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Going Viral – How to Navigate Spikes in eCommerce Orders

By November 3, 2023No Comments

It’s a scenario every eCommerce business dreams of – your product or brand suddenly goes viral on social media, and orders start pouring in at an unprecedented rate. While this surge in demand is fantastic news, it can also be overwhelming, particularly when it happens unexpectedly. The last thing you want is to disappoint your excited new customers. So, how can you successfully navigate these spikes in eCommerce orders, whether it’s during a viral campaign, a major sale event like Black Friday, or any other surprise surge? Let’s break it down.

1. Stay Calm and Organised

First and foremost, stay calm. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a sudden surge in orders, panicking won’t help. Take a deep breath and focus on staying organized. Ensure your order processing and fulfilment systems are ready to handle the influx.

Make a checklist of tasks that need immediate attention. Check items off as you complete them
If you have a team, delegate responsibilities based on each team member’s expertise. This ensures tasks are handled efficiently and prevents burnout.
Leverage order management software and tools to automate tasks as much as possible. Automation can significantly reduce your workload.
During a surge in orders, it’s tempting to multitask, but this can lead to errors and increased stress. Focus on one task at a time to ensure accuracy.

2. Communicate Realistically

Your customers are excited about their orders, but it’s vital to set realistic expectations from the beginning. Update your website, social media, and order confirmation emails with accurate information on shipping times and potential delays. Honesty goes a long way in maintaining trust.

Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your website that addresses common customer inquiries. This can help reduce the volume of questions and concerns.
In cases where there might be delays due to high demand or other factors, communicate these potential delays clearly. Assure customers that you’re working diligently to fulfil their orders.
Specify estimated shipping times prominently on your website, so customers are aware of when to expect their orders.
Use your social media platforms to update customers about any changes in shipping or fulfilment processes. Social media is a quick and effective way to reach a broad audience.
Send proactive updates to customers on the status of their orders. Let them know when orders are processed, shipped, and expected to arrive.

3. Streamline Your Fulfilment Process

Efficiency is the name of the game when dealing with a surge in orders. Streamline your fulfilment process as much as possible. This might involve:

Prioritising Orders: Categorise orders based on urgency, location, or shipping method. This ensures that time-sensitive shipments are handled first, optimising shipping times and meeting customer expectations. For instance, you can prioritise expedited shipping orders to ensure they are processed promptly.

Use standardised packaging materials to reduce the time it takes to select the right box or envelope for each order. You should still try to keep your packaging branded and exciting for the customer, but standardised sizing helps the process run smoother.
Organise packing stations with all necessary materials close at hand, reducing the time it takes to pack each order.
Barcode scanning technology can help to track and manage inventory. This can significantly reduce errors, streamline order processing, and improve the accuracy of order picking and packing.
Implement a rigorous quality control process. Ensure that every order is checked for accuracy and completeness before it leaves the warehouse. This helps minimise errors and reduces the likelihood of returns.
Real-time inventory tracking is essential to prevent overselling or stockouts. Investing in inventory management software can streamline this aspect of fulfilment.

4. Learn from the experience

After the dust settles, take time to review what went well and where you can improve. Use these insights to prepare better for the next unexpected surge in orders.

Assemble your team for a post-season debriefing session. Encourage open and honest discussions about what worked and what didn’t. Your team members, who were on the front lines, can provide unique perspectives and suggestions for improvement.

Dive into the data. Analyse sales figures, order processing times, customer feedback, and any other relevant metrics. Look for patterns, trends, and areas where performance can be enhanced.
Identify Bottlenecks: Pinpoint any bottlenecks or areas where your fulfilment process slowed down. Was it a specific step in the order fulfilment process, such as packaging, labelling, or shipping? Understanding these bottlenecks helps you address them proactively in the future.
Review customer feedback and inquiries. Pay close attention to any complaints or issues raised by customers. This insight can reveal areas that require improvement or better communication.
Based on the lessons learned, update your strategies for managing unexpected surges in orders. Develop a plan that outlines improvements to be made and assigns responsibilities to team members.

Going viral and experiencing sudden surges in eCommerce orders can be a mixed blessing, but with the right strategies and tools in place, you can turn them into opportunities for growth. Whether it’s Black Friday or any other viral event, preparation, organisation, and a focus on customer satisfaction are key.

Our team at Fidelity Fulfilment is here to help. Our scalable solutions and advanced software are designed to streamline your eCommerce fulfilment This allows you to focus on your core business functions while ensuring a seamless shopping experience for your customers. Whether it’s Black Friday, the holiday season, or any other peak sales period, effective fulfilment is essential for eCommerce success.

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