That time of the year is back! The time when your sales skyrocket, your deliveries become more frequent and best of all, all those items sitting in the cart bid you adieu and go to their rightful owner. As a business owner, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a day that beats all the other days of the year. It is also a day for which you start working from September. We curated a list of all the important things you need to check before entering the BFCM zone.
- Prepare for a surge in demand & high surcharges – If you are preparing for BFCM, you are preparing for the holiday season and logistics providers are preparing for their next season of surcharges. As demand rises, so do surcharges and you need to be ready for that. Last year, sales worth $6.3 billion USD were made globally by Shopify merchants. On the delivery front, surcharge-wise, this was the scenario in 2021 –
Information credit – Narvar
And in 2022, this is where we are –
Information credit – Supply Chain Dive
Information credit – Supply Chain Dive
Information credit – FedEx.com
- Check your category – During BFCM, some niches are more popular than others. These include apparel, electronics, customised tools and accessories, and health & wellness. So, if you fall under these, make sure your prep is extra strong. These categories are most likely to see more demand this year as well and you’ll need all hands on deck!
- Offer shipping options – That’s the most basic option your customers are expecting from you this BFCM. When you offer more than two shipping options (Standard and Expedited), the process of buying becomes fast-tracked. Try starting with Same Day and Two Day Shipping and if you cannot do both, see what works for your customer and push that. Let them figure out what will be the most economical way to ship. Having said that, don’t set expectations that you won’t be able to meet. That creates a reliability issue. Your way of handling customers during the peak season sets the tone for the next year.
- Give an unforgettable unboxing experience – You need our customers to feel super special when they get their order. But at the same time, you’ll want to stand out as a responsible brand which goes beyond beauty. This is a good time to focus on eco-friendly packaging options. Give them an unboxing experience that really stays with them long after the instagram stories have been achieved. Being an environment-conscious brand creates a great brand recall and helps in customer retention.
- Get a shipping estimate – Before you think of stocking up on bestsellers and introducing more people to new products, think about the costs. Just thinking about Canada Post shipping rates won’t help. The best way is to get a shipping estimate. Try and get an estimate that includes peak season surcharges so that you get no surprises in the inbox when the storm passes. Get this before BFCM so that you know exactly how much it would cost to ship. Try this and get reduced shipping rates.
- Check inventory and focus on scalability and capacity – Prepare a full-proof plan when it comes to BFCM. After shipping, and after getting the cheapest shipping rate, focus on inventory. See if you have all your bestsellers and highest ROI items all stocked up. Do you need to pre-order something? Or is a recent product not really working that good and would affect your BFCM sales? Check all of it. Also, a good idea would be to show customers how long they have left to order by showing a countdown.
- Set up reverse logistics – Now that our shipping is falling into place. What about reverse logistics? Setting up reverse logistics before you go live is important. It is because while BFCM is the most important and highest ROI-generating day of the year, it is also the year where you’ll get the most returns. The high discounts attract people to buy more and when they get it and if it doesn’t work for them, it’s returned. This costs a lot when it is not planned. This is how you know only getting the best rate shipping ain’t enough.
- Automate – You are no Superman. You and your A team cannot do everything manually and even if they do, the chances of making mistakes are several. Setting up processes that require minimal assistance just before BFCM is perhaps our favourite advice. Investing in automation somewhere in September will fetch great results in November and the following months.
- Partner up with a local carrier – Local carriers know the market the best. They know your customers better and have a great system. Partner with local carriers along with your global ones to ensure that you know everything when it comes to your customers and their delivery experience. Local carriers also help in mitigating the rise in shipping costs. Most importantly, they will help you deal with the sudden influx in orders and prevent last-minute panic attacks.
- Demand Forecasting & real-time visibility – The whole idea of demand forecasting is to get an idea of the big day. It is always better to stay ready than to lack something on a day that matters so much. As it’s BFCM, there will be a lot of demand and delivery mishaps. The best way is to first forecast them and then deal with them using tracking and checking delivery disputes. An app like www.shippingchimp.com ShippingChimp lets you track orders, send notifications and check delivery disputes so that your customers are not left wondering.
- Tackle delivery mishaps – If your customer orders something and gets the wrong size and that too super late, you can try to deliver the right size before they return the wrong one. Think of the impression this would create. You can’t really control all the delivery mishaps but you can own it up and compensate.
- Omnichannel logistics – Mckinsey projects that the total value of omnichannel distribution will continue to grow 7 percent every year, from $600 billion in 2019 to $840 billion by 2025. Omnichannel logistics essentially means sharing data and information regarding inventory, distribution and returns with stakeholders on a single platform. The focus during BFCM should be to streamline communication and this gets the job done quite well.
Here’s a mind map for quick viewing
If you have the best products and not the best strategy for BFCM, do you think you’ll make as much profit as you can? That’s why this checklist will help you this BFCM. No more guesstimation and to-do lists, it’s go time.