The holiday season is quickly approaching, people are creating their shopping lists, and starting their search online this year. The busiest time of year for holiday shipping is just around the corner, whether you’re ready or not. This year, take a strategic approach and forecast your seasonal shipping demand so you can be better prepared and keep up the high volume of sales in the new quarter.
Seasonal Demand Forecasting: What Is It?
Forecasting seasonal shipping demand is the process of analyzing data from your business or industry to determine when your sales will increase or decrease because of the different shopping seasons of the year. Within each industry, customer needs change depending on the time of year. With this in mind, it’s important to plan for which seasons will be busiest for your business.
For example, a company that exclusively sells sweaters understands their sales will be slowest in the Summer season but increase in the Fall and Winter. However, forecasting takes a closer look at this to determine exactly when that increase will occur, what external factors affect this, and anything else important to that company.
How Can Forecasting Holiday Shipping Help Your Business?
In the ecommerce space, it’s more difficult to know your customer base than a brick-and-mortar store because you aren’t directly talking with your customers every day. With forecasting, you can take the overarching data you have to create a plan that will benefit your entire target audience without them giving you the specific dates and data themselves. This way, you can determine when you need to order your product in preparation, when you need to start your holiday marketing campaigns, and when to increase staffing to accommodate.
How to Forecast Seasonal Shipping Demand
Now that you know what it means to forecast shipping demand in the new holiday shopping season, let’s discuss how to do so and what important factors to consider in your forecasting process.
Look Back At Your Historical Data
There is no better benchmark to forecast your shipping and seasonal demand than your own historical data. The unique information you need to understand the personality of your customer base and their holiday shopping habits is in the data you’ve compiled on them in previous years. Through the lens of shipping intelligence, look into when your holiday shipping has taken off in the past, its peak, and when it tapers off. This way, you can schedule your ordering, plan your marketing, and staff accordingly.
Understand Your Supply Chain & Plan Ahead
With each new year, we see new supply chain delays and our post-covid world is a great amplification of what we usually see. Since 2020, virtually every industry has been affected by supply and freight setbacks, especially those sourcing product outside their home country. If you have the expectation that delays are inevitable, you can plan to build your stock sooner, avoiding a dreaded “sold out” sign on your popular products at the busiest holiday shipping time of the year.
Listen to World Trends
If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it’s that everything can change at the drop of a hat and we need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world to successfully adapt your business in response. Depending on trends in your industry and the ecommerce world in general, you can accurately plan for the proper seasonal volume or begin your preparations earlier in the year.
Pay Attention to What Parcel Shipping Companies Are Saying
The leading shipping companies, like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, will often publish articles, answer interview questions, and send out newsletters to detail what they expect each holiday shipping season. At the beginning of each year, they’ll also release their holiday schedules to detail which services will be available or closed throughout each quarter. Both FedEx and UPS have released the dates Christmas packages must be shipped by to be on time so you can notify your customers to incentivize early purchases now.
Tap Into Shipping Intelligence Platforms
Managing your shipping through your own spreadsheets and relying on multiple employees to properly track your holiday shipping is an inefficient, and sometimes costly, process. By utilizing a business and shipping intelligence platform like Reveel, you can be confident that every package is not only accounted for, but the rates you’re paying are monitored to ensure you get the best deals before, during, and after the shopping season.
With your newly forecasted shipping strategy in hand, you can head into the new season with confidence. Do the same for your business all year with shipping and logistics help from Reveel. Our platform will take your unique data and present you with actionable insights and savings recommendations all year long. Schedule your demo today and contact us to learn more.