Preparing for Peak Countdown Guide – Part 1

Thursday July 15, 2021 | Posted at 3:12 pm | By Paul Dicken
July 15, 2021 @ 3:12 pm

Here’s the first of a series of posts aimed at helping you plan for peak. For most companies in ecommerce, peak tends to be in Q4, but it’s not always the case. This first post concentrates on what do between 6 and 3 months out, regardless of when your peak is.

A recent survey we conducted found out that companies plan with a 6-month window more often than any other window (you can download the full survey report here). Since we’re a little less than 6 months to go until Christmas, this seems like a good time to start the planning process.

First of all, how are you geared up at an operational level to handle peak? Was last year’s peak a time of crazy long hours, fire-fighting, highly manual processes and promising yourself that next year will be different, that you’ll be better set up for success? If so, it might be time to take your systems and processes to the next level, and embrace automation to take care of the simple, repetitive and time-consuming parts of running a business.

Now is the time to consider, select and implement a new system so you’re ready in time for the start of Q4. It could be a replacement system or in fact your first investment in a major system. Either way, it’s an important strategic decision which you need to get right. This ebook helps you address the right factors and ask potential providers the right questions. It’s a proven process to help you work well with any provider.

Who knows what peak period 2021 is going to throw up. At the time of writing we’re close to full reopening in the UK. That said, last month was the largest ever Amazon Prime Day. Furthermore, the trend towards online was accelerated during 2020 and 2021, and all the signs are that ecommerce will retain a lot of the bump it received from Covid-driven closure of bricks and mortar and increase its share of retail at the end of the year. While it pays to be ready for different eventualities, it seems a safe bet to bet on a very strong quarter for ecommerce.

Between three and six months out, the groundwork you lay now will ease the rush that will inevitably occur as the shopping period approaches. You’re going to be deciding your strategy and ensuring any activities with long lead times – like ordering stock for instance – are well planned and ready to go. This is where the analysis comes in, and the better your data and the more powerful your reporting, the easier it is to get the insights on what products you think will do well and how long you’ll need to get hold of them. And, a supplier plan B or plan C if your supply chain breaks doesn’t hurt either.

Here are some things to think about in the areas of stock, marketing and product:

  • Analyse last year’s sales performance to define your product strategy
  • Consider re-ordering what’s sold strongly the last six months, taking care to allow for seasonality where appropriate
  • Assess whether trending products have enough momentum to last six months
  • Conduct an objective review of your warehouse processes. What can you improve and perfect now, in time for peak?
  • Start the recruitment process for seasonal staff in order management and customer care

  • Agree your overall marketing message and product strategy
  • Flesh out your email, content and social campaigns, setting achievable deadlines
  • Consider advertising and PR campaigns for brand awareness

  • Approaching three months out, evaluate your existing listings and begin optimising, starting with your most popular sellers
  • Agree what ‘peak period’ promotions you’re going to run across each marketplace
  • Review your shipping, sales and return policies
  • Assess your current performance on marketplace programmes. What needs to change for peak?


Proper planning prevents poor performance, so as we start the countdown to November and December the summer months are about getting the people, processes and technology in place, before focusing on products and promotions. Sorry about all the p’s in this parapraph, but these really are the priorities for peak…

To talk about your requirements for peak, feel free to get in touch and schedule a no obligation call.

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