Surviving Black Friday: Packaging and Logistics Advice for Retailers

Brace yourselves, Black Friday is coming! A day like no other in terms of sales, cash boosts for retailers, but also a day of logistic mayhem and packaging breakneck races. Every logistics manager has already passed the trial by fire in the past few years, but the uncertainty is still there: will our company fare well this Black Friday? Will we be able to fulfill all orders, deliver them on time and deal with the unavoidable surge of returned products?

Balancing Between Success and Failure

There are just two periods in the year when retailers and transport companies are tested to the breaking point: Black Friday and Christmas. Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween are a breeze by comparison. But on these two specific celebrations, logistics and packaging processes are put to the most difficult tests ever. Because even though online store servers may break down, warehouse operations and order picking processes are not allowed to do so.

Any small mistake may prove disastrous for the financial projections made by the sales and marketing departments. A shortage of pallets and other packaging materials, a small misunderstanding between the logistics department and the shipping company can wreak havoc in your supply chain processes and cause your company to be unable to deal with the customers’ orders.

But this is why the specialists from Logistic Packaging are here – to offer you helpful advice and actionable tips which will make this Black Friday the most profitable one so far.

1. Check and Restock on Packaging Materials

Is your stock of plastic pallets, order picking boxes and foldable small containers able to handle all the extra volume of orders you will receive? A thorough inspection of your packaging materials is mandatory in order to assess the number of damaged items which need replacement. At the same time, computer simulations of logistics operation using specialized warehousing software will show you the maximum volume of shipments your stock of packaging materials, logistics equipment and available workforce can deal with.

2. Hire Interim Employees

Backup is the keyword for Black Friday in retail: you need backups for all the key job roles, as well as extra manpower in the order picking and packaging department. Many companies hire interim employees from specialized temporary work agencies.

Interim employees are specially trained to adapt quickly to a new work environment and to new rules. They will work alongside your own warehouse employees efficiently, and thus your business will be able to deliver all its extra packages on time to customers.

3. Stay Permanently In Touch With Your Partners

A successful Black Friday sale is the result of orchestrated work between your company, your packaging and logistics supplier and your preferred transport company. It is crucial to share your plans and sales forecasts with your 3PL partners in order to make sure that they are able to assist you adequately. Every supplier has other clients besides you and they need to know ahead of time the extent to which they have to resize their own packaging and logistics operations in order to fulfill everyone’s demands.

4. Don’t Promise Delivery Terms You Can’t Keep

Next day delivery is a norm for most online retailers, but Black Friday is anything but a normal business day. It will be impossible to deal with all the extra packaging and logistics processes and coordinate your warehouse operations with the transport company in the necessary manner to deliver all the orders on time.

Besides, Black Friday is mostly about the special discounts than super fast delivery. Add extra incentives, such as a greater discount, two for one offers or free gift packaging in exchange for regular delivery time. Your customers will certainly appreciate these special freebies more than next day delivery.

 5. Make Product Returns Stress Free For Your Customers

The rush to pack and ship orders may result in order errors, or damaged products. No matter how hard you try to eliminate these mishaps, they keep happening. And a part of your Black Friday customers will contact you to return the products they ordered.

It is important for your company reputation, especially in view of the upcoming Christmas sales, to keep your customers happy and make it easy for them to return the products and get their money back. To achieve this, you need to have a clear protocol in place with the shipping company you work with and to keep your warehouse employees alert to the surge of activity which will follow after Black Friday.

The team of packaging and logistics experts at Logistic Packaging is here to support your company with professional products and personalized advice on Black Friday and all year long.