The retail display development process can often take months, so when packout and delivery time comes—you and your brand are probably chomping at the bit to get your beautiful displays and products in store! Let’s not overlook the all-important packout process to ensure your displays and products arrive pristine and ready for retail.
The Holidays are the Busiest Time of Year for Packout
The holiday shopping season is no doubt one of the busiest times of the year for everyone—and packout and fulfillment warehouses are no different! In our experience, there’s a large increase in retail display programs this time of year, which causes a few potential hangups:
- Increase in labor needs for fulfillment and packout
- Scarcity of square footage in available warehouse space
- Higher potential for delayed inbound product and outbound pickups
Navigating the retail holiday season presents many challenges to brands, retailers, and fulfillment warehouses. One way for brands to succeed at retail during the holiday season is partnering with a well-seasoned packout partner who can help you manage the process and offer experienced advice.
How to Prepare for the Shipping Delays and Other Worst-Case Scenarios
The term “supply chain” was not familiar to most people until this year—because delays in the supply chain are at an all-time high. Concerns about the impact of broken links in the supply chain leading to retail are in daily headlines and top of mind for many, including brands like yours!
If you’re looking to prepare and avoid delays or other disasters, we recommend:
- Understanding the timelines of your program from end to end
- Keeping key milestones in check
- Communicating regularly with your packout partner
- Planning well in advance, which can sometimes offer flexibility in ports for incoming product
Our biggest advice for brands, especially if you’ve experienced issues in the past or this is your first holiday retail season, is to work with a partner that has facilities across the country and a proven background in solving supply chain interruptions, especially close to major ports.
There will inevitably be delays or—worse—failures along the way. It takes experience, creative thinking, and solid relationships to get products and displays delivered, especially during the holiday season.
Do the holidays and increased shipping loads affect traceability?
Holidays should not affect traceability. If your brand needs traceability, such as lot codes, ASN’s, or serialization, you’ll need to work with a very experienced company that uses technology for these types of programs and has a team that understands the intricacies of managing them.
Display Shipping: To Stock or Not to Stock?
Retail displays can ship either stocked with product or empty, and there are benefits to both for the holidays.
Shipping displays stocked works well for general merchandise, apparel, decor, consumables, and most electronics. Shipping displays to retail fully stocked means they go directly to the floor and no additional labor is required to track down product, fill, and merchandise it before customers can start shopping.
Displays that travel empty are shipping “air” on every load they run. With freight rates today—that’s some very expensive “air”! If you’re looking to save on costs, shipping stocked may be a good choice for your brand.
Unstocked and KDF (knock down flat) displays can be a good option for certain projects. Products already on-hand at retail, pay-from-scan items set by third-party representatives, or cross-department and multi-vendor initiatives for retailers unable to manage complex assortments through their supply chain are just a few examples.
Additionally, a display may make sense to send to retail unstocked or even partially stocked due to delays in the supply chain. Rather than hold an entire display for one or two items that are running late, your brand and your retail partner may choose to ship the display with those items missing and have them set in store as the product becomes available.
Shipping displays unstocked or partially unstocked will require additional assistance at retail. Either store associates or third-party retail representatives can finalize the display on the sales floor.
Closing Words of Advice for Holiday Packout Success
If you’ve got holiday display success on your brand’s gift list, you need an experienced packout partner you can trust. Work with a company that has subject matter experts with the retailer you’re working with and they’ll be shipping to.
The road map to retail supply chain and distribution center guidelines is complex, and the potential for chargebacks is high. Choose a partner with a proven track record of experience, excellent communication, and creativity in problem-solving. Winning at Retail is ultimately a partnership between the brand and the supply chain.