Prep for peak season with our holiday eCommerce checklist

From chatbots and cheery communication to staff hires and good tape, it doesn’t hurt to be extra prepared for eCommerce’s busiest time of year: the holiday season.

The onslaught of retail demand around the holidays can often catch small businesses out. We don't want you snoozing through Christmas dinner because you’ve been packing last-minute orders until the early hours.

So, before you batten down the hatches and coax your bestie over to pack shipments with you, make sure you’ve given yourself all the tools to get things done as smoothly as possible.

The holiday season is now in full swing, and so should you be too. If you’re feeling behind, don’t panic. Here’s how to keep your customers happy (and your sanity intact) this holiday season.

Prep mid-sales peak promotions

This year, be mindful of budget-conscious shoppers feeling the heat from inflation.

Offering discounts (like free shipping) throughout the entire season – not just the final sprint – can entice those counting on early bird rewards to keep their budget in check this season.

Quality tape guns

 

A reliable sales forecast

If you’ve survived the holiday season before, look over your sales history, make a note of what sold well, and ensure you have plenty of those in stock.

Turning down customers because you’ve sold out is disappointing – for both you and them!

It’s also worth preparing your bestsellers ahead of time. Spend a few afternoons prepping, wrapping and packaging those crowd favorites so all you have to do is slap on a label.

It adds up quick!

person on their laptop checking sales
 
 

Send it with Sendle

 
 

A chatbot

These are helpful for larger businesses needing to handle an onslaught of customer queries.

If you’re finding there are times of the day when you, or your team, can’t answer all questions quickly enough, a chatbot could offer some much-needed relief. They are automated, provide 24/7 support, and save you having to pay an employee.

A solid chatbot also keeps customers from buying elsewhere and can offer a good customer experience.

That said, chatbots are only ever as good as the code that made them, so make sure you’ve programmed yours with as much data as possible.

They can also be a bit on the dear side. So, for the solopreneurs, side hustlers and small business owners, at the very least prepare automated email responses to let shoppers know you’ll be in touch ASAP.

person in front of their ipad chatting

 

Some temporary staff

If your business needs the human touch or you need an extra pair of hands for picking and packing, get some help!

If you know you’ll be busy, don’t try and do everything alone. You might end up disappointing yourself and your customers.

A temporary staff member can also give you the opportunity to fully absorb how your processes are holding up during the holiday rush.

It’s worth the expense, so you as the business owner can have some space to learn and oversee things as well.

person on their laptop with stack of boxes

 

Batch printing capability

Rather than print each order as it comes in, save yourself a lot of time by printing them all at once with batch printing.

If you’re getting a flood of orders every day, pick a few times throughout your packing session where you stop, print out a stack of labels, and apply them.

That could also be a good time for a quick dance around the house to save your back!

Don’t know how to batch print? With Sendle, it’s easy. Check out our batch printing guide (for AU and for the US).

batch printing and single printing toggle sendle

 

Stock up on those packing materials

There’s nothing worse than discovering, mid-packing frenzy, that you’re out of tape or your bubble wrap roll is finished.

Before the season gets into full swing, make a note of every step in your packing process, from tissue paper, to thank you cards, to packing peanuts, to late night chocolate covered coffee beans, and stock up.

You can always go the sustainable route, in which case, you should check out our big guide to sustainable packaging.

stack of packaging boxes

 

Dedicated shipping pages and FAQs

Help customers help themselves by providing them information on shipping times and other questions on your site.

Include basic details such as your shipping and return policies and how your customer can track their package, as well as specific Christmas information like delivery cut-off dates and sales. Making the experience as easy as possible is key to keeping customers and increasing sales.

A well considered shipping page can free up you and your staff for complex or unique queries. And don't forget, Sendle has 100% carbon neutral returns.

 

An international shipping option

No one wants to lug gifts from home when they head overseas for Christmas, especially since nearly 50% of Australians have a parent from overseas.

If you don’t already offer international shipping, the holiday season is a good time to start. That way you can reach those global markets and increase your customer pool.

Check out our guide to going global.

Note: We don't yet offer international shipping in the US, but we're working close!

International shipping option

 

Lots of payment options

Help people speed through the checkout with a few different payment options, like PayPal, AfterPay, and Zip.

And make sure there are no extra fees or additions that appear at the checkout.

Include all pricing from the start of the journey. Surprise costs are horrible!

International shipping option

 

Print out your shipping cutoff dates

Stick this on your fridge, on your front door, behind your eyelids!

If your products aren’t delivered in time for Christmas, you’ll be left with disappointed customers who won't be back next year.

Christmas is the busiest time of year for shipping, so pay close attention to when the last day you can send your packages is.

And make sure you clearly communicate that with your customers, whether that’s via a banner, a pop-up notification, or a few helpful emails.

Check out Sendle shipping cutoff dates for Australia. Canada and the US will be available in a day or so.

person geting paper out a printer

 

Content marketing

Creating your own ‘gift guide’ or an ‘ultimate guide to buying for X’ is a terrific asset to roll out sooner rather than later.

It gives you a reason to email customers and nudge them towards your store and is an opportunity to engage in a bit of cross-promotion with other businesses.

Do some light SEO keyword research and you never know who will land on your page during their Google travels.

The more the merrier, right?

small business illustartion marketing

 

Thank you cards

People adore small business because of that personal touch.

But when you’ve been packing shipments past midnight, writing out a loving thank you note might be too much to stomach!

Spend some time writing up your thank you notes before things get too crazy… like now. It can feel like a waste of time or unnecessarily ambitious but trust us, sales will pick up soon and you’ll rather feel over-prepared than under-prepared.

Before you know it, you’ll be dreaming of a time when things were quieter...

Thank you cards

 

Have a chillout activity! 💆🏻

With some luck (and preparation!) Christmas will be a terrific time for your business.

Whether it’s a dip in the ocean, a dinner with friends, or even a phone-free night, make sure you give yourself some space to relax and reflect.

Remember, it’s your Christmas too!


Ship sustainably with Sendle

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