Holidays are a hectic time for businesses, especially when you are dealing with products that need to be shipped. While this is a busy time for everyone, you have to consider certain things to prepare your business. Begin by putting a plan in place to avoid the opportunity for hiccups. It should be clear to steer clear of poor packaging, high costs, un-clear ship times, tracking issues, and more. These things may seem like small issues, but to an angry customer during the holidays, it could be enough to break a relationship beyond repair. This blog features shipping tips, so your company can succeed in the busiest season of all:
Communicate a Clear Cut-Off Date for Delivery
Being able to meet deadlines is as important to your customers as it is to you when it comes to the holidays. There would be no point in ordering a gift if it doesn’t arrive on time. A late package creates inconvenience for your customers, and that’s the last thing you want to do. Set a cut-off date for guaranteed delivery before a specific date to avoid upsetting customers and minimizing returns after the fact. Once you decide on this date(s), reiterate it as many times as possible to ensure no confusion occurs. Share the cut-off date on your social media, website, emails, checkout page, and wherever else feels necessary.
Advertise Special Holiday Offers
Everyone loves a discount. Your company can stand out from competitors by offering special deals during the holidays. Shipping may seem like a small fee, but it can make a difference for a lot of people when the total is presented to them. Your company could run a promotion where all customers who spend a certain amount get free shipping. This could prompt individuals to add a few items to their cart to reach that deal. Customers could also decide to buy more so they can save on shipping instead of purchasing from somewhere else and paying their shipping fee. If you can afford to do it, free shipping could set your company apart from your competition and gain more business.
Plan for Delays
With the high demand for shipping of products during the holiday season, you have to plan for delays. Planning for delays will help keep your packages ahead or right on time and never late. When you know that there are going to be delays, it’s essential to choose a cut-off date accordingly.
While online shopping is expected and predicted during the holiday season, being in the middle of a pandemic adds a bit of a twist to things. More people than ever will be opting for online purchases to avoid crowded stores and long lines, which increases the wait time for package deliveries. Being aware of carrier deliveries to relay to your customers is essential at this time of year. Many carriers will release their shipping deadlines for delivery by a specific date, so it’s best to do your research and stay caught up on this information.
Carefully Wrap and Pack Items
A busy holiday season is no excuse when it comes to packaging. All items need to be delivered safely to customers. If it is wrapped properly there will be no worry of broken items, which can leave a horrible impression on your customers. You want them to know that your company cares about their order and is there to protect it at all costs. To avoid any mishaps, be sure to stock up on shipping and packaging supplies. Preparing will help keep items from being damaged and will also help save time in the process.
Use bubble wrap or tissue paper to wrap the items, appropriately-sized boxes, packing peanuts, airbags, and more to keep products safe in the box. To secure the box closed, use packing tape, and label the box with any special instructions. Whoever is handling the box should know if it needs to stay a certain way or if an item inside is fragile. Label the box with a permanent marker with large letters to ensure whoever needs to see it can.
Provide Tracking Information
As the holidays approach and people are waiting for their packages, stress can set in. Be sure that you can offer to track information, so your customers always know where their packages are and when they will be delivered. Some people need more reassurance than most, but everyone waits with anticipation around the holiday season.
While the holidays are such a time-sensitive situation, customers should always have access to the details they need to track the progress of their delivery. Providing access helps both ends because the customers feel informed, and your company can monitor the delivery process to make sure everything is running smoothly. A tracking system will create a positive experience for customers, leaving the opportunity for more business after the holidays.
Prepare Return Policy
No matter what, you are going to have customers return their products. It doesn’t matter if the quality was perfect, delivery was timely, and the service was incredible. That’s the thing about buying gifts: you don’t always get it perfect. There are going to be things that don’t fit and need exchanging or even stuff that people don’t like. Be prepared for these situations by creating a return policy.
Having a concrete procedure in place will keep things flowing smoothly and effortlessly. It helps reduce problems you may have otherwise had with their customers and even your staff. You can extend the period of returns, to avoid an excessive flow of customers at once. Doing this will decrease the amount of stress on both ends.
The holidays are stressful. Customers are rushing to get their online orders in, and businesses are racing to fulfill them. Making sure there is a plan in place is an essential part of successful holiday shipping. Follow the shipping tips in this blog to keep your holiday season as stress-free as possible.