Which retail technologies ease the pressure of peak season?

December 10, 2020

Ah, the festive season.

For consumers, peak is a sudden, hectic whirlwind of gift-choosing and frantic delivery coordination. As retailers, it’s on your mind all year round.
Despite being lucrative, November and December is no doubt the toughest time in retail. Especially when the seasons all blend into one, and ‘peak’ volumes have been running all year. On the whole, consumers aren’t particularly organised (will Granny Helen be happy with more slippers this year?). Expectations are high and the volume of last-minute deliveries is even higher.

So, as retailers, you need to be incredibly agile, communicative and responsive when it comes to peak season checkout, delivery and returns. So, to ease the burden on your online platforms and warehouse processes, you need to be planning ahead and taking full control of your customer experience. We’ve assessed which technologies retailers are turning to, to alleviate the pressure.

No need to thank us. Think of it as an early Christmas present.

CHATBOTS

When there’s more shopping, there are more questions.

Consumers like to know exactly what’s going on – and, rightfully, they don’t like being kept in the dark when it comes to delivery. WISMO (where is my order?) customer contacts rise exponentially in Q4 – but answering them doesn’t need to put extra pressure on contact centres. Self-service delivery tracking, proactive update comms, notifications and intelligent chatbot systems can handle the flow of repetitive questions and common queries.

Customer service reps are freed up to handle more complex queries, if customers can find the info they need by themselves.

CHECKOUT PERSONALISATION PLUG-INS

We all lead incredibly busy lives. Even more so when we’re running around trying to get Christmas sorted. When the pressure is on for presents, it’s more important than ever to catch and keep those valuable, loyal customers – but you’ve got to impress them pre-purchase to convert them, and post-purchase to keep them.

Consumers want more checkout options and delivery flexibility to choose where and when an item will arrive. And it might not be their home, either. With checkout tech like SortedHEROretailers can personalise and optimise delivery options, making use of a wider range of carrier services without the tricky direct carrier integration. Your customer will see a dynamic checkout, based on what carrier services are available.

Plus, by making sure your checkout is talking to your warehouse or fulfilment centre, you’re only ever making a promise that you can keep.

That’s one more thing ticked off the wish list.

MICROSERVICES

Abandoned carts, failed orders, angry customers – it’s the stuff of nightmares for retailers. Particularly when sales should be at their highest.

That’s why we’re fans of microservices at Sorted. And during peak season, it really comes into its own – allowing retailers to automatically scale their systems up and down according to demand.

So, why not upgrade your delivery management product to something smart like SortedPRO that can handle these peak surges with ease? That way, not only do you have a one-stop dashboard for all your carrier operations, your services are flexible and scalable for peak too…

Retailers don’t want to prescale their infrastructure just to prepare for peak. The unlimited scale of microservices means that, when volume and visits ramp up, platforms can respond automatically.”

Michael Rose, Head of Technical Architecture

With microservices, your retail operations are far more cost-effective. That means you can pass on your savings through unbeatable product prices, as well as cope better with high demand. So, if you’re not already, follow in the footsteps of the tech-savvy retailers next peak season. You’ll reduce your costs, streamline your operations and handle surge activity with ease. All in time for a mince pie.

Read more about how to optimise the delivery experience in our guide Ecommerce Examined: Assessing the delivery experience.