material your business uses to safely ship orders. Just to be on the safe side, you’ll want to match last season’s quantity plus an extra 10%-15% in anticipation of increased sales.
Organize your warehouse.
Time is of the essence during the busy season, and it’s critical that all hands on deck are able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Take time to organize your picking and packing process in advance, and evaluate your warehouse space to see if you’ve got everything organized efficiently and intuitively. Whether you pack by order or segment your products by SKU, you may find that it would be beneficial to reorganize your warehouse for a more streamlined shipping process.
Get a little help from your friends.
Busy shopping days may bring double the sales, but that also means double the work load for your shipping staff. If a surge of orders is more than your small team can handle, you may want to reach out to friends and family members for some temporary assistance, who can likely be brought on for a fraction of the cost as an outside hire. To guarantee operations go smoothly during busy times, make sure your team is well-familiarized with your warehouse space and picking and packing process.
Automate your shipping process.
There’s an alternative solution to manually tackling the tedious shipping process yourself – one that’s far more efficient and cost-effective. Instead of copying and pasting tracking codes, juggling multiple websites and accounts, and combing through endless orders, you can use shipping software to automate your entire shipping process. Have shipping labels printed, order statuses updated, and customers emailed, all with just a few clicks.
Eliminate time-wasting trips to carrier locations.
Skip time-consuming trips to the post office and start scheduling your pickups. Most major carriers will conveniently pickup any number of boxes from your location, free of charge – a service too few merchants use to their advantage. Less time spent on the road and in line is more time you can spend on tasks that need your immediate attention.
As customer expectations continue to rise with each passing year, it becomes more and more important for business’s to ensure their customers receive only the best shopping experience possible – all the way from website entrance to order delivery. And by making just a few simple changes to your packing and shipping process, you can turn your warehouse into a well-oiled, efficient machine, capable of quickly pushing orders out even during the year’s busiest shopping days.