How to prepare for the 2022 peak season

2022-09-23

Written by David Renwick

Are you ready for the busiest and most exciting sales season of the year? While 2021 was certainly an up and down year for retailers, Australians still spent a record $62.3 billion online – including record-breaking Black Friday sales.

In this article, we’re going to explain exactly how to prepare your online store for the busiest time of the year, all while saving time and money on every order – and stress!

Mark the key dates on your calendar

Start by putting these important dates in your calendar. There are two global sales over four days, starting with Black Friday (25 Nov) and ending on Cyber Monday (28 Nov). Sales numbers hit record highs every year, with UK shoppers coming out in force.

While less major, you may also want to put these dates into your calendar, or at least your social schedule!

  • Movember (Men’s Health Awareness Month) – 1 November
  • Green Monday – 12 December
  • Super Saturday/Panic Saturday (Last Saturday before Christmas) – 17 December
  • National Free Shipping Day – 18 December

Know how to prepare for economic uncertainty

The last couple of years have been anything but stable for eCommerce – and the uncertainty looks set to continue, at least through the start of 2023. It’s important that you understand where you should focus on, and where you can make the biggest time and cost savings.

Here are the two focus areas we recommend starting with ahead of peak season 2022:

  • Focus on building strong relationships with your existing customers, and carefully nurturing the ones you acquire during this period. It’s much cheaper to retain an existing customer than go after a new one.
  • Economic uncertainty can provide the perfect motivation to optimise inefficient processes and streamline. There is no better place to start than shipping and fulfilment – a costly and time-consuming area for most businesses. Implementing new processes and technologies (like automated shipping solutions) can produce cost savings of up to 50%.

Increase conversion with delivery choice at checkout

These days, people are busier than ever. You only need to look at companies like Amazon and services such as Uber Eats to see how peoples’ expectations around delivery times have changed.

As a result, they want choice around when they can expect a delivery. For retailers, this means you need to offer a choice of courier and delivery options right from within your checkout.

Surprisingly, cost isn’t a huge factor when customers are choosing delivery options. A study from PwC noted that 41% of customers are willing to pay for same-day delivery, and 24% will pay even more to receive a package during a one- or two-hour window.

As for free shipping? 80% of customers expect free shipping when orders go over a certain dollar amount. While you may not be able to do this all the time, consider implementing free shipping at certain times (like peak season).

Use smart shipping automation to keep orders moving out the door

During busy sales periods, your priority is getting orders out the door and into the hands of their new owners.

With fulfilment automation software, your team can save up to 80% of their time by automating fulfilment tasks such as generating labels, selecting couriers, validating addresses, custom forms and sending tracking notifications. Removing manual tasks eliminates human errors, which keeps your orders moving. As your order volumes increase, automation will be the reason you’re able to continue to dispatch orders.

What’s more, shipping automation helps you deliver items quickly and without any hiccups. It's important to get this right because the shipping experience has a direct impact on a customer's decision to return to your store.

Fulfilment automation software can also serve as the one link between your eCommerce platform and couriers, saving you jumping between courier websites as you try to track down orders. Instead, you can have one dashboard that automatically pulls through orders and writebacks the necessary information.

Build loyalty with delivery notifications and branded tracking

The post-purchase experience is what determines if your customer will come back and shop with you again. It also costs five times more to win a new customer than it costs to retain an existing one.

So, it makes sense to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience after they’ve clicked “Buy Now”. 76% of customers want to be updated along the post-purchase journey. By automating delivery updates, you can send customisable tracking notifications via SMS and email throughout the delivery process.

You can also customise your own branded tracking page to encourage leaving reviews, loyalty program points, visiting social channels and more.

You may even want to offer additional high-value content. For example, you could include tips on how to wear/use their purchase. These updates win loyalty and reduce “where is my order?” queries to free up your customer service team.

Automate your returns process and save time

Customers want reassurance that they can easily return an item, in fact, 92% of consumers say they will purchase again from a store after a good returns experience.

But you also need to ensure that returns don’t become a time sink for your staff. That’s where branded returns portals come into play. Using fulfilment automtion software, customise a self-service returns portal with your branding, empowering customers to generate their own returns labels.

Making peak season a breeze: Lorna Jane’s Black Friday

Want to see how shipping automation helped a real eCommerce business? Activewear retailer Lorna Jane implemented Starshipit just in time for Black Friday 2021 when, for the first time in the company’s history, the busiest day of the year was calm and ordered.

Starshipit’s shipping solution simplified the process of getting orders out the door, which made for a largely stress-free day.

“Black Friday was a breeze this year. It was an absolute pleasure. The fruits of all the work that we did really paid off in our busiest time. We pretty much cruised through – but pumped out significant amounts more.” — Danny Hancock, Global Operations Manager, Lorna Jane.

Read the full case study: How to scale a successful eCommerce business with Lorna Jane | Starshipit

Read the full case study

Starshipit: Automate your shipping and deliver great experiences across peak season

Peak season can be the most stressful time of the year – but it doesn’t have to be. When you’re using smart shipping software, backed up by a friendly and knowledgeable team of shipping experts, you can get up and running with ease.

This peak season, save time and money on every order with Starshipit – the best practice ecommerce shipping and fulfilment system.

Access industry-leading automations, integrations and workflows to create world-class shipping, no matter the size of your business. Give your customers a choice at checkout, simplify your returns process and create a branded delivery experience that’s sure to bring customers back.

David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Content Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies.

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