Beyond Black Friday: Selling Through Cyber Monday and the Rest of Q4
For the first time ever, digital revenue is expected to surpass the $200-billion mark between November and December in 2021. That’s up from $192.19 billion during the same time period last year.
After you’ve ridden the wave of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, how do you keep up the momentum through the rest of Q4? No doubt you’ll be tired from tackling the holiday season, but keep in mind that you’re not the only one who will be exhausted. Your customers may want a break from shopping online, too. That’s why you must work harder to entice post-holiday business by choosing the best Q4 sales strategies.
Keep reading to learn more about common Q4 fulfillment challenges and how to keep selling through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.
Test New and Existing Systems and Practices
The holidays are stressful. Often, people are in a hurry. That’s why one of the most common fulfillment issues during this time is having a system or process breakdown during an inconvenient time. Conveyor belts stop working, an order management system goes offline, pickers overlook an item, or shipping carriers try to balance too many orders at one time. Perhaps you’re manually tracking orders and someone on your team accidentally closes one out before it’s fulfilled.
Stress and excitement make people hurry, which can lead to a variety of errors—especially if operations are performed manually. When it comes to fulfillment, you risk significant issues if hurried tasks lead to late shipments, reduced order accuracy, or lost inventory.
Before the holiday season arrives, bring your entire company together for testing and maybe even refresh their training. If you’re using inventory and order management software, test each system to make sure it can handle the increased demand. Work with your staff to ensure they’re familiar with how each system should operate. Throughout all of this, place value on accuracy and patience. Work through how your employees should respond when they’re falling behind or are stressed in any way.
Many organizations prioritize improving accuracy and speed metrics during this time. The best thing you can do is analyze these metrics and find ways to balance speed against potential risks if your accuracy suffers.
Plan for Higher Demand and Reduced Supply
We already know this holiday season will be bigger than year’s past, but it’s challenging to project accurate demand forecasts and meet customer expectations when you don’t know what’s coming. Similarly, it’s challenging to run a lean operation and quickly scale if demand raises.
Stay ahead of these potential issues by considering how you’ll respond when demand outstrips your supply. Some companies handle this by adopting backorder capabilities and cross-docking.
Backorders are never ideal, but they ensure that your business continues to bring in money when stock is out or low. If you have good relationships with your suppliers and can guarantee deliveries by a specific date, your customers are more likely to accept backorders. Therefore, offering backorders during the last quarter can make a lot of sense—especially for niche or specialized products.
If you decide to go the backorder route for one of your Q4 sales strategies, you must make sure any offers on your website are presented as clearly as possible. Your customer must know what is on backorder by glancing at the product page. Clearly set delivery expectations and include your shipping policies.
Use your ecommerce platform or CRM to regularly update your customers about production and delivery. If you outsource products, take a look at storage limits and your backorder capabilities now. Staying in touch with your customers throughout the process can help you avoid order cancellations and poor customer reviews.
Try Product Bundles
If you’re left with a lot of overstock after the main holiday rush, you may be able to sell it by kitting and bundling those with more popular products. Bundling is a great way to raise your average order value (AOV). As you’re tracking sales, keep note of your slowest sellers. Then see if it’s possible to bundle these products with better-performing ones. This way, you can keep stock moving while cutting shipping costs.
Kitting and bundling adds a new level of complexity to your warehouse management and fulfillment processes. However, you can kit and bundle products easily with Flxpoint.
As you group items together to form bundles, Flxpoint automatically scans the available quantity for each product and uses the lowest quantity product to determine the number of available bundles. This process ensures that you can fulfill all items of the bundle.
It’s easy to create bundles within Flxpoint and let the software do the work. It allows you to maximize your profits by not losing out on vital sales while meeting your inventory management goals.
Over-Optimize Your Product Titles and Descriptions
When someone views a product on your website, it doesn’t mean they’ll add it to their cart. They’re showing interest, but they haven’t taken the bait yet. How do you entice them to purchase? You must have optimized product descriptions, titles, and photos to close the deal.
If you’ve never tried it before, add vidoes to your product descriptions this Q4.
When someone clicks on your product it doesn’t guarantee they’ll add it to the cart—but they’re on their way! Your task now is to convince your visitors to make a purchase, and your product photos and descriptions are the keys to closing the deal.
After all, 85% of millennials admit to purchasing an item after watching a product video.
Keep CX a Priority
Noticed anything strange about Amazon’s delivery schedule lately? Their shipments are arriving one to two days ahead of time.
How are they mastering this impossible feat of fulfillment? They’re delivering more than they’re promising customers at their time of purchase. Easy—they’re fudging the estimated delivery date at the time of checkout and adding a day or two—even though they expect the product to arrive faster than promised.
This is a smart strategy to adopt in Q4. By adding a buffer to your estimated shipping dates, you can prepare for possible delays. If you’re lucky and these delays don’t materialize, your customers will be happy to receive their packages early.
You can create a great customer experience if you combine strategies like this with transparent return policies, real-time tracking, and a surprise gift in the box (hello, bundles!).
Q4 Is Here — Are You Ready?
If you haven’t nailed down your Q4 sales strategies, you have to start right now. While it’s true that the holiday season only comes around once a year, you can find ways to stretch the party through the New Year. After all, a lot of people receive cash during the holidays and want to spend it as soon as possible. Don’t miss this often overlooked sales opportunity.
Flxpoint can help you manage a lot of the stress that comes with holiday fulfillment. If you need a tool to help automate your ecommerce operations and processes, talk with an expert today.
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