6 Tips for Last-minute Holiday Operations

If you work in a warehouse or distribution center at this time of year, Christmas probably seems light years away due to the around-the-clock fulfillment process. But with only 17 days left before Christmas, Mike Jones, chief operating officer for Integrated Distribution Services, offers six tips to help streamline your last-minute holiday operations.

1. Confirm your delivery windows – last day for U.S. Postal Service/hybrid program and Ground orders to delivery prior to Christmas. Have your last-minute promotions ready for these windows. Will your carrier deliver on Christmas Eve, which is a Saturday this year?

2. Have your post-holiday promotions planned and ready to go – move out that merchandise that didn’t sell.

3. If sales are slowing as the shipping window closes, use time to prep for that end of year physical inventory.

4. Send something to your warehouse team to let them know they are appreciated: pizza lunch, cookies, product samples.

5. Build the relationship with the customer – add something unexpected to the order: free sample, a greeting card, candy cane. Make opening a box from your company a pleasant memory they will want to repeat.

6. With increased orders you’ll inevitably have increased returns. Make sure that your returns policy is clearly stated online and you have communicated that policy with your returns team. This will ensure that problems do not arise when those returns start to come in shortly after the holidays.

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.

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