Black Friday is just around the corner. And due to supply chain issues and other lingering impacts from COVID, shoppers may be looking for gifts whenever they can find them. As a result, ‘Black Friday’ may come a lot earlier. Companies like Amazon have already started listing Black Friday deals.
Reasons like these are why it is important to be prepared for Black Friday. Preparation for the holiday shopping season begins earlier and earlier every year, and 2021 is going to require far more preparation than in previous years. However, if you can stay on top of customer demands, you can be ready for this holiday season.
Prepare for Supply Chain Delays
The supply chain issues merchants are experiencing this year are unprecedented. 2020 had its own supply chain delays, but this year is a bit more staggered. Instead of the issue lying more at the top of the supply chain, 2021 sees issues with delays, shortages, and pileups at each step along the way.
A major delay many merchants are facing concerns semiconductor shortages. These internal components include computer chips, microchips, processors, etc. Whereas electronics are assembled closer to the time of sale, their internal components are manufactured in advance. And the delays experienced earlier in the pandemic hit semiconductors especially hard. As other sectors ramped up production, semiconductors had to play catchup. And they will continue to play catchup into 2023.
Buy your supplies and inventory now. The delays are just going to compound the closer we get to the holiday season. Your best bet at being prepared is to have inventory. And this is your chance to gain an advantage. If you can stock up on more inventory than you normally would, do it.
Have a Good Picking and Packing Strategy In Place
If you have seasonal employees or even workers from other departments picking during the busy season, it can become chaotic to make sure that everyone is adequately trained. There can be a learning curve to knowing the layout of a warehouse or ways to pick and pack quickly. As a result, some workers may need to have their roles restricted and perform specific tasks rather than have full access to the floor. Having this in place once business picks up will keep your orders being packed smoothly and avoid hiccups.
How ShipStation Can Help With Black Friday
ShipStation’s entire mission is to simplify shipping. As a result, we have a few features that can help make your holiday rush less stressful and more affordable. Our shipping management platform does more than print labels and offer discounted shipping rates. We also have efficiency tools that scale with your warehouse operations.
Adopt a Scan-Based Picking and Packing
Scanning items before printing a label is a great failsafe. Features like Scan to Verify require you to scan all order items before a label can be printed. This ensures that you have only the items that need to be shipped and that nothing is missed. During the holiday rush, mistakes can become more common. If mistakes happen too close to December 25th, your customers may not receive their full orders on time. This can lead to refunds and negative reviews.
Assigning orders to specific workers ensures that they pick the right orders. Additionally, you should limit pickers’ access to only the orders they’re assigned in a shipping platform. Giving pickers access to the full list of orders gives them more information than they may need. Full admin views to all orders should only be given to shift leads.
Pick items in a warehouse with a picklist is great for orders containing multiple line items. This is also good for larger warehouses that have more defined roles in the picking process. If you use something like a scan to verify feature, picking items and bringing them to the packing area to then box up can save time. Usually someone with more seniority is in charge of boxing and printing the labels.
Use Batch Label Printing
Batch label printing allows you to print multiple labels at once. Generally, the items you print picklists or packing slips for are already in a batch. Once the items are picked and in a box, you just print out the labels and they’re ready to go. In ShipStation, you can print up to 500 labels at once.
Automate As Much as Possible
To make batch printing work, you need to automatically apply the carrier service and package type to your orders. This is where automation processes come in handy. Doing things automatically applying service mapping based on what a customer picks at checkout. Additionally, you can use automation rules to apply shipping presets, assign orders, change email templates, and much more.
Further Into the Holiday Checklist
Being prepared for Black Friday is just the start, there are still more elements of your shipping that you need to account for through the holiday season.