It’s Almost October – Time to Get Ready for the Holidays!
Companies are getting ready for the holiday season – hiring additional workers, renting warehouse space, adding more drivers or contracting with additional carriers, and putting stock on shelves.
We are lucky this year as there is an extra shopping day this holiday season because Thanksgiving comes earlier in the month compared to last year. Most people will shop about 42 days in advance of the holiday, while others wait for deals around Black Friday. BestBlackFriday.com predicts that with the biggest shopping day being earlier than usual, deals will be launched earlier than ever. Regardless of when customers will shop, NetElixir predicts that online revenue will grow by 15 percent over last year. Based on this analysis, Amazon is expected to account for 40 percent of holiday sales. Deloitte says holiday sales could reach $1.1 trillion.
Both UPS and FedEx are hiring extra workers to keep up with the added demand for order fulfillment in the age of e-commerce. In fact, UPS will use over 100,000 seasonal staffers to support its anticipated package volume increase from November through next January. FedEx will hire close to 55,000 workers for the holiday season.
Retailers need to focus on their omnichannel transportation strategies to overcome any issues from tariffs or the rise in demand. One strategy is to make sure you have inventory in the right locations at the right time so you can avoid out-of-stocks. Not having products in stock means loss of revenues. That is why it is important to have visibility of inventory from end-to-end so that you can fill orders from stores or distribution centers. Companies can utilize inventory positioning to ensure SKUs are in the right store or distribution center at the right time to fulfill customer orders when they want them.
Another strategy to overcome seasonal issues is to provide customers with the best experience and best service. Customers that order from Amazon know where their orders are at all times. Using technology, retailers can provide this same experience by tracking shipments in real-time and alerting customers if orders will be delayed. Good customer service leads to strong customer satisfaction and sets you apart from the competition.
Being proactive to give order forecasts to carriers will entice them to provide scarce capacity to your business. If carriers can better plan their asset utilization because they know when shippers will need trucks, everybody wins. Cooperation and collaboration among trading partners yield better access to capacity which can improve on-time delivery percentages.
Getting orders to their final destination will take a scalable, flexible transportation platform and large carrier network. Kuebix TMS can help retailers get their supply chains ready for the holiday season.