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10 Shipping Tips to Help You Survive the Holiday

November 21, 2011

Any other time of the year you may have become a little more lax with the intensity of shipping your orders but holiday season is a whole other playing field. It's not too early to warm up those shipping muscles, double-check those inventory lists, and streamline your order fulfillment processes — the holidays will be here before you know it!

To help you make the most of this holiday selling season, we have refreshed our list of 10 Holiday Shipping Season Tips.

  1. Hammer out the final details of your holiday campaign pushes. Make sure to include Black Friday (11/25), Cyber Monday (11/28) and Free Shipping Day (12/16) into your calendar of events to run creative promotions for. Maybe you want to do shipping promotions, discount coupons, or offer free gifts to loyal customers; give your buyers an incentive to buy from you.
  2. Offer free shipping or free upgraded shipping promotions. Shipping options are strong conversion tools. Free or discounted shipping is one of the top things buyers look for when comparing different sites for the same products. Give them peace of mind when they feel like they're getting a great deal, and better yet, guarantee shipping to arrive before Christmas day.
  3. Test your e-commerce infrastructure. Now is a good time to test and troubleshoot your technology especially the shopping cart and order inventory management so there won't be the need to hotfixes, apologies and emergencies during the influx of orders!
  4. Set up a timer: countdown till the holidays! Build up the suspense! Perhaps it's a friendly reminder, or maybe it's subtle inception to “get it now before it's too late”. Implementing a countdown box can lead to impulse buying and increased conversions.
  5. Check your checkout and automate returns. A hassle-free shopping experience is a happy shopping experience. Provide a decent selection of shipping options so customers are not unpleasantly surprised and review your return policy to make sure everything is up-to-date, seamless and straightforward.
  6. Provide shipment ETAs and last day to ship guidelines. This way you are not bombarded with “where is it” queries and can focus on getting orders out. FedEx and USPS provide specific dates by which certain types of orders should be shipped. Keep in mind that December 20th, and 21st are peak volume days for most of the carriers, and that anything you can do to get orders in earlier on those days (or over the weekend) helps.
  7. Slip in some marketing goodies. Could you target your audience any more specifically? This would be a great opportunity to include a marketing insert, a free sample, or a discount coupon to win repeat business.
  8. Stock up on top-selling merchandise. This goes without saying. If you're using Shipwire's order fulfillment services, make sure to have your bestselling products out to the Shipwire warehouse locations as soon as possible to prevent unfortunate out-of-stock disappointments for your fans.
  9. Fine-tune your website. You can streamline your website with methods such as search-optimizing your products and making sure your pricing is consistent throughout site and other marketplaces where you may have them listed.
  10. Market yourself with festive cheer! Whether it's an email newsletter with the latest promotions or ramping up your social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter, make it easy for your customers and fans to know what buzz is going on.

Nate Gilmore

Nate is the Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Shipwire. He oversees channel development and the developer network, as well as our marketing and public relations. Previously, Nate spent six years at Concentric (acquired by XO Communications), where he ran product management, sales, and marketing. Nate has also held various legal positions in intellectual property and business law. He holds a B.A. in History and a J.D. from Santa Clara University.