Christmas in July
It may be the middle of summer, but online retailers should be thinking about the Christmas retail season. In our experience here at Mercedes Distribution Center, we have found that how you prepare in the summer is how your fulfillment operations will handle the surges in sales that take during the winter holidays. Waiting until mid-to-late fall to make adjustments is too late, and assuming, especially as a startup company, that no special preparations for the holidays need to be made can be outright disastrous.
The unfortunate reality is that many retailers identify fulfillment issues when it’s too late. Those protocols and processes that work fine for moderate volume are exposed by the pressures of sudden spikes in sales, revealing fundamental problems that cannot be changed on the fly. The result? Breakdowns in the order fulfillment assembly line cause delayed or wrong orders and returns, which, in turn, lead to unhappy customers and missed business. Many a startup retailer have ultimately failed as a business because of this inability to scale. Sometimes, all it takes is one failed retail season.
If you’re an online retailer, don’t wait until you have a problem to holiday-proof your fulfillment operations, especially if you’re a startup. Audit your processes. In fact, hire an outside consultant, someone with more objectivity and expertise, to make that assessment. In our experience, there is always some issue that the retailer did not foresee.