How The Biggest Retailers Power Black Friday
By on 2nd Dec 2019
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Black Friday? How exactly does an ecommerce giant prepare for the £2.59bn sale of the year?
The logistical nightmare Black Friday creates used to cause chaos for under-prepared retailers, their warehouses simply were not equipped for the sheer exponential rise in orders, and their delivery systems struggled to cope under a mountain of incoming parcels. In America UPS shipped approximately 750 million packages during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2017, and Black Friday lies right at the heart of that.
Once upon a time Black Friday was a single day in the calendar, but many retailers are beginning their sales 2 weeks in advance of the much anticipated day. Not only that but the day is followed by Cyber Monday, a big push specifically for ecommerce.
Add it all up and you’ve got one of the busiest periods of the year for retailers across the board.
So how has technology facilitated a much smoother process for Black Friday participants? Let’s take a look at how your ecommerce retailers are soothing their logistical headaches.
Communication is ultimately always the pain point for most large businesses. When huge volumes of stock are moving through your business, how can small amendments to orders, shipping details and stock quantities not get lost in the fray?
The answer lies with developments in IoT. The Internet of Things means that all your technology is constantly communicating - you don’t have to worry so much about humans stepping in and relaying information. Your stock management system is instantly getting information from barcode scanners about the quantities of items. Your RFID portals are scanning products moving around your warehouse, so you can instantly send order updates to the customer as the item moves from picking to dispatch to delivery.
Your warehouse can even communicate with your website to learn when demand is high, and instantly order products from the manufacturer so there is no delay in fulfillment.
Imagine if your Smart Warehouse could anticipate and solve problems before they happen. If you have an AI system communicating with your warehouse IoT it could make smart decisions for you that prevent major fulfilment disasters. AI can learn which packaging is ideal for an item to avoid breakages, it can recognise faulty products before they are dispatched, and it can even avoid over-ordering stock that won’t sell. With AI, retailers are minimising wastage and maximising profits.
With data from RFID stock trackers and vans fitted with GPRS, retailers are now able to offer extremely accurate delivery tracking through apps for their customers. Amazon’s delivery tracker will even send a push notification when the driver is a few stops away, so customers are more likely to be home and able to plan their day better.
Delivery tracking also helps calm customer frustrations; when ordering online people still expect quick delivery whether it’s black friday or not, and a total lack of information can lead to a hoard of angry Tweets against your company.
Concise, accurate updates are sometimes all it takes to placate customers, even if their order is delayed.
With so many orders to track, it’s likely something is going to go wrong, even if your warehouse is near flawless. Customer service is the key to managing things when all else fails on Black Friday.
No customer service advisor has the ability to get up from their desk and scour the warehouse for a missing item, but IoT systems can help give an idea of what went wrong along the supply chain, and this information can be at the fingertips of your customer service advisors.
Not only that, but smart call centre technology can now make the whole process much simpler. Increasingly customers are choosing to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to make complaints rather than traditional methods such as telephone. SIP systems can bring together multiple streams including social, phone, email and instant messenger to help call centres manage cases quickly and simultaneously.
Interested in preparing your business for the next big sale? We’ve got the IT infrastructure solutions you need, including smart contact centre solution Cirrus.
Businesses are dealing with larger order demand each year for Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and it doesn’t look like the trend is going away any time soon. If you want to futureproof your business, why not consider a smart warehouse infrastructure to support your growth?
Speak to one of knowledgeable advisers today and we’ll tailor make you a solution!
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