The Black Friday and Christmas rush is fast approaching. To stay on top of your orders and have them arrive on time, we’ve outlined some crucial steps to remember at this time of year when it comes to ecommerce shipping.
#1 Not knowing carrier cutoff dates
If a parcel doesn’t arrive by 24th December, it’s not going to be delivered in time for Christmas. Make sure that any delivery services you use will let the parcels arrive in time to be opened.
Knowing the last posting dates for your preferred services is a good step towards satisfied customers. When customers don’t receive their parcel in time for the holidays, you have to deal with negative reviews, potential returns, and, of course, lost sales.
#2 Not communicating carrier cutoff dates
Along the same lines, your customers need to know when they should place their orders by.
In a study ShipStation conducted around consumer shipping preferences, it was discovered that while customers prefer free, slow delivery for themselves, they are also 75% more willing to pay more for expedited shipping when they’re buying a gift. This means as the end of the holiday rush approaches, customers are willing to pay more to have their friends’ and family’s packages delivered on time – you just need to communicate the estimated delivery dates to the customers.
If it’s 20th December, customers need to know that your cheapest delivery options probably wouldn’t arrive in time. Highlighting how an express service will arrive by Christmas Eve is crucial.
#3 Not displaying returns policies
Returns may seem like an afterthought, but customers are increasingly concerned with return policies. In fact, we found that 72% of consumers factor a company’s return policy into their final purchasing decision. With the increased pressure of holiday cutoffs and the possibility of a holiday gift return or exchange, returns are even more important.
Prominently display your returns policy on the checkout page. Also, be sure to highlight any exchange program you have.
One major concern around returns is how cumbersome the process can be. No-hassle returns are especially important. One thing you can do is use something like a self-service return portal. When returning a product is as easy as ordering the item, customers are more trusting of your brand. Even if they never plan on returning a product, this is a hallmark of quality that can establish greater consumer confidence.
#4 Waiting too long to ship orders
Whether a customer wants expedited or free delivery, the length of time they have to wait for their shipping confirmation can feel like an eternity. This is why quickly sending orders out is a must. Regardless of the shipping time, the sooner a customer can start tracking their package, the sooner they breathe a sigh of relief. Staying on top of order fulfilment can be difficult, but it leads to more repeat customers.
Offering free “Same-Day Shipping” or “Next-Day Shipping” is a great way to incentivise customers to shop with you. This doesn’t mean a customer receives their order within 24 hours of placing it. It just simply means that you’ll send out an order on the day it’s placed. Using delivery management software is a great way to stay on top of your order volume.
#5 Waiting to order supplies
The holiday rush is busy for everyone. Customers, retailers, and suppliers all feel the pressure to have everything they need. As such, if you run out of boxes or labels in the middle of a big holiday rush, there’s a chance that your suppliers are too. And even the most advanced order management system in the world can’t work if you don’t have the materials or items needed to ship out an order.
Have all the supplies you need before mid-November to make sure that your holiday orders can be fulfilled smoothly.
So, there you have it, five ecommerce shipping mistakes to avoid this holiday season. By putting these top tips into practice, you can stay on top of your orders and help keep your customers satisfied.
Looking for some more ecommerce inspo this holiday season? Check out Swanky’s 11 Christmas marketing ideas, guaranteed to add some seasonal sparkle to your store!