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Q4 2022: the sales and fulfillment checklist for your eCommerce

Q4 2022 is here and this means that new rules are governing the eCom game. From customer behaviour to logistics and delivery, through marketing of course. Use this checklist to verify and improve your current framework and slay Q4!
Q4 2022 checklist

Q4 2022 is here, it’s time to own the quarter, no looking back!

Actually, instead of looking back, you could take a look at this checklist and make sure your business is in a good standing with the following points.

The good news is that there is still time to comply so make the most out of this resource and may conversions be with you!

1. Analyze you last Q4 results

There is no room for improvising in Q4 and analysing your past performances is the only way to go. Learn what you customers like and what they appreciate less. What important information do you need?

You need an unambiguous answer to the following questions:

  • Which was the best performing campaign?
  • Which were the offers that drove most revenue?
  • Which products become Q4 best sellers?
  • Which were the days when I obtained most sales?

Having a clear vision on sales dynamics will allow you to understand which were the positive elements to double down on (and to innovate) and will allow you to understand better your customer’s behaviour. 

Also, to replicate or ameliorate you sales volumes, you need to analyse delivery performances in order to enhance your proactivity. Deliveries must be smooth and on time and in case something goes wrong, the customer must be helped. It sounds pretty obvious, but achieving this can be challenging, especially in Q4.

  • Was your shipping policy effective?
  • Did you register peeks of criticalities?
  • Were these criticalities due to errors that occured on the logistics side or on last mile delivery?
  • Was your customer service enough?

2. Diversify sales channels

Make sure your brand is present on multiple channels. Especially during holiday shopping season, you don’t want to limit your brand’s visibility and customer base. Besides covering multiple social media platforms and influencer marketing, split your adspend between other channels like search engine, native advertising, advertisement on websites and blogs, even podcast marketing, but most of all, email marketing. During Q4 email marketing is known for being highly effective so include an email campaign to your strategy.

You need to intercept your customer along their journey, whatever that is and wherever it leads them. Nowadays many platforms have now internal checkouts and you want to be present on as many as possible. 

3. Check all your integrations

Selling on multiple sales channels caries along with its advantages the danger of adding complexity to order management logistics and this is clearly something that an online business cannot afford, especially during a moment of the year like the last quarter.

To unify is the key: unity, in terms of management, means that all orders from all sales channels must be collected at one single point from where they can be fulfilled, monitored, edited and so on. Borderl3ss platform enables its users to manage all orders from the same platform. This allows order fulfillment on the merchant side to become a quicker process with a reduced chance of committing mistakes and provides a huge boost to the business in terms of agility, global visibility as well as more data to leverage. 

4. Offer multiple delivery options

If a brand is able to offer multiple delivery options, the customers will feel more encouraged to buy, this is a fact.

Every customer has expectations and purchase habits therefore diversifying raises the chances for the customer to find the best solution to complete a purchase. It’s not just a matter of how they want their packages delivered, but also about how they buy online in general. There are tons of delivery options, but what really makes the difference in terms of conversions, is offering prepaid and cash on delivery.

This is how you will be able to provide a solution that can resonate with 100% of your viewers that will either decide to transact at checkout or at the moment of delivery.

If you want to decrease your abandoned cart rate, increase conversions and enhance your brand’s reputation, offering these two payment methods is the perfect way to start.

5. Plan your customer service

The customer service spike that characterises Q4 can be only defined as epic. Failing in providing a good customer service during Q4 will literally kill all your efforts. A superficially organized customer service will not only blow up all the efforts that brought you up to that point, but will seriously damage your brands’ reputation and performances for the months to come.  You need a specific plan to handle your customers in a quick, efficient and smart way.

Be strategic: analyse the scenario and make a list of the typical criticalities Q4 related and the main reasons why customers get in touch with customer service. 

Be Proactive: Proactivity is the way out of customer service troubles in Q4. Prepare a list of answers to the most common questions, review and edit your FAQ page specifically for this trimester’s matters, make sure your website has a part on the homepage dedicated to communications that might prevent an overload of assistance requests and think about adding a chat window, this makes customers feel more valued. Also, create a post purchase email funnel to make the customer feel followed-up with after the transaction will take place.

Be Reactive:  Put customer service resources in the condition to focus only on specific matters that don’t belong to the most common scenarios. Good customer support causes customers to return and to tell others about your brand. Enhance two metrics (CLTV and NPS) with one good performance.

6. Make sure your logistic operations are scalable

Scalability is crucial within a logistics system, but during Q4 this becomes is the essence of a business. Just think about preparing for Q4, this requires higher amounts of products being stocked and a larger volume of orders to be processed, for multiple clients. A scalable system mustn’t make your business suffer lack of efficiency due to higher volumes of orders. Your 3PL must be on top of the game when it comes to warehouse space, inventory, HR, pick and pack processes and so on. For this reason, it is important to be aware of how your logistics partner prepares for Q4.For example, here is how one of Borderl3ss oldest partners, Dad Sides Euro Logistica, will prepare for Q4 2022.

7. Put in place a strategic returns process

Return Logistics are probably the most controversial topic for Q4 2022. Product returns in this period are obviously destined to escalate as the number of sold products increases. Having a good return process is vital as 67% of online customers check a brand’s return policy before purchasing. To stay profitable a brand must do its best to reduce reverse logistics rates. However, there are many conflicting interests on the table and it’s important to know the context as well as keeping all factors into consideration in order to make a pondered decision on which strategy to apply.

  1. Customers like free returns and smooth returning process. The return process is so important that 63% of customers are likely to order more items if retailers offer free returns. Also 92% will buy from a brand again if the return process is easy. 
  2. Logistic centers tend to prioritize regular deliveries during Q4. Given the high volumes of purchases, logistics centers protocols generally tend to ship out regular orders and allocate less resources to reverse logistics. Those tasks will be managed right after the very intense peaks.
  3. Increased costs of returns. Transportation costs are skyrocketing, just like all costs related to the supply chain. Diesel prices are up 63.6% which makes truck delivery much more expensive. By working to decrease the return rates you will not only save money, but also save a time consuming and frustrating operation that both consumers and brands prefer avoiding.
  4. Reverse logistics for the single customer aren’t environmentally friendly to the point that many multinational companies (lie Zara and H&M recently) are making it more difficult for a customer to return products. Working on communication and making the customer aware of the relation between reverse logistics and environment in order to avoid an abuse of the system can bring in more positive consequences than you expect.

8. Turn Black Friday into a Black Month

Peak season is overall manageable. But when it comes to peak moments within peak season, well, everything becomes dramatically harder and the subsequent risks of poor performances translate automatically in revenue and customer losses. During Q4, encourage your customers to approach your brand away from peak moments to distribute the order load on more days. A good story telling will grant you more visibility, and boost sales. Most of all, last mile delivery will be less congested and assure higher performances. 

Conclusions

Risk mitigation during Q4 requires to rethink your entire strategy because any criticality calls for a different approach. eCommerce in this period is a whole different game: from delivery delays, to inventory management, to customer service, regular strategies may result insufficient if not harmful to your online business. Borderl3ss is the platform optimized for the logistics and order management needs of your DTC Brand or online store. A competitive advantage all year long that turns into an indispensable ally during the last trimester of the year. For Q4 2022 make the right choice for your revenue goals, set a call HERE with our team to learn more.

Robin Calandri

Robin Calandri

DTC Fulfillment Blog

Find all the information you need to optimize your European fulfillment operations. 

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