Running a business can be demanding all year round, but there are some periods within the year when demand is higher than usual. This rush season can make or break your business, depending on how well you prepare. That's why it's essential for business owners to prepare for the peak season and holiday season for great returns.
In this article, we discuss what peak season in business means and some tips to help you prepare.
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Between Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year, there are some times of the year when things are the busiest for business owners. These periods are called Peak Seasons.
Peak seasons are major shopping periods where business owners should expect a surge in customers and sales. This peak season often presents an opportunity for certain businesses to improve their chance of success and accelerate their growth. Peak season and holiday season bring more sales and revenue, which is something to be excited about as a business owner.
Some major peak seasons often fall during Holidays and Events like:
Meanwhile, peak seasons can be at different times for everyone, depending on your business type. For example, if you sell Christmas trees and decorations, your peak season will be between November and January.
If you offer gift items, your peak seasons will be during holidays like Mother's Day, Valentine's, and Christmas. If you sell winter clothing, you can expect your peak season during the winter. Also, a person that sells outdoor wear and bathing suits should look at June and July as their peak season.
So, it's up to you to determine your peak season based on your location and the products you offer.
While peak season can be exciting for many people, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. If you are not careful, things can go disorganized, and you may not get the best benefits from the peak season.
For this reason, it's best to prepare for the holiday season before it comes. Some advantages of preparing for peak season include:
Preparing for peak seasons helps you identify the products in high demand so that you can stock them in your warehouse or storage before time. The last thing you want is a shortage of goods when there is high demand for such goods.
Another advantage of peak season preparation is that it helps you keep your employees ready and help make sure you are well-staffed to handle the action items for the season.
Preparing for peak season makes your selling process and customer service smooth, and this can help you attract more customers and build lasting relationships.
Peak seasons are the best time to make a lot of sales and attract new customers that will do business with you beyond the season. If you plan well for this season, you increase your chance of making increased sales.
Peak seasons are usually the best period to make more money and revenue through increased sales. However, that can only happen if you prepare adequately for the season.
Now that you know what a peak season is and why you need to prepare for it, let's dive into some essential tips to prepare your business for the next peak season:
Planning for the peak season is essential, and that's the first stage of preparing for the season. One of the best ways to plan is by assessing your previous performance during the last year and using the data to improve your performance for the next peak season.
Look at the data from last season to identify what worked for you and what didn't. What was the percentage of orders received, and what can you expect this time? How fast was the shipping time, and what complaints?
These questions can help you plan for peak season, identify where you fell short last peak season and what you can do to improve.
A good tip for preparing for peak season is to create compelling marketing campaigns that help promote your brand or trendy products in that particular selling season.
What products are people demanding? What products would they like a discount on? What channels can you promote your campaigns? What type of content should you develop? All these questions help you create a solid campaign strategy that excites your customers and encourages them to buy from you. Some marketing tips for peak season include:
Some websites crash or start running slow during peak season because they are not optimized for high-volume visits. That's why one of the tips to prepare for peak season is to keep your site loading time down so that it can handle an increase in traffic.
Poor load time increases bounce rates and makes businesses lose potential customers.1 Every additional second it takes for your page to load increases the probability of customers bouncing to your competitors.
For this reason, it's best to ensure your website is well optimized for mobile shopping, fix the glitches, improve the user experience and ascertain the website is responsive. These details can improve the mobile shopping experience, which helps drive more conversions and sales.
Some sales/marketing platforms and channels perform better than others. So, take advantage of marketing platforms and strategies that bring the highest conversion rate during peak seasons.
Two of the top converting channels are email marketing and social media marketing. According to a study, 39% of customers say they will buy from a business because of a direct mail advertisement.2
Excite your contacts by emailing them about countdown sales, deals, discounts, user-generated content, and more. This type of marketing reminds people about your offers and encourages them to buy from you during the peak season.
One of the steps to take in preparation for peak season is to create space for increased inventory levels. Consider how many goods you need to meet customer demand during the peak season and make enough space to store them. When you order goods early, you can meet customers' demands and save from paying high prices at a time when every other person wants the same products.
As demand and sales increase, so will the need for order fulfillment and shipping. Maintaining a good supply chain to simplify the shipping processes for your customers is vital.
So, take your time to find a reliable logistics provider you can partner with for a smooth fulfillment process. This may mean doing adequate research to find the most suitable logistics providers. Having a reliable partner takes some stress off your hands so that you can have time to focus on other aspects of your business, like marketing and bookkeeping.
At peak season, business owners and employees often have more things on their hands, increasing workload and stress. An excellent way to reduce pressure is by getting extra hands on board. If it's within your budget, consider hiring more staff or part-time staff for the upcoming peak periods.
Also, ensure your staff is well-trained for the job. Having skilled team members will be a massive asset to your business because they guarantee that all processes are taken care of with or without your supervision. So if you are getting temporary or part-time staff, ensure you train them properly to ensure a smooth transition into their job roles.
One of the best practices to improve your performance during peak season is to put your customers first. 33% of customers say they'll consider switching companies after a single instance of poor service.3 Customer service is essential, so you must serve your customers well if you want them to do business with you.
Things often get overwhelming during peak season, making customer service slower and may make your potential customers angry. To prevent this, implement some systems to improve interaction and provide fast responses to customers' queries. Make sure you have consistent customer service on standby if you don't want your customer to move to your competitors.
In addition, consider the following tips to improve your customer service:
If you are a manufacturer, the last thing you want during peak season is to end up with faulty equipment or machinery. So, have some preventative maintenance before the beginning of peak season to ensure everything works optimally. Also, maintenance ensures your equipment is working correctly and is safe to operate by your staff.
Proper communication is vital for a successful peak season. Therefore, establish clear communication with your customers and team members/employees as this ensures everyone is on the same page with what they need to do for the business to thrive. You can also have a task force to coordinate the peak season activities and ensure everything is in place to meet your business goals.
Another step for peak season preparation is reviewing your return policy; 58% of customers want an easy and hassle-free return policy.4 It's essential to have a system to handle returns and ensure a smooth return experience for your customers. Also, update your review policy on your website and ensure it is clear and easy to understand.
You don't have to do everything manually, especially if a software or automation tool can handle the work. That said, identify areas of your business you can automate to reduce stress during the peak period. Some areas of business you can automate include packing, labeling, assembling boxes, responding to customers, etc.
Work out your budget ahead of the peak season to ensure you don't overspend or underspend. Start by identifying what you need money for (stock up, hiring new employees, marketing campaigns), then allocate a price for the action item or products.
Whether you are a new business owner or have been in business for a long time, preparing for peak season is a smart way to position yourself for accelerated growth. One of the tips for peak season preparation is taking advantage of top converting platforms like Alibaba.com to find more customers.
When you use Alibaba.com for your business, you will have access to the following things that can improve your peak season operation:
Alibaba also makes it easy to source for suppliers to stock up your inventory and ensure you are never out of products.
To get started with Alibaba.com, open a seller account, add your business information, post your products and start taking customers' orders.