Peak season is the busiest time of year for retailers and e-commerce businesses. With almost $936.3 billion in sales occurring in November and December alone, it’s no wonder businesses want to perform well and keep their customers happy.
With peak season coming to an end, it’s time to assess peak season performance and set actionable goals for the 2023 peak season. In this article, we’ll discuss the top six strategies for evaluating your business's peak season performance and setting those goals for 2023.
Regardless of a business's scope, size, or industry, there are six KPIs that are nearly universal for retail and e-commerce businesses. To know your peak season performance, you must know your:
- Order fill rate
- Inventory stocking success
- Return rates
- Customer satisfaction levels
- Shipping performance
- Labor needs
Order fill rate
For this KPI, a simple analysis of how many orders were placed and how many were successfully fulfilled should be done. This is a great place to start in gauging the success of peak season at a high level. If the fill rate is not as high as in previous years or as forecasted, drill into the data within the following KPIs to understand exactly why.
Inventory stocking success
One of the primary factors that can impact peak season performance is the availability of products. It is essential to ensure that there is enough inventory to meet the increased demand during peak season. Running out of stock can lead to lost sales and disappointed customers, which has a negative impact on the business. Therefore, it is essential to forecast the demand accurately and keep sufficient stock to meet the expected demand.
Another insight that is helpful is understanding how many returns occur and the reasons customers are unsatisfied. Understanding this will allow you to identify low quality or defective products, shipping mishaps, and any other reason a customer may return an item. Improving in these areas can help promote customer retention and build longer-term relationships. It should also allow you to save money by avoiding excessive returns in the future or building the cost of returns into the price of your products.
In addition to understanding customer satisfaction based on return rate, take a deep dive into the reviews and feedback, to understand what recurring customers value. This insight will help your business build a model to keep customers returning for outstanding product quality and customer experience.
Shipping carriers are extremely busy during peak season. Almost every business and many individuals ship much more during the peak season. As a result, carriers shift their strategies, and many add on a fee for several months during the peak. When analyzing your own business's peak season performance, your shipping carrier's performance should be considered, too, including on-time delivery percentage, the rate of lost or damaged packages, and more.
There are several questions to consider when understanding how your employees contributed to your peak season performance.
The first question to consider is did you have enough people? Were seasonal hires made on a timeline that worked for your business and was their training program successful? Did the full-time staff’s experience live up to their expectations and allow them to fulfill your needs? Deeply reassessing how your warehouse workflow is functioning after it’s had the biggest stress test of the year is a great opportunity to understand where bottlenecks and disfunction are happening.
Regardless of if this was your best or worst peak season performance, now is the best time to create plans for 2023. Completing these six analyses and finding the supporting data is the first step in making an informed plan for this year.
At iDrive Logistics, we specialize in helping businesses understand their data and their next steps to improve their bottom line, from shipping to operational performance. If you would like to learn more about how we can help, contact us here.