Category: Supply Chain Management

How to Prepare Your Business for Holiday Season

E-commerce Season is Approaching! Here’s How to Prepare Your Business

E-commerce season is upon us, and the competition to get your business seen will be more intense than ever before. Here’s what you need to know about preparing your business before the holiday orders start rushing in… or not!

Plan out your marketing and email campaigns.

As e-commerce season approaches, it’s time to start thinking about how you will market your business and reach your target audience. Chances are you’ve already received seasonal emails or marketing. It’s important to put pen to paper, or characters to a google document now in order to plan, create and implement your marketing and sales campaigns so you aren’t missing out on turning viewers into buyers. Email campaigns are a great way to reach a large number of people without breaking the bank. Plus, they’re easy to set up and track.

If you don’t have an email list yet, now is the perfect time to get started on one with free tools like Hubspot or Mailchimp. Running a contest or giveaway is a good way to gain interested consumers’ contact information. 

Some consumers have already started.Twenty-five percent of shoppers either began their holiday shopping last month or plan to begin shopping in SeptemberperBankrate. Another 25% expect to begin in October, while only 40% plan to start shopping in the final two months of the year. (Sept. 2022, Insider Intelligence)

 

Ensure your website can handle the uptick in traffic.

Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s important to ensure your website can handle the uptick in traffic. Delays, errors, or issues impact your bottom line. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your site stays up and running during this busy time: 

  • Perform a stress test on your website. This will help you identify any potential bottlenecks so you can address them before they cause problems.
  • Make sure your hosting plan can accommodate increased traffic. If necessary, upgrade your server or consider using a cloud-based solution.
  • Ensure your website is optimized for speed. This includes things like reducing image sizes, using caching, and minifying CSS and JavaScript files. You should also keep your HTML as lean as possible by removing unnecessary whitespace and inline styles. You can also use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate how quickly your site loads.
  • Consider having someone manually audit your website at least once per year, especially if you’re planning significant changes in layout or design. The extra review may catch something that might have been missed otherwise due to the hectic pace of the holiday shopping season.

Plan ahead for supply chain delays.

The holiday season is a busy time for businesses, and e-commerce businesses are no exception. If you’re selling products online, planning ahead for potential supply chain delays is important. Here are a few tips:

  • Start planning early by considering the inventory that will be needed to meet customer demand. 
  • Consider storage requirements: Do you have enough space for inventory? Does your space need temperature controls? What about security?
  • Consider logistics: Is there adequate space in the warehouse, or does the product require special handling? For example, if items are fragile or breakable, do you have systems in place for sorting and packing? 
  • Get organized: Make sure all necessary information is available so staff can keep track of shipments; print packing slips; create labels; calculate shipping costs; track orders, invoices, and payments.

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Consider a more flexible return policy.

As the e-commerce season ramps up, it’s important to consider your return policy. Many customers shop online with the intention of returning items that don’t work out, so you’ll want to be prepared. A flexible return policy will show customers that you’re confident in your product and care about their satisfaction. Plus, it can help you avoid costly returns down the line.

  

Leverage social media. 

As e-commerce season approaches, now is the time to start thinking about how you can leverage social media to promote your business. If you’re not already active on social media, now is the time to create accounts on the platforms where your target audience hangs out. Once you’re up and running, make sure to post regularly and interact with your followers. Use hashtags, run contests, and offer discounts to encourage people to buy from you.  

Concluding Words

It may seem like a lot of work to prepare your business for the e-commerce season, but when all is said and done, it will help you reach more customers with less effort in the long run. Contact Dolomites Consulting Group to learn more about how you can accelerate your business growth with our advertising and consulting expertise.

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DCG Team September 15, 2022 0 Comments

3 Key Relationships of Marketing and Supply Chain Management

How is marketing and supply chain management (SCM) related?

It is important for marketing and supply chain professionals to have a strong understanding of how the two fields harmonize. The marketing and SCM fields are so broad and interconnected, that it can be harder to think of how they differ, than how they relate. 

