Align Marketing and Logistics Operations for Holiday Season Success

The holidays can be stressful for retailers: The marketing department pushes out promotions while the logistics staff fills an influx of orders, all to meet end-of-year sales goals. Regardless of the size of your marketing and logistics departments—whether each is one person or many—collaboration is key. Without communication between the two, you risk compromising the customer experience and, ultimately, sales.

Instead of working in silos, both departments should have regular, open communication as they prepare for and work through the holidays. Having all of your staff aligned is crucial to holiday fulfillment success. Here are four common problems your company can solve when marketing and logistics work in harmony.

Oversold Products

If your marketing staff promotes items without discussing the deals with the logistics department, there may not be enough product to fulfill the orders. That means excited customers will see “Sold Out” or “Out of Stock” notifications and potentially drop off your site, or will have to be told later that their order cannot be shipped in time or at all.

To solve this problem, look early at year-over-year (YOY) sales and predicted seasonal market trends. By sharing this data between marketing and logistics staff, fulfillment centers can be appropriately stocked and promotions will run smoothly in accordance to what you have.

Last-Minute Orders

Inevitably, customers will attempt to order items last minute, and expect them to be delivered in time for the holidays. This can be a problem if your store guarantees in-time arrival without considering shipping dates. A lack of communication between the marketing and logistics departments could result in unforeseen overtime hours (and pay) for employees. To ensure that products arrive on time and customer expectations are met, you may also incur surprise express shipping costs.

Have the logistics staff share the shipping deadlines with the marketing department before the shopping season begins. That way, promotions and alerts can inform customers of cutoff dates for in-time delivery. This simple internal discussion helps marketing avoid overpromising and letting customers down in the future.

Busy Customer Support Lines

If your departments aren’t communicating, things will fall through the cracks and the customers will suffer. Whether it’s a question about return policies or a complaint about an out-of-stock product, customers will reach out for support. If your line of support—phone, email, web chat, etc.—is understaffed to handle these incoming requests, your customers will grow more dissatisfied and may not order, purchase or shop with your business again.

Talk with your logistics staff and shipping partners ahead of time so your marketing employees can publicize things like return policies or shipping deadlines in advance. This information can live on the order page of your website, and as a digital banner or pop-up reminder as the date approaches. With more transparency from end to end, fewer issues should arise, allowing for a nimbler support team.

Failing Infrastructures

Understaffed store. Down website. Unresponsive customer support line. These are all easy ways to lose sales—and can all result from a lack of communication between the marketing and logistics departments.

Share predicted traffic and sales goals with both stakeholders, and staff up as needed. With more sales associates in store to assist customers and more web staff on call in case of an unsustainable boost in traffic, you can confidently go into the holiday season with less worry.

Key Takeaway

As you begin preparing for the holiday season, remember to involve all key stakeholders from marketing and logistics, as well as others like sales and finance. With a well-rounded planning team in place, you will be able to set realistic expectations for your business and end the holiday shopping season on top.

Effortless Returns

The success of any retail business depends on good customer service. Returns are a vital part of that equation. Did you know that most online shoppers check a company’s return policy before buying? The smartest businesses capitalize on a positive return experience to increase sales and boost customer loyalty. Learn how to transform your return process into a competitive advantage.

5 Tips to Gear Up for the Retail Holiday Season

The holidays present countless opportunities for businesses to meet their bottom lines. They also present countless opportunities for pitfalls. Inefficient warehouse systems, confusing communications and incorrect packaging can prevent companies, both small and large, from making their year-end fiscal goals. Read on for tips to help you tackle the lucrative days ahead.

Quick Tip 1: Talk to Your Supplier

It’s critical for your business to have stock going in and out in a timely manner. Work with your shipping provider to confirm pick-up schedules, communicate changes in business hours and identify peak volume days. That way, your warehouse will know what to expect.

Quick Tip 2: Evaluate Your Warehouse Systems

Make sure your warehouse is logically organized. Place “bundle” items in the same area for easy picking and packing, and set aside room for dramatic influxes of shipments. Finally, inspect your technology so that it’s running smoothly.

Quick Tip 3: Simplify Your New Hire Onboarding Process

The more confusing the training process, the less productive your workers will be. Talk to permanent and returning staff to tweak your onboarding process for clarity and effectiveness.

Quick Tip 4: Use the Right Size Packaging

With dimensional weight pricing, both the weight and size of the packaging affects the ultimate shipping price. As more transportation companies use this pricing method, businesses should diversify the types of packaging they use. Consider Padded Paks, Poly mailers or other packaging in lieu of boxes. In most cases, the smaller the package, the lower the shipping cost.

Quick Tip 5: Communicate with Your Customers Clearly

Take your holiday communications to task. Look through last year’s customer complaints to fix the wording of return policies, shipping timelines and Christmas cut-off dates. Your language should be uniform across every channel.