2018 Holiday Season - Is Your 3PL Warehouse Ready?

If you're a retailer, one of the most challenging and important times of the year is coming up. The holiday season poses some unique challenges for a 3PL warehouse that can prove overwhelming. Here at Eleets 3PL, we're familiar with this song and dance. We know what needs to be done to adequately prepare for the season and take on any issues that might pop up.

As e-commerce sales rise, the expectations of customers have only gotten greater. There's no room for error during a busy holiday season, and we make sure that anyone who comes to us for help with their e-commerce logistics won't disappoint their customers. Here's a look at what we focus on all season long.

Handling Returns

Processing a return is no longer as simple as just having someone bringing an item back to a store and staff putting it on its proper shelf. Now, with so many sales made online, you need to be prepared to process returns that are sent right back to the warehouse. That means you need to have a system in place to adjust inventory, check returns for damage, and find the proper space for the returned merchandise if it's suitable to be resold.

If you're not prepared during a normal shopping season, this can be a hassle. If you're not prepared during the holidays, this can be a major issue. If your warehouse isn't properly processing returns, you might be missing out on sales. Think about this scenario. A customer returns a hot holiday item, but it isn't returned to its proper place. Your warehouse management system says you're out of stock even though you actually have one to sell. Your customer goes elsewhere, meaning you just lost a sale due solely to poor preparation.

Also keep in mind that the returns “season” lasts into January and possibly even February as well. People may not get the chance to return unwanted items right away, so you need to be prepared for higher return volumes even as you part with your seasonal employees.

Staffing Up

Speaking of seasonal employees, staffing up is another way to handle the retail logistics challenges that accompany the holiday season. You need enough employees to keep things running smoothly even as holiday shopping ramps up. Adjusting to changes in demand is key for a 3PL warehouse during the holidays and having extra hands on deck can help.

Meet Delivery Expectations

One of the most important things that a 3PL warehouse can do during the holiday season is meeting the expectations, namely the delivery expectations, of customers. They don't care that things are busier at your warehouse. If they're promised two day delivery, they better get it!

Nothing can anger customers quite like a package that won't be delivered on time. You need a warehouse management system that works under pressure, accurate inventory counts, and the right amount of employees to ensure that items are shipping out on time. If you can handle this, then you might just be ready for 2018's holiday shopping season.

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