Year-end may be chock full of holiday cheer in your warehouse, but December is also a great time to pop the cork on planning for the coming year. By reviewing data from your eCommerce platform, you’ll have the insight needed to prepare for the coming year.
Prior year data can help you plan for similar scenarios in the coming year. Keep in mind that unexpected conditions can always change expected outcomes, so there’s no guarantee things will play out exactly the same.
Sales Data Analysis
With that said, you can and should review prior year data to determine whether you need to:
Bring on extra headcount: sales or warehouse staff
Order additional inventory of popular-selling items
Create marketing campaigns for those slow periods you know are coming
Add Temporary Employees During Peak Periods of Activity
Even though December isn’t over yet, take a look at the month in total last year. Did you have enough headcount to handle the demand during seasonal peak periods of the year? Or you had too many employees at the wrong time of year.
Could you have benefitted by adding temporary warehouse staff to increase the number of orders picked, packed and shipped each day? If so, you likely missed out on more sales due to your own constraints. Also, the faster you process orders, the happier your customers are with you.
Determine the average of how many orders each employee gets out the door each day. Then, determine if you’ve got the storage capacity, equipment and budget to bring on more headcount. If so, you'll be able to move more merchandise and increase the number of daily shipments you’re able to achieve.
If the need is persistent due to ongoing demand, it likely makes sense to hire permanent, full-time employees. But if it's only a seasonal demand, it may make sense to hire temporary employees to fill that short-term need. Such analysis will better help you hire smarter during the coming year.
Review Sales of Popular and Slow-Selling Items and Inventory
To determine the changes you need to make, review your top 10 or 20 best- and worst-selling items, and make inventory corrections for the coming year. Which items did you overstock? Reduce your orders the next time around so that you have room for your top performers.
Such a strategy will improve your inventory turns ratio, which also improves profitability if you’re margins are strong. Use strong inventory management techniques and tools such as an automated inventory system and you will see positive returns.
Use Marketing Campaigns to Boost Sales During Slow Periods
When staff are twiddling their thumbs with little to do, prepare marketing campaigns to boost sales during those periods. Send out email campaigns that include a coupon code or discount to current customers that have purchased from you before.
Or use personalization and segmentation techniques to target the right campaigns at the right people. The more personalization and segmentation you use, the better your campaigns will perform.