Preparing for Peak Countdown Guide – Part 2

Monday September 27, 2021 | Posted at 8:25 am | By Paul Dilger
September 27, 2021 @ 8:25 am

This is the second of a series of posts aimed at helping you plan successfully for peak. For many companies in ecommerce, peak tends to be in the last quarter of the calendar, but that’s by no means always the case, since the garden category, to take one example, enjoys a peak typically from March to September. The first post in the series concentrated on what do between 6 and 3 months out, regardless of when your peak is.

Now we’re going to talk about what you can do between 3 months and 2 weeks out. Of course, the elephant in the room at the time of writing is the supply chain. Supply is massively under pressure. Container costs are something like 4 to 6 times what they were 6 months ago, and transport costs have tripled. We’ve been advising having a range of key supplier options for many years now, and if you’re prudent enough to have done this then the chances are you’re less under pressure than many.

When we ran a survey into the barriers to long term ecommerce success back in April and May of this year, supply was the 3rd biggest barrier, behind regulations and manual processes. Right now it’s probably number 1. Hopefully you’ve placed your bets for peak, ordered the stock you need and either already have it or have an inked-in date when it’s coming.

Q4 peak is about to get into full swing. The Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals submission window is already open, eBay is inviting its major sellers to Seller Open next week, and OnBuy will be kicking off its peak push next month. Over the last couple of months you’ve hopefully done the things we suggested in the first post: the planning, the deciding on marketing and promotions, and in the last couple of weeks reviewing your listings, starting with your popular items and items you’re forecasting to do well in peak, and optimising your listing data in line with the best practices for each marketplace and web store platform.

Even with all the hard work you’ve put in, there’s still plenty to do to ensure your peak period is a success. These 12 weeks are crucial for re-igniting past customer relationships and driving brand awareness in preparation for the period. You’ve ordered your stock, right?

Here are some things to enact in the weeks before peak in the areas of stock/warehouse management, marketing and sales/product:

  • Conduct a dry-run using different products to check warehouse processes / efficiency
  • Encourage communications with staff to prepare them for the upcoming peak period
  • Ensure surplus postage and packing resources are in supply
  • Brief shipping and fulfilment partners regarding their involvement
  • Make sure ERP and other integrations are running smoothly

  • Send ‘sneak peek’ emails of deals to recent customers closer to the event
  • Send emails to customers who haven’t bought in more than a year to warm them up throughout the run-up
  • Invest in high-performing competitive PPC keywords and platforms like Google, Bing, Amazon PPC, eBay Promoted Listings and OnBuy Boost
  • Increase your social media output to put your brand front of mind
  • Start publishing blogs associated with the right keywords

  • Final listing checks – correct text errors, under-performing keywords and poor quality photos
  • Make sure your FAQs, sales guides and product support documents are current
  • Make sure your CRM system and / or buyer data are current

In the next two posts in this series we’ll talk about what you can do with a week to go and during the event, as well as what your post-event mop-up activities should look like.

To talk about your goals, hurdles and requirements for 2022, feel free to get in touch and schedule a no obligation call.

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