Imagine the hundreds of customers ordering from your store after you announce a 50% off sale! Your phone may be buzzing with notifications for orders to be fulfilled while others inquire about your product. How do you handle the holiday rush and the plethora of Christmas sales? Don't worry because we have created this survival guide for handling holiday eCommerce shipping.
The Holiday eCommerce Shipping Timeline
Before we talk about the best practices in holiday shipping, let's first understand the eCommerce shipping timeline. Knowing when holiday shopping starts will help you foresee the number of orders and marketing tools you will need. Based on Statista, holiday retail sales in the U.S. have grown since 2008—prepare and don’t miss out on the surge!
Black Friday is the unofficial start to holiday shopping. It started in 1924 with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. While holiday shopping is a huge moneymaker every year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, consumers are opting to shop online for holiday gifts and are starting earlier than ever.
The New York Times reported that around 3 billion packages were shipped during the holiday season of 2020. That's about 800 million more than in 2019! 2022 isn’t looking to be much different, and if you and your customers don't want to avoid delays you’ll need to inform them of holiday shipping deadlines.
At Stallion Express, we’ve created a list of holiday shipping deadlines and holiday hours for our estimated delivery before December 25. Do you need help shipping your parcels? Worry not, because Stallion Express can help you during the busiest time of the year. Connect with our dedicated support team to access all the eCommerce shipping software and tools available to sellers like you.
It's best to take note of the holiday shipping deadlines because, just like your customers, you and your team also want to spend a stress-free Christmas with your families. By setting up a strategy and teaming up with Stallion Express, your business will be prepared for the massive influx of holiday shipping.
Holiday Shipping Strategies and Best Practices
Having a strategy in place will help you prepare for the busy holiday season. There will be thousands of customers who will be shopping, and businesses will be offering their best deals. To stand out from the competition, you need to amp up your game plan. Below are shipping strategies and best practices to survive holiday shipping eCommerce style.
Stock up on inventory
This is probably one of the most important steps you need to take. As soon as October hits, you’ll need to stock up on inventory. From Halloween until December 25, there will be hundreds or thousands of orders to fulfill. The lack of inventory can affect the flow of your fulfillment process and leave your customers angry and upset.
If your suppliers are living abroad, it may take a while before you receive the stocks. Order before the holiday season and prepare your warehouse. Incorporate new software into your system to ease the workflow. It's also best to prepare for January and February in case of shopping surges and delays.
Prepare the packaging supplies
Aside from ordering inventory, you will also need to prepare packing supplies such as boxes, tape, labels, and bubble wrap. Shipping orders to customers without any damage is critical to the success of your business. It's even more important during the holiday season because the items will be gifted to family and friends.
To ensure the safety of your product, you need to invest in the best packaging materials. Don’t know where to start? Many carriers sell packaging in-house, or you can always do some research online to find the best packaging for your needs. However, you have to note that every carrier has its own policies on shipping methods and packaging restrictions. It’s best to keep a cheat sheet for the important details.
Promote early shopping
To avoid the holiday rush, promote the holiday shipping deadlines on your website or social media accounts. In this way, customers are informed and are encouraged to begin shopping earlier.
Offer free shipping
Customers love free shipping. They often search for products that give the best deals. However, the price of an item isn't enough to attract the customer. When many see a high shipping price, they will abandon their cart and look for another store.
If you want to avoid the risk of cart abandonment, offer them affordable or free shipping. You can price the item higher to cover the shipping cost. Before offering free or low-cost shipping, ensure that it will not hurt your profit margins.
Offer expedited, same day, and next day shipping
Aside from free shipping, you can offer other eCommerce shipping options. Although free shipping is the option that customers love, fast shipping is also important during the holidays. Hence, customers often pick expedited shipping to deliver gifts. The reasoning behind this is that they want to make sure that their gifts arrive in time for Christmas.
To lessen the worry of customers, offer them next day or same-day shipping options. Same-day doesn't mean that the customer receives the order on the same day they purchased it. It means that the parcel will be shipped within 24 hours after the customer places an order. There's a high chance the customer will receive it in just a few days. Plus, it boosts your brand image.
Enhance the checkout process
If you want customers to purchase your items, you need to make their buying experience easy. How? Optimize the checkout process! Make it easy for a customer to buy a product. Redesign your website to capture the holiday season. Also, make it mobile-friendly.
Most customers often buy items using their mobile devices. Capitalizing on this growing trend will help you grow your business. This means that you’ll need to give them the best mobile shopping experience.
Another way to improve the checkout process is to add an address verification system. This will minimize the chance of failed delivery and unhappy customers. Lastly, show all the fees. Customers don't like surprise fees when they receive their package.
Identify the best eCommerce shipping solutions
There are a number of shipping solutions you can choose from, but it's best to work with a trustworthy and reliable shipping solution. Stallion Express helps you deliver your products on time to your customers.
You don't have to worry about your package being lost or damaged during shipment because we always handle them with care. You'll also love our shipping insurance coverage and shipping cost that’s more affordable than other shipping solutions. To know more about us, you can visit our website or contact our dedicated customer support team.
Hook your customers with the best holiday shipping offer
The holidays are the perfect opportunity for you to offer discounts, coupons, and giveaways. You can run a number of giveaways on your social media sites. Another good way to attract new customers is to give coupons to those who recently purchased from your store. Everyone loves a sale or a BOGO (buy one, get one) promo.
Deliver an incredible unboxing experience
We all know packaging is important to protect the item. More than safety, a beautiful and exciting packaging experience has a direct impact on the customer experience. You've probably even watched several unboxing videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Like the vloggers, your customers also get excited when they unwrap a gorgeous package.
As a seller, you need to capitalize on the packaging: use it to showcase your brand and think of it as a first impression to your customers. When they see beautiful packaging, they feel excitement and think positive thoughts about the brand. In the future and whenever they think of your store, they'll instantly remember that first impression.
Win them with your return and refund policy
Let's not forget about the return and refund policy. Offering easy returns helps convince a customer to buy your product. It's because customers want to easily return a product when they aren't satisfied with the item.
Buying a gift for someone else can also be tricky. Customers want to make sure that the person they are giving the gift to is happy. Having a return and refund policy allows them to return the item and exchange it for a different one without any complications.
Give them the best customer service experience
There may be delays or concerns during the shipment process. Oftentimes, customers will bombard you with questions and follow-ups. You need to exercise patience and understanding with your customers. Be kind and courteous, and don't snap at them or ignore them. It won't do you any good to have angry and annoyed customers.
Provide tracking numbers for their orders
To avoid customers from constantly asking you when their package is going to arrive, give them tracking numbers. The tracking number will be typed into the website of the shipping company, and they can view their package's location in real time. The information provided assures them that the gifts they bought will arrive on time.
Planning your shipping strategies is important for a successful holiday season. You need to be prepared for shipping thousands of items and answering hundreds of customer emails. By applying efficient workflow and following these strategies, you can survive the busiest season of the year. Moreover, working with a shipping solution like Stallion Express can boost your sales and quicken your delivery time. To know more about our services, contact us today!