‘Tis the season for reliable shipping … or we can hope it is. For so many businesses, finding a reliable, fast courier service can be the most stressful part of the holiday shipping season.
60% of consumers in the U.S.A choose to buy their Christmas gifts online. Not only this, but recent data suggests that online shopping has shown an increase of 16% in 2018, and is expected to increase yet again for the 2019 holiday season.
With this higher demand comes added pressure for businesses, and a greater chance of shipping problems. Today’s consumers expect fast yet inexpensive shipping. So how can you fulfill your festive duties and provide great holiday shopping?
Let’s look at ways you can maximize the success of your seasonal deliveries.
Your Guide to Holiday Shipping
Below we will go through tips and suggestions to get the most from your courier service and how your business can prepare for the busy festive period.
Your customer service must be excellent and friendly throughout. This means their experience should be smooth and helpful from the moment they visit your website, to the time they receive the parcel.
Are you aware that as many as 70% of customers abandon their online shopping cart because they get confused or disappointed by shipping timings or the questions asked? Make the information as accessible and easy to understand as possible.
Be transparent about deliveries tracking and package arrival and keep to your claims. If you say you’ll deliver within seven days, do so. Customer satisfaction is vital. Keep customers informed and updated.
You also want to ensure you choose a friendly courier service. Sure the parcel may arrive on time, but if the service is unfriendly or unsatisfactory, then your customer will be left unimpressed.
Keep your inventory stocked up during the Christmas season. You don’t want the stress of running out of popular items during this busy time of year.
By running out of popular items, you will create stress for both your business and consumers and also displease customers who will look elsewhere.
If you have to wait for shipment yourself, this will obviously slow down the overall shipping process.
Be ready to ship things as soon as you get the order through. Be prepared, be stocked up. It’s what customers expect of you.
You want a courier service that is fast, reliable, and flexible. Having a service that understands that problems will occur is essential. Look at how the courier service handles things such as accidents, delays, or security.
How do they handle lost, damaged, or stolen packages? Also, discuss what their tracking and insurance policies are. Having security for shipping is especially important for the Christmas season, and people like to be able to track their gifts. It gives peace of mind.
Cover all aspects when choosing your shipping service. Prepare and plan for worst-case scenarios and inevitable problems.
The dread of returns is an inevitability. No matter how seamless you think your service and courier service is, there will always be returns. It’s essential to prepare for this.
What is your business’s return policy? Make sure it’s transparent and clear to customers. Do you have a gift-return system in place for Christmas? These are crucial questions you need to know, as your customers will want to know them too.
Know what your courier service provides in terms of returns. Discuss with them their service and make sure it fits in with what you offer to your customers.
You’d like to provide customers with the fast shopping they desire, but you’re concerned about the costs. How can you get around this?
Regardless of whether your customers pay for shipping or not, shipping isn’t free.
Having a minimum-spend threshold is a way around this. This is where free shipping is offered to customers who spend over a specific minimum set.
It allows you to increase sales while offering customers faster, free delivery at no perceived cost to them.
To do this successfully, your business needs to set the minimum threshold at a price that is higher than the average order value. To calculate this, take the revenue and divide it by the number of orders.
Set a Cut-Off Time
For next-day or same-day delivery, you must set off a cut-off time. This is a service that many customers now expect, and it’s a great enticement to potential customers.
Have a reasonable, early cut-off time (like 9 am), as this can ensure time for the courier service to deliver on the same day. Also, take into account time-zones and locations.
If you have inventory in several locations, time-zones, or countries, this will make it easier and possible to provide this.
If you only have a local business, though, you need to be mindful of delivery limitations and make this clear to customers before purchase.
Make sure your courier service is on-board with your delivery expectations. It’s pointless to offer a service to customers that your courier service cannot carry through.
Last Day to Ship
As with the above point, there’s a cut-off point for shipping. You need to be aware of the courier’s “last days to ship” schedules. Know and understand their program to plan and communicate to customers what to expect.
Ready to Improve Your Holiday Shipping Strategy?
Planning your holiday shipping is essential for a smooth festive season. One aspect of that is implementing a transparent and realistic system, and finding a suitable courier service is another.
You want a delivery service that’s fast, friendly, and flexible. But you also want quality and reliability. It may seem a lot to ask, but it’s what your customers expect, so it’s what you should expect.
For more info, why not contact us today with your questions?