eStar client services manager Liam Collins shares his insights on Peak Planning. Are you ready for Peak?

“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” - African Proverb.

With the countdown reaching double-digit days towards Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and with September already here, have you asked yourself this simple, yet vital question – “Are we ready for peak?"

Google describes this time of year as the ‘marathon of peak shopping’, with 16 key shopping events between now and the end of the year - the poignant word here is ‘marathon’.

As an athlete stands at the marathon start line; they reflect upon the monumental task ahead. When the nerves kick in, they are quickly put at ease by the memories of dedication and effort they previously endured in preparing for this challenge. Preparation is the key to crossing that finish line.

Planning for the imminent ‘marathon of peak shopping’ is no different.

During this time of year, we have all spent many an evening casually perusing the World Wide Web to pick up the deal of the century. But many don’t appreciate the effort those behind the online store put into this critical time of year, making sure customers get those jaw-dropping deals.

Who is there to aid those with this tremendous responsibility, and to help them navigate the course?

The experience with the eCommerce retailer has taught us two important lessons about peak shopping events. One, that peak shopping events are the catalyst of heightened internal accountability and two, that peak shopping events contribute significantly to the bottom line. No pressure then!

Now observing the event from the other side through the eyes of an eCommerce platform partner, it is evidently clear that offering guidance and support to those operating online stores during this demanding time of year is invaluable. The message is abundantly clear, they are not alone.

Here are our top 5 tips that will help ensure the ‘marathon of peak shopping’ is a success for all involved.

Commence planning well ahead of time. Lock a date in as soon as possible to start the preparations. It is never too early to start thinking about the build-up to the peak shopping events, not to mention what you will be doing during and after. Of course, the latter comes with a sigh of relief and a celebratory drink or two. However, leaving this tip to the last minute might leave you short of breath before you’ve even started the race. Time to focus!

Next, turn your attention to when the peak shopping event will commence. Data shows that many online retailers start way before the famous big two days – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Think about when you will start to stimulate that shopping excitement with your customers. When will that starter pistol be fired?

Then, the next tip would be to think of the promotions and discounts you will be offering during the peak shopping event, offers that will increase the shoppers ‘must have’ levels. Ensure that along with the marketing plan, these details are shared with those supporting the infrastructure of your eCommerce platform. You cannot underestimate the importance of forewarning the team that manages the foundations of your eCommerce platform. It is critical to keep the surface beneath your feet stable.

The penultimate tip is to refrain from significantly changing technology and processes in the lead-up and during the event. Introducing non-essential change could introduce unnecessary risk. It simply isn’t worth it. Focus on that finish line, and steer clear of the distractions.

Finally, communicate. Engage with your technology providers, informing them of your plans. Open those clear communication channels. They’ll be there from start to finish, applauding you as you cross the line. Victorious!

When the ‘marathon of shopping’ concludes, it will be time to reflect on the success and opportunities.

But until then, lace up, hydrate, and take a deep breath. It's time to start planning!

Viare, an eStar company, has developed its technology over twenty years and helps facilitate more than $1.5B in annual sales online. Viare scales to manage a high volume of orders across multiple Sellers and inventory locations and allows retailers to make all store stock available for sale enabling store-based fulfilment to be a retailer’s competitive advantage. Its intelligent order management has been recognised by Gartner as one of the leading distributed order management systems in the world. 

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