Sendle’s holiday shipping guide
Get it there on time!
Nobody wants their Christmas presents to arrive after that fateful and bedazzled day. That’s real sad. So, ship your stuff by the cutoff dates!
Some awesome tips for holiday shipping
We know there’s a ton to do over the holiday season. Simplify all the work by being prepared.
Look at last year and learn from it. Which products sold like gangbusters? Stock up on those and pre-pack a certain quantity for quick and easy shipping.
Plan for the busy times. What were your busiest days last year? If it was a struggle to get it all done, think about hiring some warehouse temps to make it all go a little more smoothly.
Don’t run out! Where would you be without the boxes and shipping supplies you need. Again, look at the previous year and project that into this year’s shipping rush. That box you kept grabbing over and over again, ream after ream of packing paper, stacks on stacks of packing tapes rolls, and a surplus of labels.
Pack it like you mean it. If your package can’t withstand a toss across the warehouse, it isn’t packed well enough. Since you can’t be sure of what shenanigans occur between yourself and your customer, make absolutely sure that you pack your shipments for the worst. Plenty of cushioning and a lack of internal rattling will ensure your package will go the distance, safely.
Things can and will go wrong. Keep that in mind. Just as you should add cushion to your packages, so should you add cushion to the delivery time. Try to aim for early delivery so you (and more importantly, your customers) won’t be disappointed when a delay occurs.
Watch for typos! It is a real bummer for you and your customer when an address is entered incorrectly. While sometimes this is unavoidable, keep an eye out to ensure that the address is real and correct.
No spoilers! If you are shipping perishables, make sure you ship them out on Monday or Tuesday with expedited shipping (2-day should work). You don’t want your precious cargo sitting around a depot all weekend long and neither do your customers.
Insure against loss. If you are regularly shipping expensive merchandise, make sure you add insurance to cover incidental loss and damage. Even with the best carrier, mistakes happen. At least you can get reimbursed if it does happen to you.
Broadcast your ship-by dates. Find a good way to tell your customers when they need to ship their Christmas gifts by. Create a banner on your site, send out some holiday planning emails, create a countdown timer—whatever you need to do to keep your customer in the know.
Popular holiday shipping offers to consider
The holidays are a great time to offer up limited deals on shipping to drive shoppers to purchase. They have the opportunity to buy from a lot of vendors, so you want to make sure that your store is the one they choose.
Here are some options to woo them:
Site-Wide 2-Day Shipping: Like it or not, consumers are now expecting super quick delivery. If you can offer 2-day shipping site-wide (with regional caveats), your shoppers are more likely to purchase. Even better, with a positive post-purchase experience, they are likely to come back. You can either make this a free offering for a limited time or a simple flat-rate option.
Totally Free Shipping: While the cost of shipping for shoppers may not be that significant, it has become a psychological barrier to purchase. Free shipping removes that barrier and translates to increased conversions. By increasing product prices a little, unconditional free shipping becomes a feasible option.
Conditional Free Shipping: When the idea of unconditional free shipping is too much to bear, you can still offer it up with conditions. That may be with a minimum cart value ($35 is common) or on certain products. This is a great way to still offer up free shipping while driving your customers to buy more per order.
Members-Only Free Shipping: One more way to offer limited free shipping is to give it only to paying members (think Amazon Prime). This encourages a strong relationship with your member customers and gives them a consistent reward for their loyalty.
Flat-Rate Shipping: If free shipping isn’t in the cards for your business, another way to lessen the sting from shipping costs is to go flat-rate and make those prices known early on. No matter what they get, same flat rate. This incentivizes larger orders and makes the shipping less of a nasty surprise on the other side of the cart.
Optimize for sales and avoid cart abandonment
Your website is an experience. The better the experience, the more likely shoppers are to buy. What your shoppers most want is an easy and intuitive path to purchase.
So, to boost your eCommerce sales you need to pay attention to how they navigate, what excites them, what drives them away.
At the end of their journey, with their cart filled to the brim, they can still just leave. To reduce cart abandonment, you’ve got to get rid of surprises, make the process friction-free, and keep them informed.
To learn more about boosting sales and reducing cart abandonment, check out our guide.
No holiday season is complete without a list. But Santa shouldn’t be the only person making one and checking it twice. Retailers could always do with more checkable lists.
From awesome tape guns to reliable label printers, there are a number of items that can make or break a holiday rush. We’ve put together a checklist just for you. You might want to check it twice.
Keep returns in mind
Taking returns is not a particularly romantic part of the retail story, but it is important nonetheless. Many a consumer expects their retailer to take back whatever ware they had second thoughts about.
And that’s OK! But, you can always do your best to prevent returns by giving the customer as much information as possible (accurate product descriptions, sizing guides, great photos, customer reviews, etc).
Where you can’t prevent returns, you want to make them easy for the customer. Respect the customer experience and you will retain great customers. We even wrote about how a good return policy can help grow your small business.
And, of course, you aren’t required to take returns if you don’t want to. Just make it known.
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