Holiday Inventory Management Services

Preparing inventory for the holidays takes extra planning and additional resources.

It can be a challenge to think ahead and prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year.

But you don’t have to tackle the holidays alone.

ShipBob is a best-in-class 3PL that can help you prepare for the holiday season.

Learn more about ShipBob’s inventory management services.

Even our previous 3PL was unable to scale at the level we needed years ago, which became apparent my first holiday with them.This past holiday season would have been completely unmanageable for both our old 3PL and us. ShipBob does it seamlessly.

Michael Peters,

VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12

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What is holiday inventory?

Holiday inventory involves optimising your existing inventory management process to handle a high volume of orders during the holiday season. It also consists of additional returns support.

Without a proper holidays inventory management strategy, it will be a challenge to stay on top of potential stockouts and backorders.

To survive the holiday season, online brands will need to prepare their inventory in advance using a combination of the right resources, technology, and support.

How to plan inventory for the holidays

To prepare inventory for the busy holiday season, you will need to start planning in advance.

Here are some tips from the experts at ShipBob on how manage holiday inventory.

1. Communicate with your suppliers

As you can expect an influx of orders during the holiday season, you need to contact your suppliers and let them know that you will need to place a higher order volume to avoid any potential stock outs.

Share information with your suppliers on predicted order volume to make sure you order enough to avoid potential stockouts. Like you, they also need time to successfully deliver orders.

2. Assess your SKU level history

Looking back at your SKU history, you can predict the items which are more in demand and will need to be stocked accordingly.

Using historical inventory data like SKU performance, you will likely have an idea of what will be your top sellers, which will help you make better estimates before ordering more inventory.

3. Track inventory in real time

If you haven’t already, be sure to implement an inventory management software with real-time tracking capabilities.

There are a lot of solutions on the market, but the best bet is to take advantage of your 3PL’s technology.

For instance, ShipBob’s fulfilment technology includes real-time inventory tracking across their fulfilment centres allows retailers to have a transparent view of their inventory at all stages of the ecommerce supply chain.

Once your store is connected to ShipBob’s dashboard, you get a number of valuable inventory management tools at your disposal. View inventory levels in real-time, set reorder points, keep a safety stock, and allocate inventory strategically so you always have product in the right place at the right time.

3. Prepare for an influx in returns

Before the holiday rush heats up, make sure to have a straightforward returns process that is clearly communicated across your website.

If you partner with a 3PL, work with them to figure out an efficient returns management process, which includes providing your customers with a shipping label and tracking information once their return is shipped.

Even though they’re returning an item, a great returns experience can encourage them to purchase from you again — and potentially turn a seasonal customer into a year-round one.

4. Partner with ShipBob

The holiday season is already busy enough, so leave the order fulfilment process up to a 3PL like ShipBob to get you through this high stress period.

Whether this is your first holiday season at a quickly-growing business, or you need to switch 3PLs before the holiday rush, the sooner you get in touch with a new 3PL, the better.

With ShipBob, you can offer affordable and fast shipping to your customers with access to a global fulfilment network. With ShipBob, you can reduce shipping costs and transit times across the US, or take advantage of one or more of our international locations.

“Q4 was hard for ecommerce brands between the election (causing ad spend to increase), the pandemic, the couriers being overloaded and overburdened, and other competitive forces and costs. Speaking with friends who run other brands, including those that do $200 million in annual revenue, I learned they faced the same issues.

Being with ShipBob this past Q4 went a lot better than most companies experienced. We know some brands still with our old 3PL who struggled a lot. For them, it would take 5-6 days to get orders fulfiled, and they had to cut holiday sales very early. We of course experienced some challenges with the holidays and pandemic like every company, but it was a very small percentage in comparison. ShipBob was a great partner to get us through Black Friday and the holidays.”

Torii Rowe, COO & Co-Founder of MANSSION

How ShipBob works

Partnering with ShipBob as your 3PL is easy.

We offer fast onboarding, direct integrations with leading ecommerce platforms, and inventory and order management tools to provide transparency into the entire fulfilment and shipping process.

“ShipBob is not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. I’m really happy with my decision. It’s a huge load off myself and my family not to have to manage logistics in my house — especially during Christmas.”

Andrea Hamilton, founder of The Finer Things 1920

Read on to learn more about how ShipBob works.

Distributed inventory

With ShipBob’s network of fulfilment centres, you can strategically split your inventory across our locations to get your products from point A to point B more quickly and affordably. Storing inventory near your customers helps reduce the shipping zones and costs associated with shipping orders to faraway destinations.

Distributed inventory also helps you stay competitive by offering fast shipping to your customers. When an order is placed, ShipBob’s algorithm automatically selects the warehouse and carrier that will give you the quickest turnaround at the best price. This strategy has helped our merchants bring 13% savings to their bottom line.

Go Global Easily

ShipBob´s Shipping Program enables fast and cost effective delivery for all UK, European and Global destinations. Working with any of our ecommerce store integrations, you can reach your customers with the best local and international carrier options.

Whether you ship from one or multiple fulfilment centre locations, you can offer fast delivery options to all your customers. Our proprietary algorithm does all the hard work to give you the most cost effective and in-demand delivery options.

Order management

At ShipBob, we track your orders from A to Z. Filter orders by status, search for specific orders, see a quick timeline view of where your order is in the fulfilment process (e.g. when an order is picked, packed, or shipped), easily find shipping-related information (e.g., weights, dimensions, or carrier service), and get a quick snapshot of any orders that require action.

With order management software for your direct-to-consumer and wholesale shipments, you can manage subscriptions, make changes to your orders post-purchase, map your store’s shipping options to ShipBob, and automatically share tracking information with your customers.

Reporting and analytics

To provide you with visibility into our operations and performance, and also hold ourselves accountable, ShipBob’s free analytics tool is packed with charts to help you with everything from year-end reporting, to better supply chain decision-making.

Data can be a competitive advantage, and our reports show an analysis of which fulfilment centres you should stock, days of inventory left before you run out, impact of promotions on stock levels, each shipping method’s average cart value, shipping cost, and days in transit, your fulfilment cost per order, storage cost per unit, and much more.

End-to-end customer experience

We care about the customer experience as much as you and strive to be an extension of your team. From custom branded boxes to free plain packaging, ShipBob works with you to provide the unboxing experience you want. We also help you offer the fastest, most cost-effective shipping options to meet your customers’ expectations.

As soon as an order ships, tracking is pushed back to your store. We also offer return management services, allowing customers to generate return shipping labels and track returns, while getting your products processed and back into your available inventory as efficiently as possible.

Save on fulfilment costs

Coffee creamer brand Prymal joined ShipBob in 2019 and was quickly able to save $8,000 per month on fulfilment costs, while at the same time achieving 4x growth.

Learn more about Prymal’s growth

Improve your conversion rate

Not only was BAKblade able to scale internationally by partnering with ShipBob, but they found adding 2-Day Shipping increased their conversions as well.

Learn more about BAKblades’s growth

Store, ship, and grow internationally

Sunglasses brand Ombraz distributed their inventory across 3 fulfilment centres in two different countries. This has allowed them to ship to 55 countries on seven continents.

Learn more about Ombraz’s growth