Ahh, Black Friday. For many companies, this is the time of year that sees the most business and can make or break your success in hitting annual targets. Earlier this season, we wrote about the benefits manufacturers could anticipate from utilizing on-demand labor to get through a peak creation season. Only a month later, the time for distributors and fulfillment centers to gear up for the busy season has arrived.
Getting in front of the best Black Friday deals used to mean camping out in front of Best Buy after Thanksgiving dinner. In 2022, November 1st kicks off Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for many DTC businesses– whether they’re digitally native e-commerce sites or department stores gone modern. In any case, the labor equation always comes into play when order fluctuation is involved. Read on to learn more about the solutions to arming your team with all the resources necessary to tackle colossal incoming order quantities.
This year you went through it all– road mapping, product launches, sale calendar creation, kitting, customer feedback leading to re-kitting… it’s been a whirlwind. And it’s not ending anytime soon.
If you haven’t released any Black Friday announcements yet, you might be behind the curve. But if you haven’t started anticipating order contents and quantities and setting your logistical stage for the response to your sale offering, you’re definitely late to the game by now. Maybe you haven’t gotten around to it yet because your full-time team has too much to handle day-to-day.
The reality of the situation is that procrastination does not pay. Having your hottest sale items organized in the most efficient way possible will pay off when the entire full-time logistics team is too busy to stop and wonder if there might have been a better way.
Turns out, a better solution does exist that will serve every step in your BFCM journey. If your full-time staff could still be relied on to do the heavy lifting, and you could employ some extra hands for the time being, your operations have infinite potential to run much more smoothly. Enter, on-demand labor. This allows for extra hands on deck when you need them, and funds kept in your budget when you don’t.
Getting extra on-demand workers in your labor pool now ensures that when orders really pick up, you can rely on the same people to already know your shop floor.
The Day(s) Of
The day has come: you’ve sold out of the hottest gifts, put others on backorder, and your warehouse team is rolling up their sleeves to get boxes sent to paying customers. If you’re the calculating type, you might be running numbers to find out how many boxes needs to move through each pair of hands every hour to keep moving ahead.
When the number of orders to process exceeds your current team’s capabilities, you have some options. You could extend shipping dates, possibly sacrificing the happiness of your customers who banked on getting their orders by Christmas Eve or sooner. You can work your team overtime and pay time and a half, but this option still means you run the risk of not catching up on time, and having to extend shipping times anyways. Then there are seasonal hires, which we’ve discussed the pros and cons of previously.
In any case, your original problem stands: too many orders, and not enough people to process them. If you’d used on-demand workers in your ramp-up period, you would be able to rely on your labor pool to ensure orders are being fulfilled on time. But it’s still not too late to find skilled operators. Many independent contractors are seeking an opportunity to make extra income so they can fulfill holiday wishes of their family and friends. It’s still possible to find operators on-demand with an adequate skillset for your needs. Post ops daily to get ahead of order fluctuations, and build a labor pool you can rely on through the duration of the holiday season and anytime after.
The New Year
Just because BFCM is over doesn’t mean the work is. What goes up must come down. In this case, right after the presents are opened and holiday cheer ceases for the year, returns start being processed. It can feel like all the time spent shipping orders out just to have them come right back in was for nothing, but this is rarely the case. Many holiday sales extend into the new year, and many people use this as a chance to get what they really wanted to see under the tree.
Before you know it, you’ll be processing a return just to turn around and put a new outgoing label onto the same box. If this is something your full-time staff can handle, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until an order increase to rely on your on-demand labor pool again. But if your successful year of sales turns into a return processing party, it’s best to rely on the extra help to keep your warehouse functioning at peak efficiency.
Don’t let this scare you– most people don’t return gifts anyways. Happy Black Friday/Cyber Monday!
Take on your busy season with the help of Veryable. Sign up for our platform for free today to see where on-demand labor can take your business.