Planning for the Holidays: eCommerce Shipping Guide
It may be hard to think about holiday sales during the sweltering summer. But eCommerce merchants often start their planning now so that they're ready for the shopping influx.
Much of holiday sales is focused on shipping. Not only can smooth shipping policies help increase sales and conversion, but effective management can also help you lower costs and improve your bottom line.
Increase Sales, Offer Free Shipping
Many shoppers do their research online but buy at their local brick & mortar because they don’t want to pay for shipping. Free shipping is a big draw, especially during the winter shopping season, so consider offering your shoppers this holiday bonus. At the very least, offer reasonable shipping rates.
Post Your Holiday Deadlines
USPS has yet to release its holiday shipping deadlines, but when they do, make sure your customers know the latest they can order to ensure that their holiday packages arrive on time, whether they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year's Day.
Stock up on Supplies
Make sure you have everything you need – boxes, mailers, tape, bubble wrap, postage. If you run out, you could waste a lot of time and money trying to locate more.
Get Your Shipping System in Place
Whether you use USPS, FedEx, UPS or another shipping company, it's important that you have your shipping process running smoothly before the holidays hit. If shoppers catch you unprepared come December, it could be difficult to fix any problems quickly. Multicarrier online shipping software, like ShipWorks can help streamline your process and save you time so you can concentrate on your selling strategy. ShipWorks downloads your orders and makes it easy to create shipping labels, manage customers and emails, and update the online status of each order.
Save Time and Money, Ship Online
Save on postage when you use the U.S. Postal Service’s online services. Not only do you save money, but you also save time. Just order free Priority Mail and Express Mail supplies from USPS.com, and they’ll be delivered right to your door. You can create labels, pay postage by credit card, and even purchase insurance online. Then let the USPS know your packages are ready, and your mail carrier will pick them up. Afterwards you can easily view your shipping history.
Remember, priority mail ships at a flat rate, so no matter how heavy your items, you can ship whatever can fit in one box for one price.
Print Once with PayPal Multiorder Shipping
Print up to 50 domestic USPS shipping labels at one time, complete with postage, right from your PayPal account. You pay postage costs, but the service is free.
If you also use the USPS SCAN form, postal employees can scan the bar codes for every package in your shipment at once. You and your customers are then able to use USPS' Track & Confirm tool to verify that a package was actually sent.
Join in National Free Shipping Day
Free Shipping Day this year is December 17, when more than 2,000 merchants offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. Join them to stay competitive.
Attract the Last-Minute Shopper
Offer expedited shipping options during the two weeks before Christmas (when traditional retail stores do the most business), so buyers feel comfortable doing their last-minute shopping with you.
Ship as Fast as Santa
You may not have a lightning fast reindeer-led sleigh, but you are able to ship within 24 hours of an order. When people have to get their gifts in time for the holidays, speediness is imperative if you want to grow a happy and loyal customer base.
Subscribe to Delay Alerts
Some shipping providers email notifications of any weather delays that affect your delivery dates. If you get the information early, you can adjust your schedule before one of your shoppers has a gift-giving fiasco.
Reassess Your Shipping Providers
If you offer multiple shipping providers, determine which ones your customers are using the most. If few shoppers are using a certain service, removing it might save you some money.