3 Tips for Helping Online Retailers Handle Seasonal Shifts in Demand


For many businesses, the changing seasons come with fluctuations in demand from customers. This is true for a lot of companies that provide products in a wide variety of niches, and it’s even true for businesses that provide services. For example, cable providers typically encounter a jump in service inquiries just before major sporting events.

Specifically for online retailers, there are some smart ways to cope with these seasonal changes in demand, meet customer expectations, and maybe even encourage growth when the opportunity presents itself. Luckily, there are three simple ways to manage these ebbs and flows—and keeping them in mind can help retail businesses survive the busier parts of the year. Read on to know what these are.

Try to Stamp Out Inefficiencies

When things aren’t running smoothly along your supply chain, even some smaller inefficiencies can add up and end up costing you a sizeable amount over time. That’s why keeping a tight ship could help you handle upticks without you needing to hire more workers. You can get started by analysing data on key departments’ key performance indicators. These numbers are best extracted from teams who manage your returns, inventory, and shipping. Once you’ve pinpointed the areas for improvement, you can look for ways to encourage faster processing times and minimise down time. Some changes you can make could include implementing some means to reward top employees. Alternatively, you can even provide temporary incentives beyond your basic overtime pay for workers who are willing to work at hard-to-cover shifts.

Seek Temporary Hires

Sometimes, simply streamlining your current processes won’t be enough. Indeed, some situations might necessitate more labour hours in the form of more workers. But as long as you’re expecting orders to dip back down, you can meet the increase in demand by hiring temporary workers. To make things easier, temporary staffing solutions can even be provided by a dedicated labour hire company. In addition to the resulting flexibility, your human resources department also won’t have to get bogged down by additional recruitment and training during your busy months.

Be Proactive with Internal Changes

The longer you’ve been running your retail business, the less you should rely on adjusting to changes as they occur. After all, simply reacting to events as they happen can lead to kneejerk responses that could have ill effects on your business in the long term. Instead, you can look back on past data to help you become better prepared for peaks. As an example, you can better identify the best changes to implement by reviewing how previous holiday seasons panned out for your business. And if you’re keeping more accurate data on a per-week or per-day basis, you could even determine possible scheduling changes that might allow for more efficient overall processes.

By keeping an eye on old sales figures, you can even see if the numbers are indicating a more permanent upward trend. Indeed, being able to ride seasonal waves could even be a catalyst for long-term growth. If you’ve played your cards right, you might even end up needing to keep your temporary workers beyond peak seasons.