Hopefully by now you’re aware of 2014's short holiday season, which includes a mere 26 shopping days from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. Even though the calendar is not on your side, you can still make this holiday season one of your most successful to date – but you must pay close attention to your order fulfillment and shipping operations. To help you get the most out of that small window of time, we’ve been passing on our best tips and information for holiday shipping and fulfillment. This week we’ve prepared four critical time management tips and a handy calendar to keep you moving in the right direction.Tip #1: Make a Plan and Calendar Your Most Important Milestones
The holidays will be your busiest time of the year, when you can expect nearly every aspect of your operation to be strained to the limit. Holiday schedules, inclement weather delays, last minute orders and shipping deadlines can pile up unexpectedly and give you a massive holiday headache. When this happens, you may find that you are unprepared to fill the demand for your products and miss out on sales opportunities due to inventory or shipping problems. It doesn't have to be this way, however. When it comes to e-Commerce holiday fulfillment, preparation is key.
You can get started now by downloading and printing out our 2014 Holiday Shipping Deadlines Calendar. It will help you visualize the most important dates and how much time you have to prepare. You can even use the calendar to write down and track your most important internal mileposts, like inventory management and promotional offers. A solid plan of attack can give you the edge you need to get the leg-up on the competition this season. It can also help you identify your weaknesses in time for you to find the right help.
Tip #2: When it Comes to How You Spend Your Time: Remember the 80/20 Rule
While the holidays are often a time when you find yourself rolling up your sleeves and pitching in wherever help is needed – is that really the best use of your time? The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of our results are derived from 20 percent of our efforts. If a high level manager is spending time picking, packing and shipping orders, he is not only wasting his talents on simple tasks – he is also neglecting the high yield activities that can have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Rather than getting stuck in this trap, you should use your time now to outsource this work. This will allow you to focus your time and attention on the activities that matter.Tip #3: Create More Time by Extending the Holiday Shopping SeasonGive your eCommerce holiday a big boost by cheating the clock. Expand the shopping season by starting earlier. Give your customers helpful options designed to incentivize early ordering. You can start as early as October and continue running targeted promotions in early November to get a big jump on fulfillment. Offers of low cost or free shipping for these early bird shoppers can increase sales and help you to rack up plenty of early orders well, long before the last-minute shoppers submit their panic-orders.You can also place a countdown timer on your website to drive sales and motivate your customers during the shorter shopping window. There are several pre-programmed calendar widgets available online through websites like Satisfaction.com, Days Until Christmas and Widdly Tinks.Rakuten Super Logistics 2-day delivery model, dedicated client support and 100% speed and accuracy guarantee give you the highest quality fulfillment in the industry at the lowest possible cost. All orders are guaranteed to ship out within 1 business day, and to ship with the right product and quantities. When you partner with Rakuten Super Logistics you will find that your reputation grows and your holiday customers keep coming back throughout the year.Tip #4: Stay Balanced and Focused to Avoid Crashing and Burning Out While some overtime may be inevitable, it is important that you create a balanced routine that includes time for you to recharge your battery. Try to establish daily, weekly and monthly routines that are part of a schedule designed to help you further your goals. An efficient schedule and daily routine can help lay the foundation to new habits for effective time management. To remain truly balanced professionally, you must also make time to meet your personal needs as well – don’t forget to save time for your own celebrations this holiday.Time waits for no man, and the best way to attract and keep customer loyalty is to guarantee speedy and accurate delivery with the confidence that you will be able to stand up behind it. The operation of your eCommerce holiday fulfillment will go much more smoothly and make it easier to meet your customer’s needs if you keep one eye on the calendar.The holidays are creeping ever closer, and when the shopping frenzy starts up you want to be ready to seize the opportunity and make the most sales. This year could be the year that you take your online store to the next level with the superior scalability, reach, and experience of Rakuten Super Logistics. Click here to get a free quote with no obligation. It only takes a few moments to fill out the form and it could save you thousands of dollars this holiday season.