CHAPTER 5: Provide creative and agile fulfillment options.

Prepare your fulfillment channels so customers get (and give) their gifts on time.

What will fulfilment look like during the 2021 festive season? From engaging alternative delivery providers to starting the shopping season early to avoid shipment cut-offs, here’s how to prepare your fulfilment channels and manage shopper expectations.

Collaborate with traditional fulfillment partners.

The sudden and massive shift to digital commerce in 2020 is here to stay, and 2021 will have a higher baseline for online demand. To avoid the fulfilment and capacity issues that plagued 2020, start your festive season earlier. Incentivise early buying with special promotions and work with third-party logistics partners to plan ahead for shipping cutoffs.

Lean into tactics like click and collect, and retrain associates to be delivery heroes.

Strategise fulfillment tactics.

In 2021, the store will play an even more important role in fulfilment. If you haven't set up a pickup programme, Quick Start for Click and Collect offers convenient and safe online ordering, inventory visibility, and simple tools to maximise associate productivity during the fulfilment process.

Create a clear communication plan so shoppers know where and how to retrieve their orders. Provide details on your programme 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 to scale in preparation for this festive season. Consider adding subscription purchasing models, which increase sales and make fulfilment more predictable. Fulfil orders with modern order management capabilities, which connect back-end systems with prebuilt apps to integrate ERPs, CRM and point-of-sale (POS) systems to access order data. You can visually manage workflows and maximise the supply chain with inventory APIs that give a real-time view of your inventory. Orders are processed quickly with automated fulfilment, payment capture and invoice creation.
Learn how a retail CRM can help you delight shoppers with personalised omni-channel experiences.

Give clear direction when customer pickup is an option.

When it’s time for shoppers to retrieve their orders, communicate instructions clearly on their preferred channels. Give clear instructions with any type of identification needed, store details, directions with a link to maps, and support channels should shoppers have questions.

You can also leverage localisation capabilities to support multiple currencies and languages. Plus, prioritise fulfilment across selling channels (including the store, marketplaces and social channels), customise business logic, and add apps for payment, store and more.

Err on the side of over-communication, especially when it comes to out-of-stock products. Inventory visibility is critical to ensure accurate product availability and order status. When it comes to delivery, staff-up on extra drivers for last-mile fulfilment. The best gift this year is the one that arrives on time.

Your next steps for festive 2021 retail planning.

Retailers need to be prepared for a festive shopping season like we’ve never seen before. Navigate this year’s peak retail shopping season with the tips and tactics that help you deliver excellent customer experiences – both in-person and digital.

Pay close attention to what shoppers want, monitor the performance of your digital channels, and meet customer needs no matter where, how or when they shop.

It’s been a transformative year, and the 2021 holiday season promises to be challenging, exciting and full of opportunity. To see how some businesses are making the most out of this moment and evolving to face the future, read their stories here.


Prepare for the future of retail.

Plan ahead to prepare fulfillment channels and manage shopper expectations.
See how to:
  • Deliver personalised and consistent omni-channel experiences.
  • Grow your digital sales and service presence.
  • Enable safe, contactless shopping experiences.

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