When decisions and efforts from both functions unify together, organizations can pack a more powerful punch in the results they pursue. They can satisfy customer demand triggered by the company’s advertisements, and by making their products and services consistent, companies can build long-term trust. When the two perform disjointedly, the organization starts pursuing different internal goals, which frequently leads to dysfunction or even disaster. 

The first step to understanding how the two business functions come together is through definition. 


Marketing Defined:

As defined by the American Marketing Association: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (AMA, 2019).

SCM Defined:

As defined by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: “Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.” (CSCMP, 2019).


Let’s look at some examples of how marketing and SCM are related.

1. Supply and demand:Untitled design 300x300 1

This might be somewhat rudimentary, but it’s a powerful concept here. The whole basis of a free market economy is supply and demand. 

Supply is overseen by the company’s SCM personnel. Such functions include sourcing, procurement, logistics, inventorying, distribution, and more. Demand is overseen by marketing managers, like advertising, sales, differentiation, and customer feedback through surveys and focus groups. 

When these two components come together, a business can effectively supply the products that their marketers promoted. Marketing is the recognition of what customers need. SCM is the delivering of those customer needs. This is the broader essence of the relationship between SCM and marketing, but there is much more behind this face value.

2. Avoiding stockouts from promotions:Untitled design 2 300x251 1

When items are promoted with advertisements and discounts, the number of sales tend to increase. Hopefully not so much as to cause stockouts, which is when the inventory of items is sold out completely. Stockouts are a SCM’s worst nightmare. 

Of course, it’s bad for the customer because they will lose trust in coming to your business for things, but it’s a huge opportunity missed for the retailer and manufacturer to earn profits. One saying goes “Stockouts cause walkouts”. Customers lose confidence in shopping at locations that fail to stock enough of what they came to purchase. This leads to the risk of customers developing new habits of shopping at competitor locations. For example, if CVS keeps running out of milk, people might start shopping at Walgreens.

When the marketing team is setting up promotions, it is important to communicate with supply managers to ensure some measures are put into place to prevent stockouts. Some SCM considerations to prevent stockouts:

  1. Forecasting accuracy
  2. Safety stock utilizations
  3. Fast resupply logistics capabilities (Just-in-time)

3. Brand quality:qtq80 uY4XiX

Quality can be the key differentiating factor for many products and services, especially heavily competitive markets. A trust in a company’s standard of quality often keeps customers coming back for more. 

Take Häagen-Dazs ice cream, for example, the level of quality in their ingredients is held to a higher standard than most other brands of ice cream. They source their vanilla beans very precisely to keep consistency in their vanilla ice cream. This builds customer trust. Sourcing and procurement are critical SCM functions that facilitate a company’s quality standard. 

On the flip side, marketers need to be able to convey the right messaging in their advertisements regarding things like product quality. Good marketers know their products well. Häagen-Dazs marketers would benefit from having an understanding of their ice cream’s quality so they can formulate marketing strategies that speak to their target market. 

SCM personnel must communicate with marketing to ensure the right products are being produced and the right messages are being sent out. If the marketing department is sending messages that are inconsistent with the company’s SCM capabilities, customers can get misleading information and lose trust.

Untitled design 1Conclusion: 

A company’s SCM and marketing departments are more interconnected than it may seem on the surface. The reality is that organizations that encourage communication and collaboration between the two are poised to be more in-tune with customer needs and delivery expectations. When properly integrated, the business model becomes inherently more cohesive and high-performing.

SCM needs marketing to facilitate communication with potential customers. Marketing needs SCM to fulfill the products and services advertised. The two go hand-in-hand. 

Perform planning and goal-setting sessions with representatives from both functions. Ensure processes are in place that promote communication and knowledge sharing between the two departments. Then encourage and recognize the efforts of collaboration.

Interested in learning more about Supply Chain Management or Marketing? Reach out to the DCG Team. 

References:

CSCMP, 2019. Definitions and glossary. Retrieved from: https://cscmp.org/CSCMP/Educate/SCM_Definitions_and_Glossary_of_Terms.aspx

AMA, 2019. What is marketing. Retrieved from: https://www.ama.org/the-definition-of-marketing-what-is-marketing/

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DCG Team December 10, 2019 0 Comments