The countdown is on to the holiday season, and with major events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas fast approaching, retailers need to make sure their digital presence is in tip-top shape.
From stock management, to marketing, through to packing and shipping – every component needs to be ready for an influx.
And this year, customer expectations will be higher than ever.
According to ShipStation, 45 percent of Aussie consumers spent more in 2020 than they did in 2019, while 33 percent expect to spend more in 2021 than they did in 2020.
In addition, 56 percent of Aussies say they will still prefer to shop online instead of in-store, even after the pandemic is over.
With this in mind, retailers need shipping partners and solutions that will help them not only meet but exceed expectations.
Here are four things you can do now to ensure peak season success.
1. Get planning
Before the season kicks into high gear, you need to make sure every aspect of your ecommerce business is ready for the holiday rush.
To do this, ShipStation’s The Ultimate SMB Holiday Prep Guide recommends first testing your infrastructure to ensure you can handle a surge. Also, check that your payment and shipping options work the way you want them to.
Next, determine holiday promotions in advance and feature them prominently on your site. Create a calendar to keep organised and on schedule through the hectic holiday season.
Your inventory is also essential to a successful holiday season so purchase carefully. Start with research. What items will likely be hot sellers this year? Next, review your previous sales data. What sold well before? What items did you run out of that you should stock more of this year? The answers to these questions should inform your purchasing plans.
2. Automate shipping tasks
Most e-commerce retailers don’t have the luxury of a ‘one-size fits all’ postage process. Depending on where your package needs to be sent, its weight, the customer-requested postage speed, etc. you may need to adjust postage settings or the fulfilment process.
These intricacies to online shipping are inevitable, but often tedious and error-prone. Automating tasks helps enable increased efficiency and accuracy in the fulfilment process, while also saving time and money.
Shipping automation rules are one way to optimise workflows. Shipping automation rules are actions that you want to apply to a set of orders that meet certain criteria.
Almost any shipping-related task for your online store can be automated. For example, rules may include default settings for international orders, insurance for orders over a certain dollar amount or specific carrier services for remote or regional deliveries.
If implemented properly, automated shipping means having a business model that can handle whatever is thrown at it.
3. Make returns easy
An effective, streamlined returns process is vital, especially during peak periods.
It’s easy to maintain brand relevance and keep your customers in the loop with ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal.
You can customise confirmation, tracking, and delivery confirmation emails to be sure the returns policy is included in each email you send to update customers.
Also, consider offering scan-based return labels. Through ShipStation you can print a return label to include in your outbound shipments, which makes returns easy for customers.
This is ideal for the majority of shoppers who want self-serve returns solutions.
4. Invest in email
Shipping confirmation emails may seem mundane, but they are an excellent opportunity to incorporate your brand and build loyalty with your customers.
A shipping solution like ShipStation will align your shipping process with branded shipping and delivery emails.
ShipStation automatically sends customised shipping and delivery notification emails to your customers.
Keeping your brand messaging clear across platforms and customer touchpoints will build brand awareness and loyalty among your customers.
A solution like ShipStation will ensure buyers are automatically informed about the status of their purchases – minimising the cost of human error and building trust for your business.
To find out more, sign up for a 30-day free trial with ShipStation.
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