Marketing & sales forecast for e-commerce sales
As a first step, it is important to get feedback from the Commercial team about the sales targets and forecast for the product launch. In most cases, this needs to happen well in advance in order to be in a position to have the complex supply chain processes aligned properly. The number of expected orders is then to be communicated with the Operations department.
Making sure that the production is up to speed
Based on the forecast, the Operations department gets in touch with the producer or wholesaler to communicate the plans accordingly, including a launch timeline. This will give the producer the possibility to reserve capacities and to give feedback in case of potential bottlenecks. If this is the case, the Operations team should ask about backup plans or search for other producers that could help out in case such problems occur.
Synchronizing Commercial and Operations
After having cleared up all remaining questions regarding the production capacities, the Commercial team needs to be informed and updated. If necessary, bottlenecks in the supply chain should be considered in the marketing plan, which may lead to a postponement of the product launch and as a consequence for the e-commerce marketing activities. This shows that syncing marketing and operations in-time is essential in order to avoid burning money with early marketing activities.
In fact, desynchronized commercial and operational planning can lead to serious issues for the launch of products. In many cases, this leads to online shoppers having to wait for a long time for the ordered products, which translates into unsatisfied customers. Even if the initial e-commerce sales stats might look promising, it will most likely lead to a decrease in the Customer-Lifetime-Value (LTV).
Optimize your Import/Export activities
Supply Chains are complex and often require goods and raw materials to be shipped across borders. Although many e-commerce businesses are dealing with cross-border trade and international shipments on a regular basis, they still fail at taking action to facilitate a smooth and hassle-free Import/Export. In order to avoid delays at the border and having orders being stuck in the customs, it is crucial to fill out all customs declarations accordingly and talk to experts that can provide consultancy.
Ramping up e-commerce fulfillment capacities
Depending on the e-commerce fulfillment-strategy the businesses need to take action to get their fulfillment capacities up to snuff:
In-house logistics: in this case, it is mostly about ensuring that picking and packing processes are mapped out in detail, are efficient, and are easily understandable. This is a prerequisite for an efficient order fulfillment process as warehouse workers won’t need extensive training to learn the process for the new products.
Outsourced fulfillment: here it is important to announce the expected order peaks to the fulfillment provider so that the capacities can be ramped up according to the forecast, ensuring that orders are fulfilled in-time.
In any case, it will also be necessary to coordinate other materials that might be needed for the fulfillment of the orders, which have to be ordered well in advance as well. This can be customized packaging or branding material (like flyers). Those little extras can improve the unboxing experience for consumers and as a consequence have a tremendous effect on brand awareness on social channels.