As we approach Thanksgiving, many people look forward to spending time with family. How-ever, there are also consumers that look forward to getting all of their holiday shopping done over the course of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
According to finder.com, a staggering 86% of Americans are planning to partake in holiday shopping deals this year, which is 12% higher than last year. Those shoppers are expected to make, on average, $397.50 in purchases. This means that according to predictions, over the course of a couple of days, Americans will be making roughly $87 billion in purchases.
While consumers are looking forward to these pre-holiday shopping deals, these two days can create a nightmare for supply chain managers. Although many facets of these holidays are unpredictable, there are some things you can do to prepare your supply chain ahead of time,
Such a significant increase in purchases over a short period of time can make it difficult to predict how much inventory will be needed. This can get more complicated when a company is trying to avoid overstocking. Your business can’t complete the order unless you have the inventory on hand, but you don’t want to have so much that you have to end up dis-counting the price to offload the additional inventory.
One way your business can mitigate this issue if you don’t have the space for the additional inventory is by utilizing your logistics partner. Make use of their warehousing capabilities, and have a plan for just-in-time delivery of necessary inventory.
Another large area of concern this time of year is staffing. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are often the busiest times of the year, but your business will also need to be prepared for the entire five weeks leading up to the holidays.
All new staff will need to be hired, trained, and retained before the season hits. On top of that, your business is trying to increase your staffing at the same time that a lot of other companies are doing the same.
Start hiring for this time of the year early. Another way to both attract and retain the talent is to build in some type of an incentive structure for people to start and stay with the company.
While it seems like it might just be important to increase staffing during these busy shopping times, it’s also vital to maintain the increased staffing levels for a 2-3 month period. Returns during the holiday season happen at a much higher rate than any other time of year, and the extra staff will be essential to keep up with demands.
These returns can create extra processing measures that can become time consuming, but staff needs to be able to attend to them. A great solution for this is having a third-party logistics partner that can handle some of the reverse logistics for you.
The holiday season can be difficult to navigate from both the purchasing and returning perspectives, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to plan ahead. Contact us today to speak to our team about ways we can help your supply chain during the holidays and year-round.