By Rosa Portocarrero, Product Manager

Fulfillment has quickly become one of the hot topics this year. Not only did it seem to have a strong presence at earlier this month, but it has also been making headlines in industry news. FedEx and UPS, for example, have been talking about making investments to enhance their shipping capabilities. And based on data from BI Intelligence portrayed in a recent Chart of the Day, it’s obvious why.

Last year, shipping companies were unprepared for the massive demand in deliveries, resulting in delayed gifts for the holidays. According to BI Intelligence, there were 53M package shipments across UPS and FedEx on the busiest day of the season; this year, it’s predicted to increase to 58M.

Retailers need to ensure they have a plan in place to get customers their purchases on time, delivered in a cost-effective way.

One option to consider is to implement an omni-channel order management strategy, which would allow retailers to extend fulfillment operations to the store, enable buy online/pick-up in store options, and offer pre-order transactions. But to do this effectively, retailers need to have global inventory visibility; they need to know what’s on hand, on hold or back-ordered.

Fulfillment will be the challenge of the season, especially when you consider weather as an unpredictable variable that needs to be accounted for.

So, ask yourself: are you ready to process and ship every order your customers place during the holidays?

Check out some additional thoughts from Adam Forrest on what new shopping behaviors could arise this holiday shopping season.