03 Nov Preparing for the Holiday Rush
The holiday shopping and shipping season has arrived—the most lucrative time of the year for most online businesses. Now is a good time to assess your performance from last holiday season and create a shipping strategy for this one to ensure no orders are missed or delayed.
According to emarketer.com, retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. are expected to rise 16.6% this holiday season as compared to last year. Mobile device commerce (particularly by Smartphone) will be a big source of growth this year, expected to increase by almost 60%. That being said, is your shipping strategy ready to take on an influx of orders?
While shopping trends may vary slightly, examining your data from last year will give a good idea on how much to have on hand for this year. If you were not properly stocked last year, see which items fell short, and what items customer purchased instead. If you drop ship, make sure your feed is in sync with your suppliers. After all, a good shipping strategy is useless if you do not have any product to sell.
Consumers’ expectations rise with the onset of the holiday season so your shipping strategy must reflect this. To come up with an effective approach, examine the following:
- What went right/wrong with last year’s strategy?
- Did you offer free shipping? With this becoming more important to e-consumers during the holidays, make sure you have the best carrier for your needs.
- Did you pay too much to ship your top-selling items? How can you cut costs this year?
- What was your shipping window during peak days?
If there are areas that need improvement from last year, or bottlenecks in your shipping process, fix them now before the orders start streaming in.
Know your Shipping Deadlines
Once you have a strategy in place, you need to review your deadlines with your shipping provider. If an order is placed on December 22nd, for example, will it arrive by Christmas? Most of the major carriers create individual schedules with key dates and deadlines every holiday season so check those before making any promises to your customers. Customers will not be happy if they order a gift that does not arrive in time so make sure the shipping deadlines are communicated to them as well. This will prevent disappointment and an influx of calls and emails to your customer service department.
Before the holiday hits, prepare ahead of time as much as possible. For instance, if you have a particular item that customers order more often during the holidays, pre-pack some of these products so you only need to affix the shipping label and the package can go out the same or next day that the customer orders.
We’re assuming you already know this, but the need to get your orders out around the holidays is imperative. Customers should receive their orders as quickly as possible, so if you can, fulfill orders the same day that they are received. If you expect to send a large order on certain days, talk to your carrier about pickup times or additional pick-ups.
Shipping can make or break your holiday business. If you are looking for a shipping partner that can provide you with fast turnaround shipping any time of year, visit our website today at www.kable.com.