Spark Response's Peter Slee explains how to avoid a Christmas ordering headache.

OPINION: Don’t suffer from seasonality

From one viewpoint, the toy industry is like any other. Brands and manufacturers need a great product, with an appealing message to catch the eye of retailers and consumers.

However the toy industry has one major difference: Christmas.

Without question, other retail sectors achieve vast growth at Christmas, but in our experience, nothing matches the seasonality felt in the toy sector.

Spark Response, part of the Spark eCommerce Group, provides order fulfilment to brands including Micro Scooters, and Toys R Us, and believe me when I say we understand the challenges of the Christmas period. We’ve just completed our busiest Christmas in our 30 year history.

Micro Scooters, fresh from another fantastic season, are now planning for Christmas 2014 and beyond. Spark was appointed to provide both eCommerce and trade order fulfilment to Micro Scooters in 2012. A key factor in the decision to appoint Spark was our ability to meet seasonal demand, whilst offering the flexibility in fulfilment out of season.

With Micro Scooters achieving such phenomenal growth over the past few years, and having outgrown their own warehouse, they also required a fulfilment partner who could provide a foundation for their ongoing growth.

Particularly in managing order fulfilment for their hundreds of independent retail and department store customers.

Managing trade order fulfilment efficiently presents unique challenges. Hugely diverse order quantities, specific labelling and product identifications, unique delivery processes, pallet dimensions, and other factors all apply. 

Couple this with the surge in demand leading up to Christmas, and often, you can have quite a headache. By outsourcing order fulfilment to an external provider, inevitably a brand will hand over control over their stock, and depending on the location, they may find themselves hundreds of miles from their inventory.

In Micro Scooters’ case, those concerns were soon diminished. With Spark providing both eCommerce and trade fulfilment, we’re able to utilise shared inventory, reducing the overall stock holding and removing the headaches felt.

By providing scalability and flexibility to brands, we’ve allowed them to concentrate on their core business, product development, sales, marketing, and planning for further growth.

With Christmas 2013 behind us, we look forward to seeing how successful 2014 will be for our friends at Micro Scooters.

Peter Slee can be contacted on 0191 495 9999 or email him by clicking on this link.

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