Managing sales channels and organizing your inventory is one of the most critical and technically challenging tasks in an eCommerce or brick-and-mortar store.

Adding on the complexities and scale of the holiday season to that system is an entirely different beast altogether and should be thought of as such.

Thinking about ways that you’ll be able to take on this season’s orders and effectively providing your customers with the service they’ve come to expect can make a massive difference in the number of repeat customers for years to come.

One thing that should be at the top of your mind when thinking about holiday pricing is all of the surcharges that shipping and delivery companies additionally charge during the peak season.

Pricing your products to match these changes during these times, depending on your volume, can save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Starting early and thinking about all of the different ways that your store could possibly be stretched thin with an increase in sales is a great way to think about these issues.

We repeat START EARLY. Getting ahead of the game is a great way to set yourself ahead of your competitors, those that thought they could get away with making changes “when the time comes”.

Imagine having to ship 6,000 products in one day due to the holiday surge. If unprepared, not only will you be missing out on a ton of orders that you desperately need to fill, but customers that aren’t able to get their products on time will likely not return due to an expectation that isn’t being filled.

It may not be the case that you’re having to fill this many orders in a single day but one thing is for sure, sales volume increases during the holidays.

We’ve come up with a four-step process that helps companies get a better understanding of whether or not they’re ready to take on a large increase in sales.


Step 1 Are you integrated?

What this means is that there are a large number of different moving pieces in your own personal supply chain that can slow you down. Having a bottleneck in any one of the aspects of your supply management can mean costly time that in the end affects your bottom line.

Take these key points and run them through your head, or better yet with a pen and paper and ask yourself if any one of them requires manual management that would be much better off using an automated system…

  1. Order processing
  2. Optimal rate calculation and carrier selection
  3. Warehouse operations: pick tickets, packing control
  4. Shipping label/packing slip generation
  5. Linking the tracking number back to the order – Each one of these operations is a potential workflow disruptor, unless integrated within a single, seamless system.


Step 2 Are your shipping rates under control?

If you are calculating shipping rates in a separate or more than one system, you will very likely run into one of two outcomes, or both, delay and error.

Having to work in multiple locations for calculations that have extremely tied-together data is a big no-no. This can lead to complications that are all too easy to make. Even the best of the best is going to make mistakes and working in the wrong environment is going to bring them out much more often.

Are you using an order management system that takes care of these tasks for you as an all-in-one system? Can it calculate shipping rates immediately, then automatically update your orders—and potentially your call center customers—in real-time, with no risk of error?

Does your system automatically choose the best and cheapest method or carrier for specific packages based on location, size, and more?

If the answer is no then you need to consider a system that does. Freestyle’s M.O.M. Shipping Service feature makes these decisions very easy.


Step 3 Are You Picking and Packing Productively?

Do you have a “packer workstation” designed to reduce mispicks?

A packer workstation like the feature found in Freestyle’s M.O.M. system generates pick ticket paperwork automatically and creates a visual list of picked items right in front of you that allows the packer to assign products to packages by simply sliding icons from left to right.

Orders don’t move on to the shipping stage until all items are accounted for.

Does your system have the flexibility to execute a hybrid of batch and individual picking and packing?

With Freestyle’s Advance Order Processing Module (AOPM) you’ll be allowed to process high volumes of orders with fewer resources. AOPM removes bottlenecks in batch process and printing enabling multiple users and printers to run simultaneously.

Can your system create bar-coded pick tickets so that packers can use a scanner to bring up the right order onscreen, as well as assuring the shipment is correct and accurate? Allowing them to create a packing slip/invoice and a printed label so that they can close the box and put it on the dock in an efficient manner.


4 Do Your Outbound Shipments Automatically Tie Back to Orders?

This step especially ties back to the idea of not using multiple systems or unrated pieces of software in order to complete a task, causing further delays and errors.

Ask yourself, does your existing system automatically send a shipping notification to the customer with the proper tracking number for customer DIY tracking? This method vastly reduces the number of inbound calls checking on order status.

Freeing up time by implementing a feature like this, you’ll be free to allocate more resources to something much more productive.

All customers care about is ‘where is my package?’ With integrated shipping, everyone is in the know at all times on both ends of the spectrum.

When a shipping label is requested from your system, does it automatically notify the carrier about the order, so that no shipping manifests are necessary?

The driver simply scans the packages at pick up and goes. The merchant only gets charged for what actually ships.


The Takeaway:

With supply chain issues being so rampant and complex it’s no wonder why there always seem to be so many hiccups.

By further fragmenting and having different pieces of software or manual processes involved in your overall system you’re missing out on the potential opportunities for increasing sales by a massive amount.

When there is a spike in sales your system becomes stressed and changes will have to be made to make up for the increased demand. If you’re not ready for those changes your business can suffer greatly.

Now that you’re fully aware of the gains that can be had by switching to an advanced order management system, what are you waiting for? What’s slowing you down?

Reach out to Freestyle’s team of experts to get your hands on a free demo today.