Preparing for a digital Black Friday
with Bray Solutions
Black Friday is often one of the busiest weekends of the year for us and our clients.
From Friday to the following Monday, thousands of orders are processed, picked, packed and shipped from our warehouses. Last year we processed a staggering 3795 orders over the weekend.
This year could be very different due to the current global situation.
What we’re anticipating
E-commerce was already on the rise. Predictions from 2019 show that 93% of UK internet users were expected to shop online, accounting for the highest market penetration in Europe. Annual growth of e-commerce globally boomed 18% from 2018 to 2019, and sales topped $3.15 trillion in 2019.
According to the Q2 2020 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. retail e-commerce reached $211.5 billion, up 31.8% from the first quarter, and 44.5% year-over-year.
As the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is already one of the busiest shopping times of the year, it seems that this year will bring a further demand for e-commerce due to local restrictions.
As with much going on in the world right now, it’s incredibly hard to predict what is going to happen accurately. Our aim here at Bray is to provide a flexible and scalable service to all our clients, helping them to ensure they can get shipments out to Distribution Centres and directly to their consumers.
Preparing for Black Friday – what are we doing?
In the week up to Black Friday, we carry out extra cyclical stock checks on all customers involved in the promotion. The day before Black Friday, we set up extra packing stations in the Warehouse in preparation, and prepare for any additional staffing shifts. We would look at using extra order pickers from different departments that are not involved in the promotions to bolster the team.
Our teams come together to create cohesion in advance, from our supervisors and managers getting together and working out if we would need to order extra packaging, preparing boxes beforehand for some customers. The transport and logistics team will liaise with our couriers for additional sweeps, extra van and later cut off times. Our customer service team will come in early on Friday to process the orders for the warehouse.
To increase our capabilities, staff hours are increased, i.e., starting earlier and finishing later, which continues until the Black Friday sales have concluded. We create scheduled breaks to ensure we have the team working consistently to maximise our output.
Depending on the volume of orders we could receive, we consider an extra shift on Saturday to take some of the pressure of a Monday.
What can you do?
Do a stock take. Are there certain products you’re short of or perhaps some you need to offer more of? Having correct quantities listed in your CMS/CRM can increase your efficiency massively.
Prepare boxes, labels and as much as you can in advance, whether you use a 3PL service or not, make sure you have enough to keep you going plus 50%.
Invest in sound technology, such as your website. If you’ve got a good system, whether that’s off the shelf such as Shopify, Woo Commerce or a custom-built one, put some money behind it and stress test it. Stress testing can be done by server companies or developers and involves finding a maximum capacity of a website, server or application. Ensuring your site can easily handle any traffic you get is critical. Sites that take more than two seconds to load are highly likely to lose a sale.
Plan your comms. How are you attracting sales in? Are they repeat customers, or are you looking to attract new ones? With the unpredictability of this year, it is best to prepare for a largely online Black Friday weekend.
Communicate with your 3PL provider. If we can help in any way, or if you’re planning a significant campaign, it allows us to plan resources, ensuring your shipments go out as planned and meet expectations of your customer.
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