Peak season or holidays are golden opportunities for those who are in the e-Commerce business in Southeast Asia.
Although we are not yet done battling with the pandemic, many businesses, retailers, and top marketers are expecting a surge in demand in the coming months.
With the continuous health protocols like social distancing and prohibiting mass gathering, consumers are still driven to rely online to buy their essentials—and holiday gifts.
However, consumers’ shopping expectations are getting higher. They want seamless transactions, speedy response, and delivery.
A survey done by Qubit reveals that the 2021 holiday season could be the biggest yet for online shopping. On the other hand, 56% of online shoppers between the ages of 18-34 years expect to have the same day delivery.[*]
These forecasts will definitely put online retailers to test.
But we are here for you to get yourself prepared so you can meet those expectations and provide a satisfying customer experience.
Our goal here is to help you retain your customers beyond the holiday. There are four things you should focus on as part of your preparation:
- Online store
- Online selling tools
One of the most challenging parts during peak season is to meet the set delivery expectations.
During the peak season, each link in the supply chain is strained due to a higher quantity of packages that need to be moved. Ports and warehouses will be congested. This means they need more trucks and staff to ensure an efficient fulfillment process. This also means that shipping costs will get more expensive as major holidays grow near.
Also, it is important to note that the pandemic has significantly affected the supply networks and unfortunately, their recovery is slow due to the looming threat of the Delta variant.
To put into perspective, major Chinese container ports volume increased 4% in late August, and it’s expected to continue to grow until the end of the year.[*]
Review your previous peak season operation
To make sure you are on the right track, review your fulfillment and shipping data from last year’s peak season. That way, you can analyze how quickly your packages have been delivered from the warehouse to the receiver.
Start pre-booking for cargos, airfreight, and warehouses. Your booking should be at least 2-3 weeks before the shipment. This will keep you from missing out on timely delivery.
Be flexible and communicate
Take note that the economy is now in a better position compared to last year and the volume of shipments is rebuilding.
Be flexible in all your schedules. Also, keep in mind that there are uncontrolled factors that may cause shipment disruptions like weather conditions, canal blockage, and road closures.
If this happens, make sure that your lines are open and actively communicate to your consumers to manage their expectations.
Forecasting and planning are two major requirements to effectively handle an anticipated spike of orders.
Learn from the previous year
Just like how you prepare your shipment, you need to take some time and analyze your previous year’s performance. Know which supplier failed and lived up to expectations. Identify the bottlenecks that went unresolved.
In short, know what went well and where you fell short in your inventory so you can fulfill all placed orders this year.
Communicate with your supplier
Another key thing to remember is to always check in with your supplier. Know the requirements as early as possible. Understand their lead production time so you can also manage your stocks.
Categorize your products
If you are offering various kinds of products, you should categorize them for efficiency. Identify products are perishable, seasonal, or perennial so you will know when to order certain stocks, how much you will order, and which stocks need to be replenished.
Prepare your warehouse operations
In an online business, your warehouse is a very vital piece in your retail supply chain – and it’s one of the busiest during peak season.
Make sure that before the surge, your warehouse operations are already optimized by doing the following:
Streamline your marketing campaigns with your warehouse – Throughout the peak season, most likely you will run campaigns and promotions. To be able to meet the demand, make sure that your products are already set up to maximize productivity so workers don’t need to aimlessly run around looking for stuff.
For example, the product lines featured in your promotions may be placed near the packing station for it to be quickly processed or packed.
Train your staff – This includes the shipping and delivery crew. If you’re going to hire seasonal workers, make sure they’re already familiar with the warehouse system.
Plan for returns and exchange items – Unfortunately, in e-Commerce, returned and exchanged items are part of the business cycle and it’s inevitable. If you haven’t set up your inbound return process, now is the time. Check if you have the capacity and process to handle incoming products while updating your customers with the progress of their returns.
During this time, expect that all businesses are putting their best foot forward not just in the supply chain but also on their website or online store.
The last thing you want is for your shopping cart abandonment rate to skyrocket because of poor website experience.
If you are running an e-Commerce website, check your:
- Site speed
- Communication portals (live chat, email, contact for support)
- Return and exchange policy
- Shipment and payment options
- Checkout process
If you are selling in a multi-vendor platform like Shopee and Lazada, check your:
- Product description
- Product images
- Instant responses
- Courier options (especially in Shopee)
- Payment options
To learn more about minimizing shopping cart abandonment, check out How To Fix High e-Commerce Cart Abandonment Rate.
Assist their purchasing decision by providing high-definition images, competitive pricing, and an extra mile effort like freebies.
Use the right eCommerce optimization online selling tools
Ultimately, your goal here is to make your consumer’s shopping experience as smooth and seamless as possible, so they will come back and become loyal customers.
After all your preparations above, nothing beats having reliable tools to supercharge your conversions.
So what tools do you need? Here in Split Dragon we have all the necessary tools you need to help you increase your conversions.
For one, you need to do split testing to avoid unnecessary risks in your product lists. Each element of your online shop— from titles, images, product descriptions up to user experience —can influence your customers’ buying decisions. That said, you would want to give the best version of everything to increase the buying power.
Another way to optimize your online shop is by adding high search volume keywords in your listing. To do that, you need a keyword search tool that will give you the best keywords so you can land on the first page of product search results.
Competitor analysis is another important tool so you can identify your main competitors, and gauge strategies to keep your customers’ interests and attention.
Now is the time to prepare
The challenges of preparing for peak season differ every year, but this year is particularly daunting.
The uncertainty of the pandemic brought a huge impact on consumer behavior, leading to pressure on the supply chain.
Yet with enough preparation, strategic planning, and using the right tools for your business, you can expect to bring home the bacon.
Split Dragon understands the importance of optimizing your listings in an increasingly competitive and crowded online marketplace. That is why we have every essential tool— including the ones mentioned above— ready for sellers.
Check out all of our online selling tools for Lazada and Shopee. Try Split Dragon now and increase your conversion for the peak season!