All retailers, big or small, have a slack period and a peak period. Some of them log nearly 70 to 80% of their annual turnover in the peak period of sales which means it’s a make-or-break period for the business. Peak period sales take care of sustaining the business for the balance of the year. Peak season is the most rewarding – and at the same time – most stressful time for businesses.
In order to decrease stress levels and manage the peak season smoothly, adequate arrangements need to be made in advance of the peak season. As we enter the current holiday season, an eMarketer report says 2019 will experience a healthy growth of 3.7%, boosting holiday sales up to $1.035 trillion. Following are some some key points that successful e-marketers rely on to maximize their peak season sales and profits.
The economic state of the place and the country plays a major role in the forecasting of additional business. Various macro and micro factors affect certain business segments and the business needs to take note and understand the effects of such factors.
The inflection point that Andy Grove wrote about is coming to supply chain management. And it is coming in the form of new-age digital technologies. Of course, we already have tons of software, cloud servers, and many other tools that are digitizing everyday supply chain processes. But this inflection point is brought to dock stations by data towers and automation technologies.
Even weather plays a pivotal role in certain segments of business in generating additional business in the peak season. Though one cannot estimate the weather effects during the period, one can get a fair idea from the broad forecasts made by the meteorological department.
Analysis of all things data is the answer to get real-time functional insights. This helps in drawing out a marketing strategy.
E-commerce sellers plan ahead to ensure they are 100% prepared to meet customer demands and increased return rates. Generating awareness of product availability among consumers is also key. Once consumers are aware, half the battle is won. The better the marketing, the more eager the customer is to have the shopping experience.
These two factors are interrelated. Adequate liquidity is the backbone of the preparation to meet the demands of the peak period. There should be adequate liquidity to meet the working capital requirements.
Stock up on the right inventory at the right time. Use inventory software to determine which products are likely to be in high demand, and stock up. Maintain sufficient stock of the fast-moving products. Keep a stock of variations too, in each category or segment. This being the peak time of the business, one has to have a well-stocked inventory to make the most.
An important aspect here is online sales. While brick-and-mortar stores still remain favorites for shoppers, online stores are growing faster—studies reveal that online sales will increase 14.8% year over year, compared with brick-and-mortar growth of 1.9%. Obviously, shoppers are loving the experience of retail therapy from the comfort of their homes and offices, and are enjoying products being delivered right into their hands.
A more than normal business in the peak season also demands additional manpower. Be it in the manufacturing segment, the services segment, or the distribution of products, additional business implies additional manpower requirement. Start recruiting well before the peak season.
At times, conforming to the laws and the maximum number of working hours, the business may not be able to meet the peak season demands with its regular permanent manpower which suffices the normal business season. In such cases, temporary manpower employment is called for, only during the peak season. The expenses of such can be absorbed by the additional business done during this period.
An arrangement in proportion to the inventory is another important aspect to be looked into. Temporary warehouses are an option, of course at a price that is profitable. Also, proximity to the existing business place is of importance.
Consumers are forever demanding. The shorter the delivery times, the better the consumer response. Strategies such as “Same-day delivery”, “Express delivery” or “Next day delivery” are all prominent crowd pullers.
Plan effectively to cater to more requests on shortened delivery timelines. Decentralizing products to strategically positioned centers work to decrease the delivery period. Warehouse and logistics management are crucial for the peak season.
With all the above parameters in place, and streamlined, you are well-prepared to welcome the peak season of your business profitably.
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