Planning for your peak periods

Planning for your peak periods

Christmas is around the corner and businesses across the UK are reflecting on the sales and profits generated from the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.

Despite the short recovery time between November’s global purchasing peaks and the upcoming Christmas, Boxing Day and January sales, businesses will be busily analysing their performance, stock taking and managing an inevitable influx of returns.

Peaks vs Pitfalls

Although it’s a time when businesses have the opportunity to maximise their capital and attract new customers, peak sales seasons are not without pitfalls if not planned and managed properly.

There is so much to consider when your business is preparing for peak sale seasons. Failure to cover every aspect will lead to overselling, late deliveries and errors – to name a few.

Quickly, prosperity becomes problematic.

How accurately have you forecasted?

Ensuring you have accurately forecasted for what will be in demand during your promotional seasons is crucial when planning for peaks. As a business, you need to plan your internal operations as well as order from your suppliers in enough time.

However, it is not just about ensuring you have enough stock. Accurate forecasting and effective stock management will also protect you from The Bullwhip Effect – over-ordering stock that will no longer be in demand when it is ready for purchase.

How accessible and user-friendly is your marketplace?

Whether you operate your sales channels online, in-store or through a third-party integration, you must ensure your platforms and discounts are easily accessible.

Modern consumers want the most effortless retail experience when purchasing online or in-store. This experience must include easy navigation and quick transactions wherever your customers are purchasing from.

Make sure you’re providing the information they need to know when buying due to a promotion. What’s on sale, how long is it on sale and how much money am I saving?

If this isn’t obvious then your sales will suffer.

How efficient is your warehouse?

A mass influx of orders will put pressure on your warehouse staff and operations. This is why in peak seasons businesses hire additional staff to support the increase in workload to ensure order fulfilment.

With labour and storage shortages massively impacting the warehousing and logistics industries, businesses must automate their processes to protect their supply chain and create more space in their warehouses.

In addition, with the increased volume of warehouse operations, your business is at a greater risk of human error and with the current expectation for same day or next day delivery, there is little room for this.

How ready for returns are you?

During sales promotions, consumers are often encouraged to bulk buy to ensure their items are discounted and delivered by a certain time. This inevitably incurs a greater volume of returned goods.

On average, 30% of all goods purchased are returned, and consumers have come to expect to return their items just as easily as they’ve purchased them.  Your returns process is now an essential part of customer retention because if your customers struggle with their return or refund, they’ll purchase elsewhere next time.

Simplify the peak sale seasons

Running a sales promotion is a huge and intricate operation, but it doesn’t need to be as complicated as you may have experienced.

An end-to-end, fully integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) or WMS (warehouse management system) solution will manage all of the above processes from one place. Through accurate data integration, the need for manual rekeying and data inputting is removed, reducing labour and human error.

An ERP or WMS solution will make preparing, managing and analysing your promotions seamless. With access to unrivalled business intelligence through real-time data, accessible from anywhere, you can make the most profitable decisions and time-saving decisions.

For more information on how to make the best investments to improve your processes, boost sales and drive growth during your peak sales periods, read our guide.