Plenty of time before Black Friday? – Think again – Start planning now to make sure your warehouse is ready.
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, not just on the high street, but online too. A lot of retailers can’t talk about Black Friday without breaking into a cold sweat. It’s hard to predict the potential surge of consumers that will come bursting through the doors of high street retailers or potentially crash e-commerce websites looking for a good deal.
If you ask us when you should start to prepare for Black Friday – we would tell you it’s never too early!
Whether you were overloaded with orders last year or wondering where the crowd was that everyone kept going on about, there are lessons to be learned. Installing a Warehouse Management System or updating your legacy system now can ensure you are ready to take on any peak season or unexpected influx of orders whatever the time of year.
56% of shoppers who perform three-quarters or more of their holiday shopping online during from Black Friday to Cyber Monday expect their items to be delivered in two days or less”
The shopping frenzy will take place this year on November 24th and whether you like it or loathe it, Black Friday is fast becoming part of our shopping culture as more and more consumers are turning to the internet searching for a bargain, making it imperative you and your warehouse are prepared.
You will be pleased to know, time is still on your side and here are a few things you should start to consider in order to make sure your warehouse runs smoothly and copes with the influx in orders.
- Be prepared – review what happened last year and what changes you need to make to maximise your productivity and customer experience this year. Do you have a back-up plan if things go wrong? How will you currently cope with an increase in demand?
- Stock – speak to your purchasing department and suppliers to make sure that you will have the right levels of stock in your warehouse to fulfill your forecast in demands this year. Enabling you to fulfill all your customers’ demands and increase customer satisfaction with prompt dispatch and deliveries.
- Organisation – installing a WMS system will help you organise your warehouse to ensure it’s running more efficient and effective during the busy times. Reduce picking & dispatch times and have all the product information you need to hand at any time. Standard systems will also make training new staff a lot easier before they are expected to hit the ground running.
- Different channels – You or your customers might be selling across several channels and websites. Perhaps you take orders over the phone and sell via your website or are trialing selling via Amazon and eBay or other leading retailers. Make sure you have a platform that can handle multi-channels. Your customers might expect quicker delivery times – review all dispatch options and improve integration with more courier companies etc.
- Technology – If you’re currently using a warehouse management system, make sure that it’s up to the job during peak seasons. Now might be the time to think about additional functionality for your WMS or upgrading to the latest cloud software. The system will give you more accurate stock levels across different eCommerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify and will give you better reporting by providing you with the information you need when you need it.
- Staff levels – The key to success is to ensure you have the right levels of trained and enthusiastic staff. Hiring temporary warehouse could be the key and a WMS will enable you to predict the correct staffing levels at all times. Reviewing staffing levels and planning ahead will enable you to concentrate on the other areas of your business rather than trying to find suitable staff at the last minute.
- Communication – Good communication is essential in any business at any time of the year, and for Black Friday; communication in your warehouse needs to be at its best. Make sure your warehouse staff are fully trained & know exactly what they need to do at all times and you have all your systems up and running before the peak season kicks in.
Already this year, we have seen a shift in some retailers who are adding hundreds of small distribution points to their network, and they’re able to deliver goods to customers faster. Sounds complicated? Not at all – the latest WMS can handle all these elements quickly and efficiently.
This new ship-from-store model is expected to grow in 2017 in a variety of new ways, potentially even turning retailers into warehouses for others. Amazon, for example, is leveraging its merchant partners and using their warehousing to meet its demand and the “Seller Fulfilled Prime” program has allowed it to expand its two-day shipping guarantee by an additional six million items.
Technology is constantly changing with the market brings in new devices, from automation tools and robots to the smartphone in the workplace, the older WMS would’ve continually needed custom work to keep up. Getting everything right now by updating or installing the latest cloud WMS will pay dividends in the future and improve your productivity & profitability as well, resulting in better customer satisfaction.
The WMS software will not only improve the functionality of your warehouse but will also provide you with all the information you need to make better-informed decisions from running regular reports during & after the peak seasons, enabling you to refine your processes, stock levels before the next build up for the next peak seasons – Christmas & the January sales.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost-effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost-effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third-party logistics, wholesale/retail distribution, online fulfillment, and manufacturing warehousing.