The holidays are the best time of the year for many businesses. All that Christmas shopping money pours in, and the good times are aplenty for business owners. However, the holiday shopping season can also put a lot of strain on your company. This is especially true when it comes to the shipping department. You have to prepare well in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the holiday shopping rush. Here are some tips to prepare your supply chain for holiday shopping.

3 Tips to Prepare for the Holidays

1. Hire Seasonal Staff

If you are like most businesses that get swamped during the holidays, there is no way your ordinary staff can handle the huge influx of business that holiday shopping provides. You current staff will thank you when you lighten their load by hiring additional staff members for the holiday rush. Hiring additional staff for the holidays is perhaps the most crucial step to ensure that your supply chain can handle the logistics of outbound shipping.

2. Be Flexible with Your Supply Chain

The worst thing you can do when you are slammed by the holiday rush is to stick to one or two supply lines. You have to be willing to embrace multiple shipping channels when the holidays roll around. There are so many different ways that you can get your packages to shoppers today. Make sure that you utilize all of them to satisfy the needs and desires of all of your customers. Make sure you keep your customers happy by giving them the option of low-cost shipping that takes a little longer to get there, but don ‘t neglect giving them rush shipping alternatives that cost more. Shoppers who have multiple shipping options will be much happier and more likely to buy from you.

3. Don ‘t Forget About Reverse Logistics

It is easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping rush and forget about the returns that are the flip side of the equation. One of the facts of doing business during the holidays is that most of your sales will be purchased as gifts. Unfortunately, some of these gifts will need to find their way back to you in the form of returns. In recent years, roughly 10 percent of holiday sales have resulted in returns. You must have a reverse logistics plan in place to handle all of these returns. If customers are happy with the way you handle your returns, they will be more likely to shop with you in the future.
Brace Yourself
The holiday shopping rush is always a whirlwind. If you put these three steps into place, you will be prepared for it well. This time of year can seem overwhelming at times, but just brace yourself and hold on as best you can. The profits you make will be well worth it.

Shopping Trends Survey

Here is an interesting infographic posted by the team at The Logic Group from Christmas 2013.