Chapter 2: Prepare extra fulfillment channels for a continued surge

Discover the best ways to manage last-mile fulfillment over the holidays in an unprecedented time for shipping and delivery.
Retailers are dealing with the realities of fulfillment challenges during the pandemic. What will fulfillment look like during the 2020 holiday season when resources are strained in the current period? Here’s how to prepare your fulfillment channels and manage shopper expectations.
Work with fulfillment partners
From shipping container challenges to extra surcharges due to COVID-19 eating into margins, retailers are grappling with how to manage fulfillment this holiday season. And because of the massive increase in ecommerce, fulfillment channels through FedEx, UPS, and USPS are running out of capacity. Expect major players to make forward buys for the holiday season with last-mile carriers such as Uber and Lyft. Lean into tactics like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) and curbside pick-up, and retrain associates to be holiday delivery heroes.
Turn your store into a fulfillment center
In Q1 2020, retailers that offered BOPIS grew revenue by 27%. In addition to interest in store pick-up options due to the health crisis, retailers will face holiday shipping cutoffs. This means the store will play an even more important role in fulfillment this year.
BOPIS grew revenue by 27%

If you’re thinking about setting up a pickup program, the Quick Start for Curbside and Store Pickup provides convenient and safe online ordering, inventory visibility, and simple tools to maximize associate productivity during the fulfillment process.

In order to improve ROI, create a clear communication plan so shoppers know where and how to retrieve their orders. Provide details on your program before checkout. When orders are ready, send a notification through channels such as email, SMS, or push notifications. Include detailed instructions on identification needed, store details, and directions. Be sure to offer customer support should a shopper have a question.

Manage supply and demand

Many retailers are moving from scrappy to scale in preparation for this holiday season. For example, fulfill orders with modern order management. It connects back-end systems with pre-built apps to integrate ERPs, CRM, and POS systems to access order data. You can visually manage workflows and get a real-time view of your inventory. Orders are processed quickly with automated fulfillment, payment capture, and invoice creation.

When it’s time for shoppers to retrieve their orders, communicate instructions clearly on their preferred channels — customers, on average, use eight different channels to communicate with companies. Send an alert through email, SMS, or push notifications with details on where and how to pick up their items. Give clear instructions with the type of identification needed (e.g., license plate number for curbside), store details, directions with a link to maps, and support channels should shoppers have questions.

You can also leverage localization capabilities to support multiple currencies and languages. Plus, prioritize fulfillment across selling channels (including the store, marketplaces, and social channels), customize business logic, and add apps for payment, store, and more.

Learn about the power of Salesforce order management. 
Over-communicate with shoppers
The best way to show shoppers you care this season? Over-communicate. Inventory visibility is critical to ensure accurate product availability and order status. Make sure to staff-up on extra drivers for last-mile fulfillment. The best holiday gift this year is the one that arrives on time.

More Resources

Write a COVID-19 V2MOM
Create an actionable corporate strategy for reopening your office locations.
How to Source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Discover a general framework for sourcing PPE for your organization’s needs.
Create a COVID-19 Employee FAQ
Make a one-stop-shop on your COVID response and office reopening procedures.

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