With more consumers shopping online than ever before, and with the peak sales season almost upon us, businesses need to start preparing now for the holiday rush.
If you’re underprepared for the peak season – typically between November and December– you’ll find yourself scrambling to meet demand in the short term and suffering a loss of consumer confidence in the long term.
According to ShipStation, 84 percent of consumers say the delivery experience stands out most when thinking about a purchase, while 87 percent say the shipping and delivery experience directly impacts their decision to shop with the merchant again.
You can position yourself for holiday success by setting up a seamless, easy, enjoyable browsing, and shopping experience.
By doing this, you’ll reap the benefits of peak season shopping and earn yourself many happy repeat customers.
Here are three shipping hacks to help you through peak season and keep customers coming back post-holidays.
1. Automate your shipping process
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.
Automating tasks via rules is a great way to achieve a straightforward, streamlined process. Those rules run when the orders import and automate numerous actions that you would otherwise do manually.
Automation rules allow the highest degree of customisation and let you automate complex shipping requirements. Almost any shipping-related task for your online store can be automated, with rules set to account for any set of circumstances.
ShipStation’s automation rules have helped Salvos Stores, which has shipped more than 50,000 individual orders using ShipStation from over 200 locations around Australia, assign orders to individual stores.
For example, when an online shopper purchases items from multiple store locations via the online store, behind the scenes, the order is split into multiple shipments that are assigned to the individual stores where the item is physically housed.
From there, the store volunteers pack and dispatch the order straight to the customer within 24 hours.
2. Increase order processing speed with Scan to Verify
Scan to verify is a great way to make sure that every item in your order is accounted for. If you’re packing and shipping a lot of orders, it can be tricky to make sure everything is in order, especially during peak season.
Scan to Verify allows retailers to scan a UPC or SKU barcode to confirm the picker has the right items to pack.
This minimises packing errors and provides the ability to apply precise package weight for each shipment.
For Peachymama, Australia’s first post-pregnancy nursing wear specialist, ShipStation’s Scan to Verify has been one of the most impactful features for the business. In fact, since implementing Scan to Verify Peachymama has increased order processing speed by 400 percent.
“Scan to Verify has definitely made the overall fulfilment process faster,” says Owen Bolwell, Head of Ecommerce & Digital, Peachymama. “You are reducing human error by potentially picking the wrong item because [Scan to Verify] flags if there are any issues.”
Owen explains that “in our business, you can have different styles of clothing items but the same colour, which can be mixed up. For example, you could have a green t-shirt in a v-neck, but accidentally select a green t-shirt scoop neck, but when you Scan to Verify it will flag that for us, which is a great feature.”
Scan to Verify has also helped reduce Peachymama’s dependency on manual labour, which in turn reduces labour costs within Peachymama’s warehouse team.
3. Offer visibility and flexibility with returns
Your returns policy can directly impact consumer satisfaction and their decision to purchase in the future.
According to ShipStation, more than 50 percent of consumers say a retailer’s overall return policy is a major consideration when purchasing online.
Therefore, it’s important to optimise returns as much as possible leading up to and during the busy holiday season. A quick turnaround process is a better experience for the consumer but also gets the unwanted product back into stock and available to sell.
ShipStation’s Ultimate Holiday Prep Guide recommends providing real time visibility into returns. With the help of 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.
The guide also suggests offering scan-based return labels. Through ShipStation you can print a return label to include in your outbound shipments, which makes returns incredibly easy for your customers.
Consumers increasingly want to avoid contacting customer service to initiate returns. With this in mind, encourage customer loyalty with flexible returns.
In ShipStation’s survey, 85% of consumers expect returns to be a self-service, while 81% of customers prefer for retailers to either offer pre-printed labels or to allow them to print return labels at home.
Providing your customers with flexibility when returning packages, especially when they’re out and about during the busy holiday season, will leave a lasting impression and encourage loyalty to your brand.
To learn more about how ShipStation can help you, sign up for a free 30-day trial.
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