Santa Claus has it easy. With a workshop full of elves making and wrapping presents, and magic reindeer to fly him around the world, he doesn’t have to worry whether or not little children will wake up to presents under the tree. Online retailers, however, aren’t so lucky. Not only do you have to make and stock your products, you have to deal with the hassle of getting them to customers during the busiest shipping time of the year.
With 44% of Americans shopping online last year, and more than 40% of them waiting to start their holiday shopping until December1, e-commerce businesses have unique challenges during the holiday rush. If you don’t have your own elves and reindeer, here are three things that you can you do to prepare for the holiday season and make sure that your customers get their orders on time.
1. Know shipping deadlines and service options The major shipping carriers have released their 2014 holiday calendars, including operating hours and deadlines. FedEx: Holiday calendar & Last days to ship UPS: Holiday calendar & Last days to ship USPS: Holiday calendar & Last days to ship
Although we recommend getting orders out as early as possible, here are the absolute last days that you have to get orders out the door in order for them to arrive by Christmas:
2. Inform your customers Last-minute shoppers will be scouring your site for items to ship to their loved ones. Make sure to clearly post your holiday shipping deadlines to set clear expectations and prevent disappointment. Try displaying them in several places, such as a blog article, in your shipping FAQ, and during checkout. 3. Use shipping software to speed up your order processing
Order management software like Webgility and Shiplark connects to your online store and your shipping carriers to make shipping faster and more efficient. Print labels in batches and use default settings to save you precious time. Make sure to validate addresses to prevent delayed or returned packages.
With these tips and a little planning, you’ll be all set for the holiday shipping season, no elves required.
References: 1. National Retail Federation