The End of Financial Year (EOFY) is upon us. Understanding the nuances of this season and the opportunities for retailers – and challenges – it presents is key for businesses aiming to thrive in today’s competitive market.

This time of year not only influences immediate sales, but also shapes financial strategies and inventory decisions that can impact a retailer’s success for peak and the flow on effect for the next fiscal year.

While the EOFY might not carry the same weight as the main events like Black Friday, Boxing Day Sales, and the pre-Christmas rush – it remains an important period for retailers given the current state of consumer spending habits.

According to Shippit data, while consumer spending does soften for much of the year, pent-up demand releases in the form of major sales spikes during key retail periods. This pattern underscores the importance of creating urgency around EOFY sales as a strategic opportunity for retailers to capitalise on. 

So, how can retailers maximise success during key selling events?

Enhancing the post-purchase experience 

Sales events lead to first time customers and first time customers need a compelling reason to become loyal, repeat customers. A recent Jarden x Shippit study found that 78% of consumers value the post-purchase experience, with 35% considering it extremely important.

Over 50% of customers would avoid a brand after a poor delivery experience, underscoring the pivotal role of the post-purchase experience in customer retention. Tracking performance of your customers’ first-time delivery experiences is emerging as a key metric for successful retailers.

Retailers should focus on creating seamless delivery experiences, starting with clear checkout confirmations, delivery estimates and personalised messages and delivery options. Transparent, real-time updates and proactive communication are crucial, even during delays.

Flexible delivery options and a branded end to end experience can enhance satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases. Optimising these touchpoints can transform occasional shoppers into loyal advocates, driving sustained business growth. Returns are a core part of the post-purchase experience. Ensure you’re set up to seamlessly handle returns, and that you make your policies clear, well in advance of the original purchase.

Optimising demand forecasting and inventory 

Advanced analytics, once a luxury, have become indispensable for retailers aiming to efficiently allocate and monitor inventory across stores and fulfilment centres. While traditional methods relied on analysing historical online and offline sales, modern retailers must now integrate real-time and external data—such as seasonal trends and weather events—that can influence product demand and delivery operations in specific locations.

Predictive planning and demand forecasting is no longer costly or intimidating. Platforms like Shippit Insights provide retailers with real-time data on transit times and delays across major routes and carriers in Australia. For delivery fleets, through AI we’re able to increase ‘drop density’ – the volume of parcels a driver can deliver in a given time – by 23%. This level of insight not only enables precise planning but also enables effective communication with customers and suppliers, ensuring a smoother, more responsive retail operation.

Streamlining fulfilment processes 

By streamlining fulfilment processes, retailers can handle higher order volumes. Embracing automation, such as barcode scanning and automated order picking systems, ensures precise inventory management and reduces errors, enhancing customer satisfaction through quicker delivery speeds as a result. Fulfilment can be automated for retailers of all sizes, whether it’s small businesses automating the printing of shipping labels, or national chains investing into AI and fully automated distribution centres.

Ultimately, investments in automation and system integration not only streamline operations and reduce labour costs, but also ensure timely and accurate deliveries, boosting customer satisfaction. Consequently, retailers are better equipped to manage demand surges, maintain high service levels, and drive profitability. 

Enhancing last mile delivery solutions 

Enhancing last mile delivery solutions is paramount in today’s market, especially as eCommerce penetration grows. This shift has seen eCommerce giants like Amazon begin to win the loyalty of millions of Australians. Physical retail stores are now integral to a larger supply chain network focused on omni-channel fulfilment and enhanced operational efficiency. To thrive in this new retail era, retailers must reimagine last mile strategies, incorporating supply chain agility and leveraging stores as hubs for faster, efficient deliveries.

Key strategies include using micro-fulfillment centres in urban areas to reduce transit times and fuel usage, and partnering with platforms that have a range of carriers – such as electric vehicles or bicycle fleets – to minimise the environmental impact. Additionally, integrating AI in supply chain operations enhances decision-making, demand prediction, and capacity planning, leading to innovative logistics solutions. Balancing margin protection with sustainability investments can strengthen customer connections and competitive positioning in the last mile delivery landscape. 

EOFY is critical on numerous fronts. Not only does it represent another opportunity to drive short-term sales with shoppers who are increasingly waiting for sales events, but because it sets the tone for the upcoming fiscal year. Shoppers will continue to be more discerning in the months ahead, but the retailers who can optimise their delivery, streamline fulfilment and master the last mile will be ideally positioned to incentivise loyalty and increase revenue, irrespective of what the year ahead holds.

Rob Hango-Zada is co-founder and co-CEO of Shippit.