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Four ways small online retailers can prepare for peak sales seasons

From the right delivery partner to monitoring your inventory, here’s how to prepare for peak sales seasons this year.

Online goods spend reached over 10.5% of total retail spend in 20191 and is expected to continue to grow.

Whether you sell beautifully hand-crafted wooden toys to locals, coffee-based beauty scrubs to 156 countries around the world, or are one of Australia’s fastest-growing online fashion retailers, one thing is clear; if you sell online, you are part of something BIG.

Australians continue to embrace eCommerce at an accelerated rate, with growth largely due to the popularity of sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Preparing for customer demand at the busiest time of the year is extremely important, whether you participate in the major pre-Christmas events or not.

Recently, Ben Franzi, Australia Post’s General Manager, Parcel & Express Services, spoke with Tess Moseley, beauty brand frank body’s Logistics and Supply Chain Manager about the major online sales events that are fuelling the growth in eCommerce in Australia.

With a 500% year on year uplift in sales volumes during the sales period in 2019, Tess knows a thing or three about how to best prepare for sales peaks:

“Inventory is key” Tess says. “There’s no point being on sale if you have nothing to sell. Our Demand Planner plans inventory 6 to 12 months out to make sure we have enough stock in each of our locations.”

“The last thing we want to do is disappoint our customers, so we fully monitor stock during the entire sales period to make sure we have a full range available. We also look ahead to the New Year and make sure we have enough stock well beyond the major sales.”

Tess’ second planning tip is around fulfilment and warehousing. “We’re transparent with our warehouses and give each one a breakdown of expected volumes so they can gear up for the sales period. Being transparent with our forecasts is key, but so is managing inventory during the sales - when other things such as packaging, are fundamental in getting deliveries out the door.”

The third planning tip Tess shared focussed on meeting customer expectations around delivery. “We offer a $25 free shipping threshold, and express shipping for a flat rate of $5.95 across Australia in the lead up to the holiday season, as we do see quite an increase in express shipping towards Christmas”.

As encouraging as it is that buying online is becoming the norm in Australia, when you’re the owner, marketer, seller and service manager of a business, how do you manage sales peaks while maintaining costs and meeting customer expectations?

James Boston, co-owner of Paperlust – a stationary design platform, says their choice of delivery partner needed to align with their premium market position. “We love our StarTrack driver,” James says. “It’s a little thing, but it matters. He’s been with us since we were in a garage around the corner. Even though we’ve moved, he still looks after us”.

“Partnering with trusted shipping services allows us to concentrate on growing the business without worrying about the logistics,” James says – “the customer service team can say it’ll absolutely be there on time and be confident we’ll meet that deadline.”

Australia Post’s 2020 eCommerce update has the latest online shopping trends and insights to help keep you up-to-date with what is likely to be the biggest shopping peak in Australia so far.

Australia Post’s 2020 eCommerce update has the latest online shopping trends and insights to help keep you up-to-date with what is likely to be the biggest shopping peak in Australia so far.

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