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Some of the busiest periods for e-commerce businesses are undoubtedly Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. During this time, many online retailers report making over half their annual revenue.

As a result, e-commerce businesses must plan effectively to avoid getting overwhelmed as the festive season approaches.

Providing a seamless shopping experience is key to ensuring you don’t disappoint your valued customers during what is an incredibly hectic time for everyone.

Whether it’s stepping up your order fulfilment process or keeping an eye on your competition, there are many strategies you can implement to prepare for a seasonal surge in business.

Strategies to prepare for seasonal surges in e-commerce

Review last year’s analytics

When it comes to inventory management, businesses need to identify which products to be stocked up to avoid disappointing customers and wasting money on the wrong items. To get a feel of where to place your focus, take a look at last year’s sales to see which items sold the best and which ones you struggled to shift. Knowing this information can give your business an idea of how many orders to expect and can ensure you can best cater to your customers.

Keep an eye on trends

Another excellent way for e-commerce businesses to identify what consumers are after is by keeping an eye on social media, news and reviews. Monitoring content within the social space allows companies to see what items are popular and are in consumer focus. Keeping your fingers on the pulse can help you supply the relevant items that matter the most to consumers at any given moment.

Guaranteed delivery times

It’s always important to consumers that their items are delivered on time, but that necessity elevates during the festive period! A delayed product could result in your customers not being able to give a gift to their friend or relative. As a result, your order fulfilment process from warehouse storage to picking and packing to order shipment must be thoroughly efficient to avoid any unnecessary delays. Whilst a surge in orders is excellent for business, if you’re unable to fulfil them efficiently, the process could soon spiral out of control.

During seasonal surges, many e-commerce businesses opt to outsource their order fulfilment process to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to ensure that customers receive prompt and accurate deliveries during busy periods. Order fulfilment services can provide bespoke plans, so you only pay for the service you use. The use of a 3PL provider when you need it can negate the need to hire more staff, and lets you focus on other priorities within the business.

Monitor your competition

It’s always a good idea for e-commerce businesses to take a look at Amazon’s best sellers list to gain knowledge of what is selling well at the time, as well as making a note of prices. If your products are considerably more than what they have listed, consumers are much more likely to go to the big well-known brand, rather than the small business.

Take a look to see if your competitors are offering any special seasonal deals and if they have placed any festive themes or messages on their homepage. It’s essential to make your consumers aware of your offers and drum up a bit of excitement by creating attractive visuals.

It’s vital that during seasonal surges, small to medium sizes, businesses can stay competitive and give more reason for consumers to choose you over everyone else.

Make sure your website is in order

There’s nothing more frustrating during seasonal surges when a website displays an error message stating that there are too many visitors trying to access the site. If you’re anticipating for an influx of visitors, your website must be able to handle the increase.

As a result, it may be worth investigating with your web host about scaling up resources, so your website can handle more traffic.

These are just a few strategies that e-commerce businesses can implement to ensure that they are not overwhelmed in the wake of a seasonal surge.

If you think your business could benefit from outsourcing order fulfilment during busy periods, then please give Pointbid a call on 0121 326 7368 to find out how we can help save you time and money.

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