The Secrets to Handle Black Friday or Thanksgiving Flash Sales
It’s time for the festive season, and with that, the load on businesses to help their customers with same-day or next-day deliveries. Well, if you have worked in an eCommerce or a retail logistics team, you would understand the hustles and chaos you must have gone through on ‘Singles Day’, ‘Black Friday’, ‘Thanksgiving’, or any other festive day.
Flash sale events put enormous pressure, especially on retail and e-commerce businesses. Hence, they must run on a powerful logistics setup with transportation management software. As flash sales run for a limited time (24 – 72 hours), allowing merchants to clear their inventory, attract new customers and increase sales profit, it should be a seamless operation.
By infusing the latest tech, you can be assured to bring your business to speed with the current requirements and customer expectations. The urgency and need for logistics movement visibility are high on either side. LogiNext lets you plan and track every shipment coming in or going out, down to the last minute.
Challenges a Retailer Faces While Handling Flash Sales During Festivities:
Platform Management: When you let customers know about the sale, there would be thousands of people queuing up to purchase their respective products. The servers should be prepared to handle the amount of predicted surge in traffic to avoid website crashes and have your loyal fan base enjoy the best customer experience.
Inventory Management: People have their weaknesses and would love to purchase anything that’s available “on-sale”. Hence, having inventory management in place would be crucial to avoid overselling and keeping your customer loyalty intact. An inventory management software can help businesses reflect “out of stock” when there is no more inventory available. Businesses should also stock up with additional inventory if they know a certain product would be sold like hotcakes.
Driver Shortages and Shipment Delays: Nowadays, as soon as the order is placed, the customer wants them delivered on the same day or within the next day. Having insufficient drivers to handle deliveries would lead to complete chaos and delivery delays. Using transportation management software will help you assure sufficient drivers are allocated to handle deliveries from particular locations. Additionally, intelligent routing and tracking will help avoid shipment delays.
Accommodating Carrier Holiday Calendar: Drivers and delivery associates are humans too, and they too need to spend quality time with their family and friends. Hence, a carrier holiday calendar will help plan ahead and ensure the timely delivery of orders.
Predicting Order Volume: With digitization and automation of logistics and supply chain, there is an ‘n’ number of data points that can help with the prediction of order volume. The use of AI and ML in TMS systems allows businesses to predict the order volume, which helps with inventory management and ensures sufficient carriers are available for handling order surges.
Behind the Scenes of Handling Flash Sales During Festivities
Here’s what happens in the background using transportation management software integrated into your logistics and supply chain setup to make this successful flash sale event on ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Thanksgiving’.
Moving the shipment from the CPG/Manufacturer/Retailer
Once the order is placed (by you), it’s sent to the pertinent warehouse/hub of a CPG (consumer packaged goods), manufacturer, or retailer. Now, a flood of orders is coming in (by people who want to send last-minute packages), leading to an unusually high volume for the logistics manager; let’s call him Tom.
LogiNext leads the world in complete logistics optimization using advanced machine learning algorithms and intricate, as well as a robust, planning engine with its transportation management software.
Our load balancing and capacity optimization indicate that Tom would need more trucks than previously believed. Earlier, this would result in delayed deliveries, but no more. With predictive analytics in place, Tom would know that extra market-sourced trucks or third-party carriers would be required to match the load before the order flow goes beyond bounds.
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Here, the rate and contract management protocol within LogiNext’s system highlights precisely which vendor should be chosen, with details down to the available capacity of each fleet type (whether a reefer or flatbed truck is required). Tom can easily handle the load with carrier integration to further cut down on lead time and logistics costs, managing all contracts from a single planning screen.
This same consolidated planning screen sets perfect allocation (right package/order to the right truck/driver) and subsequent immediate dispatch.
On The Road, But on Track All The Time
There are hundreds of shipments moving out of various hubs across the country. On the road was initially considered out of hand. Open-ended communication like ‘Out for delivery’ left everything to the imagination. The sender would be on tenterhooks, the receiver would be down with anxiety, and all the while, the logistics provider would be guessing and hoping.
However, with LogiNext’s transportation management software clearing up this uncertainty, Tom can track all the logistics movement live as it happens on-ground. Tom can even plan changes or assign ad-hoc pickups (if required) to live trips (en-route shipments). Everything from planning, tracking, allocation, and communication is live on the same screen across territories and time zones. This means that in case of any unforeseen delay, Tom can immediately plan for an alternative to minimize its impact.
The receiver and the sender can also track exactly where the shipment is (as it moves) from their smartphones.
Creating The Perfect On-Time Delivery Experience Each Time
On to the last mile. With good reason, some call this last or final mile the most complex leg of logistics. There are many variables, especially with thousands of addresses to deliver, often with limited drivers/resources. This initially led to failed or missed deliveries being pushed to the next day. But the next day isn’t valentine’s day. Even otherwise, the shipment must reach the exact time it was promised. It’s all part of creating the perfect delivery experience.
As for the trucks at the hub, the high volume due to flash events (including discounted sales) must be managed with the available resources. LogiNext’s industry-leading delivery route planning engine, which is integrated into its TMS is a savior for the sender, receiver, and last mile logistics provider.
Let’s call him Bob; the last mile logistics manager would know precisely when the shipments are coming into his (intermediate) hub. This delivery center must dispatch packages on their ‘final mile’. Bob would use LogiNext’s planning engine to create perfect delivery routes, factoring in live traffic and other city conditions, with accurate ETAs for each package. Bob can plan down to each territory and zip code and assign the package to the correct driver (based on driver skill sets) with in-depth knowledge of a specific locality.
Quick Read: A Retailer’s Guide to Big And Bulky Deliveries
With advanced capacity optimization, the speed and accuracy of planning would mean that all the packages are “out for delivery” immediately. The delivery routes are updated on each driver’s delivery app (TrackNext) with a live map interface to guide them quickly to their planned next destination. This location/address mapping is accurate down to 3X3 meter grids giving 98%+ accuracy in each case. No more calling the receiver for directions.
The driver would reach the destination on time and take in the necessary validations, like proof of delivery, right through the delivery app, which would sync it back to the system immediately. Here, Bob, Tom, and the sender would know immediately when the delivery is made, and the receiver’s feedback would mark the end of the delivery cycle (the feedback part would be only relevant to Bob and Tom).
All’s well that ends well, and that’s why the right transportation management software, especially the last mile, makes Bob, Tom, the sender, and the receiver very happy. Need help with handling orders for festive and daily operations? Feel free to contact an expert and set up a demo.