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Supply chain during festive season: challenges and solutions
Order fulfilment

Supply chain during festive season: challenges and solutions

Yukta Anand
January 2, 2023
7
mins read

Festive season shopping is a joyful experience for modern-day customers but a challenging time for ecommerce sellers. An excessive amount of orders is difficult to manage for ecommerce brands, and inefficient order processing can compromise Customer Experience (CX), leading to disappointed customers.

While placing orders during the festive season, customers expect fast deliveries, proactive order notifications, and, most of all, safe and attractive packaging. Thus, to retain customers, ecommerce sellers have to ensure two things. Firstly, they must fulfil the above-mentioned conditions to drive ecommerce sales, and secondly, ensure cost-effectiveness or fulfilment could cut into their profits.

Despite the challenges, the festive season is the best time for brands to boost ecommerce sales, revenue and deliver a world-class shopping experience that retains customers in the long run. According to research, festive season spending was expected to reach $32 billion in 2022!

Are you wondering how you can do so? It is possible through robust planning to overcome supply chain bottlenecks and ensure seamless fulfilment that delights customers. Let’s see how.

In this blog, you will learn about disruptions in the supply chain during festive season and how to deal with them.

What are the common supply chain disruptions during the festive season?

As the festive season rolls in, ecommerce sellers are flooded with orders but fulfiling them can be quite a challenging task. Thus, it is beneficial for ecommerce sellers to streamline their supply chain before the festive season to ensure smooth fulfilment.

Let’s have a look at the potential disruptions which can affect the supply chain during the peak season:

1. Stockouts and overselling

Stockout is a situation where an ecommerce seller has no inventory left to fulfil orders. On the other hand, overselling refers to selling more products than are available to you. Stockouts and overselling can lead to missed sales opportunities and loss of revenue. Furthermore, the lack of an Inventory Management System (IMS) can also lead to overstocking, i.e. procuring more inventory than required to fulfil orders. Overstocking increases storage costs and the chances of inventory becoming obsolete.

2. Limited warehouse space and labour

During the festive season, the order volume increases, and you may need more inventory and space to store it. Moreover, more labour can be required to process online orders. As a result, if your ecommerce warehouse is not scalable, it can be challenging to look for storage space at the last minute.

3. Difficulty in forecasting consumer demand

It is beneficial for ecommerce sellers to forecast consumer demand so that they can maintain inventory accordingly and process orders quickly. However, compiling the data required to calculate consumer demand can take time and effort, making it difficult. Also, a lack of technology can cause manual errors and make forecasting demand cumbersome.

4. Delay in shipments

The supply chain during the festive season also sees delays in shipments (inbound and outbound). The following situations can cause delays in delivery, causing customer dissatisfaction:

  • Severe traffic conditions
  • Slow order processing
  • Manual order management
  • Less workforce can lead to delays in delivery

5. Inefficient last-mile delivery

There is a lot of pressure on ecommerce sellers to provide fast deliveries during the festive season. Same-day delivery, next-day delivery and express delivery have become the norm, and if the delivery time is too long, it can increase shopping cart abandonment. At the same time, fast deliveries can lead to higher shipping costs if the ecommerce warehouse and a customer’s location are too far apart.

How to deal with supply chain disruptions during the festive season?

Proper planning can help ecommerce sellers deal with disruptions in the supply chain during festive season and ensure seamless fulfilment. Here’s how you can streamline operations for the festive season:

1. Inventory Management System (IMS)

An IMS (Inventory Management System) keeps track of inventory levels across the supply chain to prevent stock-outs, overstocking and overselling.

For instance: Eshopbox uses a robust IMS (Inventory Management System) that gives inventory replenishment reminders, giving you ample time to stock inventory without missing out on sales. Eshopbox also updates inventory levels across sales channels every 5 minutes to prevent overselling.

Eshopbox’s actionable dashboard enables superior inventory management
Eshopbox’s actionable dashboard enables superior inventory management

2. Scalable ecommerce warehouses

Ecommerce sellers can rent larger ecommerce warehouse spaces or consider hiring on-demand warehousing. You can also use fulfilment centres of 3PLs (Third-party logistics) which have additional storage space and fulfilment infrastructure. Moreover, ecommerce sellers can hire additional workforce for the festive season to process orders quickly.

For example: Eshopbox has scalable fulfilment centres and allocates more resources for your current needs when notified about a festive season sale.

Eshopbox’s distributed network of fulfilment centres
Eshopbox’s distributed network of fulfilment centres

3. Forecast consumer demand

Ecommerce brands can forecast consumer demand using historical sales data. While the calculations are not 100% accurate, they can give you a close estimate.

For instance: You can use powerful insights and reports by Eshopbox to analyse your historical data at the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) level to calculate valuable ecommerce metrics and forecast consumer demand.

4. Automate ecommerce operations

Ecommerce sellers can reduce manual errors by automating order fulfilment processes. You can ensure fast deliveries through on-time processing orders, decentralising inventory, route optimisation, and partnering with multiple courier companies.

For instance: Eshopbox picks, packs, and ships orders using SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and technology like conveyer belts to ensure a 99.65% order accuracy rate. Moreover, Eshopbox intelligently allocates orders to the fulfilment centre nearest to the customer’s location to reduce transit time and shipping costs.

5. Optimise last-mile delivery

Last-mile delivery can be optimised by building a strong shipping network and partnering with multiple courier companies.

For example: Eshopbox expertly optimises last-mile delivery by splitting inventory across multiple fulfilment centres, optimising delivery routes, providing order tracking details, and notifying you about shipping exceptions.

Eshopbox enables real-time order tracking
Eshopbox enables real-time order tracking

Eshopbox is a full-stack ecommerce and logistics platform that can help you fulfil bulk orders quickly, cost-effectively, and without compromising on the Customer Experience (CX). Eshopbox not only fulfils orders seamlessly but also can help take your ecommerce brand to the next level by expertly taking care of marketplace management, logistics, fulfilment, payment reconciliation and providing powerful data and insights.

Summing up

The supply chain during the festive season can be full of roadblocks making it difficult for ecommerce sellers to bridge the gap between efficient order fulfilment and a memorable customer experience. Fortunately, proper planning can help you ace the festive season and retain customers in the long run. Ecommerce platforms like Eshopbox can help you leverage increased sales during the festive season by overcoming challenges.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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