Black Friday and eCommerce Retailers
It’s pretty well known that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. In 2015, Adobe Digital Index reported that shoppers spent $2.74 billion online with a projection of $3 billion for 2016. Mobile has been dominating online sales as of late and with this increase, retailers are looking more towards online sales and less brick-and-mortar shoppers. In addition to Black Friday, holiday shoppers also flock to online marketplaces for Cyber Monday to find some of the best deals of the year. The king of online marketplaces is still Amazon where a good majority of the holiday sales are being made, bringing in over 7 million visitors on Black Friday alone. So it’s a no-brainer to have your online retail business present on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and more. That being said, it is essential for businesses to be prepared for an influx of orders by having adequate inventory levels and low-cost shipping options to meet the customers’ needs.
Focusing on Online Shopping Carts
People love to buy online, especially during the holidays. No waiting in long lines in the cold, no cutting Thanksgiving meals short, and most importantly, access to hundreds of great deals, all in one place. Consumers have become more comfortable with buying from their smartphones and tablets, as well. In 2015, mobile sales accounted for 37% of online earnings during the holiday shopping season. This means that retailers need to be aware of their online shopping carts and how they are displaying not only on desktop but on mobile devices. Be sure to check and double check how your shopping cart site is displaying. And if you’re using a popular, well-supported marketplace like WooCommerce or Magento, those platforms could help you boost sales. Check your page loading time, as slow speeds can lead to shopping cart abandonment. By making sure that your eCommerce site loads quickly, you create an easy and seamless buying experience for your customers.
Preparing and Managing Your Inventory
The level of organization in your inventory management and the overall preparedness of your warehouse can have a big impact on holiday sales. Here are some more tips on how to make sure that you’re ready to make the most of the increased traffic:
- Use your inventory management software’s reporting capabilities to take note of the products that have been the most popular in the last few months leading up to the holidays. Chances are, these are going to be even more popular and desired items for holiday shoppers. Having adequate supply of key products to sell during the holidays can make all the difference between whether or not it is a profitable year for a online retailer.
- Smaller companies don’t always have the luxury of keeping an overabundance of stock on hand, as this becomes quite expensive and demand can sometimes be unpredictable. For certain product types, having a substitution strategy ready can help ensure that customers receive comparable items at the right price, without needing to risk overstock in the warehouse of a particular item.
- Before the rush starts, be sure to conduct a cycle count just before to make sure that you are truly ready to meet sales demands. Inventory management software like Zenventory allows you to do this early, often, and quickly using barcode scanners, so there is never a reason to go into the busy season without full confidence in the accuracy of your counts.
- Boost add-on sales by offering bundles of related products with their logical accessories, and storing these high-demand items together in the warehouse so they are easy to assemble when orders arrive. Zenventory offers support for custom kitting and bundling, which is a perfect approach for special bonus gifts for more popular items.
- Integrate your fulfillment tools: The drudgery of redundant data entry will be felt most acutely during the busy holiday season, and this is an easy one to eliminate from your daily to-do list. Before the orders start rolling in, make sure your inventory management software is electronically integrated with your sales channels and your shipping system, the way Zenventory does with ShipWorks, ShippingEasy, and ShipStation.
- And when the first weekend rush is finished, you need to recover your stock levels to continue on strong through the rest of the year. Take advantage of any automated reordering communication, like Zenventory’s email or SMS alerts for low stock or depleted items.
Step Up Your 3PL Game
Third party fulfillment (3PL) companies who store inventory and manage orders for others also play an important role in the holiday shopping and shipping ecosystem. The last thing fulfillment companies want to deal with is a packing or shipping error that impacts both their client and the end-user customer. With the right tools like a cloud inventory management system with connections to all clients and their online marketplaces, you can rest assured that you will be ready for the snowstorm of shipments. Make sure that your employees also receive cross training, to help out with any part of the process that becomes a bottleneck. And consider a timely promotional offer that might be well received by clients this time of year. Do you offer temporary overflow storage at special rates during the holidays? Let your clients know now!
Zenventory and eCommerce Goals
The biggest goal for the weekend of Black Friday & Cyber Monday is to maximize revenue to the greatest degree possible while the heightened buying activity gives you the opportunity. There are plenty of ways to increase sales by sweetening the deal with discounted or free shipping, offering bonus items for certain purchases, and by making your shopping carts easy to navigate for mobile shoppers. With Zenventory, you are able to better facilitate your inventory operations with automatic functions like low stock alerts and reordering. With barcode label printing and scanning solutions, receive shipments faster and with more precision than ever before. Track, process, and ship with accuracy to prevent stock shortages and overselling. And take comfort in knowing that your inventory levels are directly connected to your online stores and shipping integrations, tracking stock and orders in real time.