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Jaidyn Farar

Peak Season Is Almost Over … What Now?

by Jaidyn Farar

As peak season winds to a close, businesses are breathing a sigh of relief. The past few months have been filled with incoming orders, outgoing packages, customer service calls, new digital marketing strategies, technology hiccups (and triumphs), and more. 

And soon, the whole thing will be over! 

What should you do now? 

It might be tempting to sit back and relax. But if you drop the ball now, you’ll miss out on valuable post-peak opportunities. While January might be a slower month in terms of sales, you can make it a valuable time of analysis, planning, and improvement. After all, the 2024 peak season begins in less than a year! 😅

In the spirit of the upcoming New Year’s celebrations, this article will give a countdown of the 10 most important things to do now that peak season is over. Here we go … 

10. Focus on the returns process

It’s a pattern you’re familiar with by now: sales skyrocket during October, November, and December, and you see a flood of returned products after the holiday season. This is a critical point for your business. If you handle returns quickly and efficiently, customers will be more likely to buy from you again.

Check out this article on returns processing for tips on handling reverse logistics. 

9. Analyze your shipping performance

For online shoppers, delivery can make or break their entire experience. Lost, late, damaged, or stolen products are sure to cause stress, especially if those items were gifts. And those mishaps impact where people shop in the future—61% of people say that shipping service impacts where they shop online.

To understand the experience customers had with your peak season delivery, evaluate the performance of your shipping processes during the peak season. Dive into your shipping data to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Once you identify any weak points in your order fulfillment, you’ll be prepared to improve things next time peak season rolls around. 

8. Evaluate customer experience

We’ve already discussed the delivery and returns experience, but you should also take a look at the customer experience as a whole. Did you communicate with customers in a timely manner? Did you address their concerns? Explore ways to enhance the overall customer experience in the post-peak months, including showing gratitude to shoppers so they become loyal customers. 

7. Assess inventory management strategies

Poor inventory management can be devastating during peak. If you didn’t order enough inventory, you may have missed out on sales. And if you overordered goods, you were left with excess stock that you may not get a chance to sell anytime soon. 

Assess your inventory management strategies, especially if you ran into overstock or stockout situations. Are there ways to optimize stock levels, reduce excess inventory, and improve order fulfillment accuracy?

6. Start thinking of ways to improve partnerships

Your peak season success doesn’t only depend on your own efforts. You also rely on external partners to get products to customers on time: carriers, suppliers, and maybe even 3PLs. 

Take some time to reflect on those partnerships. Did any suppliers or vendors underperform? Communicate the issues and work to improve things. Look into other collaboration opportunities that can lead to better services and cost savings.

Listen to this episode of Unboxing Logistics for tips on building relationships with partners.

5. Plan to fill skills gaps on your team

Once you’ve looked at your external partners, it’s time to examine your internal processes. How did your staff handle increased peak season order volumes? Did you have enough people to keep up? If you noticed weak points, plan to invest in training programs for your team during 2024 and consider initiatives to boost employee well-being. A motivated and skilled workforce is crucial for success.

4. Brainstorm ways to incorporate sustainability in 2024

Sustainability is more than a passing trend—it’s quickly becoming the signature move of successful businesses. Consumers valuable ecofriendly practices and want to do their part to help preserve the environment. If you didn’t focus on sustainability as much as you would have liked during 2023, start getting ready for next year. This could involve adopting eco-friendly packaging, energy-efficient transportation, and waste reduction initiatives.

In this Unboxing Logistics episode, the director of sustainability from Sendle shares advice for small businesses to incorporate sustainability into their operations without breaking the bank.

3. Learn from returns

Once your return volume levels off again, dive into the data. What peak season products were returned most frequently? What was the most common reason for returns? How long did it take to process returns and provide refunds or replacements? 

This data can help you see the weak points in your returns process. Even more importantly, it can help you reduce returns. Consider improving product quality issues, implementing solutions to keep items protected during shipping, or updating product descriptions so people have a better idea of what they’ll be getting.

2. See how your technology performed

Odds are, you rely on several different technologies to keep your store up and running: your website, inventory management system, order management system (OMS), warehouse management system (WMS), shipping software, and more. If any of these platforms slowed or went down during peak season, you lost out on revenue. 

Zoom in on your technology to see if any issues occurred during peak. If you find some, take steps to solve the root issue or look into switching to a more reliable solution.

1. Upgrade your shipping software for next peak season

Shipping software is a great bet all year round—it saves you time and money, freeing up time to focus on business-critical issues. But it’s especially helpful during peak season.

With industry-leading 99.99% uptime, EasyPost’s suite of shipping APIs can handle increased order volumes so you don’t miss out on customers. With EasyPost, your business will streamline the following shipping tasks with the following features and more:

  • Integration with an extensive carrier library
  • Discounted carrier rates 
  • Automatic shipping label generation
  • Package tracking
  • Optional shipping insurance

Sign up for free to see how EasyPost can elevate your shipping.