Arming Your Supply Chain For Holiday Success

As any retail business owner or logistics manager knows, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are monstrous days for product sales in the United States. The ease of ordering products online has caused businesses to have to prepare for an onslaught of orders. In 2017, 174 million Americans shopped in brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce websites from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, which topped initial estimates by 6%.

holiday supply chain

Though consumers might not think too deeply about where all the products come from and how they got there, logistics experts are working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly, and all the pieces to the supply chain puzzle fall into place.

Like any hardworking supply chain manager, this holiday season you’re going to cross every t and dot every i, hoping to make Thanksgiving weekend seem as easy as every other day in the year; stores are stocked and shipments arrive on time, meaning both consumers and businesses leave feeling satisfied.

Yet being prepared for the holiday weekend can be different for online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. With the right planning, both can have their supply chain equipped to handle the legions of shoppers that will be searching for the best deals and trying to get their hands on the hot products of the season.

If you’re worrying about all of the details you need to take into account leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then we can help. If you have exceeded your warehouse capacity, partnering with a 3PL will relieve the burden of managing your own warehouse operations and ensure you have a plan to keep the supply chain moving.

Supply Chain Planning for Brick-And-Mortar Retailers

When the crowds pour in on Friday morning, your store has to be completely ready, if you don’t want to lose a lot of potential revenue. Taking stock of your inventory is the first step in the process. With a complete list of products you will be able to plan shipping schedules to fit your needs. If there’s a hot product that’s going to be selling faster than other products, you can work with your retail logistics partner to have specific items in stock when you need it to be.

Supply Chain Planning for Online Retailers

For online retailers the preparation process is a little different. Many ecommerce businesses stretch out their sales across the whole weekend, meaning consumers will be ordering items from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. If you need your e-commerce supply chain to be prepared to fulfill orders during that time, you need to take a few steps in advance to make sure everything is in its right place.

One effective way to handle the influx of orders is forecasting. Gathering data on the most in-demand products of the holiday season will give you the power to be proactive about ordering products, as opposed to reactive when a huge amount of orders come in. As a retailer, you can analyze your data to predict the locations and quantities of sales over the holiday period. Then you can work with your logistic partner to figure out the best time to ship and store your inventory. With the right products in stock and ready to ship, you’re arming your supply chain to operate quickly and efficiently when it’s go time. Ask your 3PL if they offer overflow warehousing for the holiday season.

Preparing for the holiday weekend also means communicating the plan to every part of the supply chain. That way everyone, from warehouse employees to retail managers, know what to expect.

We’d love to help you have a successful and profitable holiday season. Please contact us to discuss your holiday supply chain planning.