Q4 is a crucial time in the e-commerce industry but handling sales peaks can be quite a challenge. Poorly organized logistics during this period means not only the failure to take advantage of the huge sales potential, but often also encountering a real disaster that can affect the company for years.
So how can you effectively prepare for the sales peaks in Q4?
We discussed the details during a webinar dedicated to the topic and with special guests, all experienced experts from the e-commerce industry:
📦 Jocelyn Charman - Wild
📦 Justyna Tylak-Nowis - mybasic.pl
📦 Huzefa Motorwala - Comfort Click
📦 Abdelhak Amraoui - ChannelEngine.com
📦 Tomek Kasperski - Omnipack
Watch the webinar and learn:
🔴🔵 What aspects of online stores you should focus on during the busy season
🔴🔵 The typical mistakes made by online stores and how to avoid them
🔴🔵 Why September is the best time to prepare
Sign up HERE and watch a recording of the webinar.
Q4 in e-commerce
Q4, including Black Week, Christmas and the entire holiday shopping season, is the busiest period in e-commerce. Some companies we serve at Omnipack send even a dozen times more orders in Q4 than during regular sales periods.
For companies that run their own warehouses and handle e-commerce logistics on their own, such sudden increases can cause many problems. To fulfill all orders properly and in a timely manner, it is often necessary to:
- hire additional employees
- use and manage more storage space
- improve the overall organization of processes
- accurately predict how much of different resources you will need
Inadequate preparation for Q4 can have very serious consequences. Stores that run their own warehouse are often unable to cope with sudden sales spikes, resulting in errors in orders, delayed deliveries and negative opinions posted online by customers. Failure to use the full sales potential of Q4 is a huge mistake in this industry and kills any chance you have to achieve record profits.
Another huge risk when preparing for Q4 is underestimating, or even worse, overestimating resources. Sales peaks last a relatively short time and sales return to normal levels just a few days after the holidays. This means that it is not possible to expand your warehouse or employ additional people only for a few weeks for practical reasons. And that usually means that it’s necessary to find other solutions to handle the surge in orders.
Tomek Kasperski, CEO of Omnipack, also warns retailers of another threat that can ruin plans for Q4. It’s a reminder that, with so many moving parts in ecommerce, that timing is everything.
It’s super important in B2B to have things ready in advance and to not waste resources during peak times. In terms of production, you have consider that production facilities can have delays. We learned our lesson a couple of years ago when we had to do inbounding while serving the Black Friday rush.
CEO at Omnipack
Fulfillment centers – the solution for sales peaks
Working with a fulfillment center is a great solution to logistical challenges in Q4. An experienced partner who specializes in logistics for e-commerce can not only save you from trouble, but also ensure the highest possible quality and correct order processing, even during peak sales.
Fulfillment centers have their own warehouse space, professionally developed processes, trained employees and extensive experience in e-commerce logistics. Regardless of your order volume, the industry you operate in and the specifics of your needs, a logistics partner will be able to:
- Organize any storage space for you, which can be scaled up or down, depending on your needs, helping you to avoid underestimating or overestimating resources
- Handle your orders as quickly and efficiently as possible, avoiding many mistakes that are often made by companies running their own warehouses
- Hire additional people to handle your orders, which helps you avoid the costs of recruiting and training employees, as well as the need to provide a notice period when there is a need to reduce the team
In a recent webinar hosted by Omnipack, Huzefa Motorwala, Procurement Manager at Comfort Click, summed up the advantages of working with a fulfillment center.
When it comes to manpower, Ominpack has taken away our headache because before Brexit we used to dispatch everything from a UK warehouse so we had to secure enough manpower for that warehouse for all of Europe but now we only have to have enough for the UK because Omnipack takes care of Europe for us
Procurement Manager at ComfortClick
Why Omnipack’s fulfillment center is your best choice
In the early days of Omnipack, we learned our own lessons about meeting sales peaks during busy times. We are perfectly aware of how big a challenge this is and what a difficult situation it creates for e-commerce companies that do not specialize in logistics.
Thanks to many years of experience, we now know how to effectively manage logistics even during sales peaks. Here’s how:
- We communicate effectively. To properly prepare your company for sales peaks, we always get historical and current sales data from you. This allows us to compare your estimates with our calculations and then prepare for the most likely order volume.
- We plan resources. In our fulfillment center, we have a large warehouse space and both internal and external employees at our disposal. The calculations and estimations made allow us to plan their work in a way that will handle all your orders quickly and error-free.
- We are flexible. During sales peaks, if necessary, we even work on weekends. Thanks to this, we are able to guarantee on-time delivery of all parcels, even those ordered almost at the last minute.
Thanks to our experience and methods, we achieve a 99.95% perfect order ratio, even in busy periods like Q4. We know from working with many online stores that it is nearly impossible to achieve such a result when using your own logistics center without professional support.
The advantages of fulfillment centers
What do you gain by working with a fulfillment center?
- Security. By cooperating with a logistics partner, you do not have to worry about damaged or missing parcels - we minimize such risks and, if necessary, we handle complaints ourselves.
- Flexibility. Thanks to cooperation with Omnipack, you can freely scale your resources up or down, depending on current demand. This is not possible in your own warehouse, where it is difficult to suddenly rent a larger space or periodically hire or fire employees.
- Pay-per-use settlement. An important aspect of working with a fulfillment center is to only pay for the resources you actually use. What's more, when you work with us, you only pay for the warehouse space you use, not for office space, aisles, etc., the costs of which you have to cover when running your own warehouse.
- Efficient returns handling. Returned goods that reach our center will quickly be put back on sale. We not only handle the tricky logistics of returns for you, but also provide you with full information about the status of all returns.
- More time. By entrusting complex e-commerce logistics to an experienced partner, you gain a lot of time and free up the resources needed to develop your business. Thanks to this, you can, for example, improve your offer and plan promotions, which will allow you to acquire new customers and increase profits.
Jocelyn Charman, Director of Operations at Wild Cosmetics, and also a guest on our recent webinar, summed up the advantages of working with a fulfillment center using her own company as an example.
In November we will do two months of sales in one month. So we have a normal month up until Black Friday kicks off and then in the 10-day period when we run the sales, we get a month’s worth of orders in those ten days and Omnipack gets to pack like crazy!
Director of Operations at Wild Cosmetics
How to prepare for sales peaks in Q4
Preparation for Q4 starts in Q3, in the late summer when Christmas time seems far away. But even though these two times of the year seem far apart, that’s the time it takes to get everything in order for a busy online shopping season. Preparing to handle sales peaks requires a good plan, and if you decide to move your logistics to a fulfillment center, Q3 is usually the deadline to reserve a space in a fulfillment warehouse.
Why is it worth starting cooperation with a fulfillment center now? Because the time still remaining until the sales peak makes it possible to enter into negotiations, sign a contract, conduct onboarding and hand over delivery services to your logistics partner, as well as send test orders. It all takes time, so waiting until the last moment rushes the process and increases the risks involved.
If you are considering cooperation with a fulfillment center, contact us now. This will allow us to reserve space for you in our warehouse and help you prepare for sales peaks so that they are as profitable as possible for your online store.