The weeks leading up to Christmas are the busiest time of year for online retailers, so it’s crucial that you’re fully prepared and able to get your orders out the door as quickly as possible. We’ve put together some tips about simple changes you can make to your ecommerce business to save time during the Christmas rush.
Streamlining your ecommerce business for Christmas
The first step towards saving time this Christmas is to work out where you can improve your business. What holds you up, or what do you spend most of your time doing? Whether it’s customer service, fulfilling your orders, packaging or dispatching them that takes up the most of your time there is a number of ways you can speed things up.
Reduce customer service
A big drain of time is often dealing with customer’s enquiries and problems. With a few changes you can minimise the amount of time you spend on customer service over the festive period:
- Give detailed product information: Spend some time adding more details to your product descriptions, especially if you often get the same questions about certain items. This will cut down the number of queries before customers have even made a purchase.
- Ensure delivery times and deadlines are easy to find: The key thing Christmas shoppers want to know is whether the items will arrive in time - if shipping details are obvious, with clear deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery, shoppers won't have to contact you.
- Make your returns policy clear: If you extend your returns policy until after Christmas it will give your customers the confidence to buy, and the clearer it is the less time you'll spend dealing with questions. Find out more about how to impress customers with your returns process and keep them coming back.
Manage your inventory
Make sure you have an accurate and reliable inventory management system in place. If you sell across multiple ecommerce platforms and don’t use automated software, then you need to be able to adjust stock levels quickly so you don’t oversell. In the weeks leading up to Christmas,it might be best to split your inventory across the different platforms, so that there’s no chance you could oversell. Otherwise, you could have disappointed customers, and you’ll waste time processing refunds.
Plan and automate your marketing
While marketing is crucial to attracting customers to your online shop and increasing your sales, once it gets to December you probably won’t have time to spend writing tweets, blog posts and sending emails. Now is the time to plan your marketing; you can write your social media posts and use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite so your online presence is maintained without using up precious time in the last few weeks before Christmas. You can also write blog posts, and draft out emails to your customers ready to publish and send in December.
If you haven’t put together a Christmas marketing plan yet, then take a look at this guide to help you get started.
If your packaging process is a bit disorganised then improving it should be a priority. Start by making sure you have appropriate packaging for all of your products, especially if you’re selling new items for Christmas. Packaging needs to properly protect the products, so you don’t have to spend time on lots of damaged items being returned.
You can speed up your packaging process with a dedicated, organised packing space with tape, scissors, boxes, and other supplies close to hand. If you think you might be overwhelmed with orders to package and dispatch then consider hiring someone to help you out or even ask family and friends to lend a hand in their spare time - an increase in sales is great but only if you can get the orders out quickly, otherwise you’ll put customers off and damage your shop’s reputation.
Find out more about improving your packaging process here.
Managing your orders
Ensuring the run up to Christmas is as efficient as possible is all about taking some time to prepare yourself and your business. Following these tips should save you time, and if you’re still worried about being able to process your orders quickly enough then you might need to invest in good shipping software.
Using software, like Zenstores, means you manage all your orders from your different sales channels from one place. You can print invoices, packing slips and address labels in bulk, as well as mark your orders as dispatched with tracking numbers on your different platforms.