For retailers, peak season is a short month that can make or break a year—that’s why proper preparation is key. Newgistics helps retailers maximize business during peak season, and we know it’s a year-round process. With a little research, communication and planning, you can ensure peak season is as painless as possible. 1. Do your homework Create a forecast by taking in as much information about the season as you can: survey marketplace trends, note competitive intelligence, examine internal data, review historical performance, reach out to your partners to see what they’re expecting, and put that data to work. To keep your forecasts up-to-date and as accurate as possible, you’ll want to continue to monitor all the information you have available throughout the season. 2. Keep in contact Reach out and share your forecast with your major partners to keep them in the loop about what you anticipate for the season. See what they’re expecting, and consider how that may affect your business. When you’re actually in peak season, communication is key. Constant contact is essential to get a good view of how the next day is shaping up, and it allows everyone to make adjustments as necessary. 3. Practice like you want to play It may be inevitable that difficulties arrive in peak season, but with the proper preparation you can make those bumps invisible to your customers. To help achieve this, plan mock peak activities to raise your capacity; put operators in contingency situations to test their abilities to prioritize; and get your process as agile as possible.  Define your top risk points and ensure you have back-up solutions in place. 4. Look back at lessons learned Once things cool down, perform a post-mortem review of the season and bring your  business leaders from across the organization together for a day or two of face-to-face time discussing lessons learned. What did you do well, and where can you improve next season? Were the forecasts accurate, and how can they be improved? What surprised you? Once you have all this information compiled, you’ll have a good roadmap for next year’s peak season.