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Your Holiday Season Shipping Survival Guide

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By Published On: September 27, 20190 Comments

Though it may be too early to start decking the halls with boughs of holly, we’ve officially entered peak-season for holiday gift shopping. And yes, it might not feel like Christmas just yet, but it’s definitely time to shift your shipping gears into overdrive.

You might feel like Christmas has suddenly crept up this year, but don’t worry. This is your holiday season survival guide to ensure you can stay on top of rising sales without putting too much pressure on your customer service and shipping and fulfilment teams. But first – why should you start getting ready this early?

Peak season now kicks-off in October

The holiday season is without a doubt the biggest revenue driver of the year, but it’s also really, really busy for online sellers.

October and November are set to bring in most of your holiday revenue. So what does this mean for retailers?

During this time, you can expect:

  • 75 per cent increase in website traffic
  • 65 per cent increase in customer enquiries
  • 40 per cent of sales to come from mobile devices
  • 47 per cent of shoppers to opt for a free shipping option
  • 37 per cent of shoppers to easily return their online purchases

And the added pressure isn’t going unnoticed by retailers….

According to a survey conducted by Shopify, over 64 per cent of retailers are concerned about shipping and fulfilment over Christmas, and over 75 per cent of retailers are concerned about customer service needs.

But don’t panic! There are things you can do to prepare for the increase in customer requests and the added pressure on your shipping and fulfilment teams. So take a deep breath, read Shippit’s survival tips below, and start getting ready for your biggest Christmas ever.

Baseline your inbound customer enquiries

Over 26 per cent of shoppers consider poor customer service a deal-breaker. If you’re not prepared to respond to 65 per cent more customer requests, then you can expect to lose one-quarter of sales.

Slash slow response times by assessing your most commonly asked questions and biggest customer concerns. FAQ pages and canned enquiry responses will be your biggest time-saving tool as your customer enquiries begin to increase.

Get your inventory and shipping supplies in order

Go through last year’s sales reports and note which items you sold the most over the Christmas period. Not only will this help you get your inventory numbers in check, but it’ll give you to time order extra shipping satchels and cartons so you  Learn how to supercharge your fulfilment times in this guide to E-Commerce picking and packing.

Offer more delivery services (the more the merrier!)

You may know this already, but different couriers have different strengths when it comes to delivering different kinds of products. For example: Allied Express is great at delivering large, bulky items, whereas CouriersPlease and Australia Post are super reliable when it comes to delivering smaller items.

We’re also starting to see new time-specific delivery services join the market as faster delivery options, including 3-hour and on-demand delivery, become increasingly popular.

Over Christmas, you’ll want to ensure you have a range of couriers that can deliver orders at a range of different service levels, and if you have a wide range of SKUs, you’ll need access to couriers that specialise in different weight classes. (If you’re looking to add more couriers to your arsenal, you can get access to more couriers at discounted rates with Shippit).

Be transparent with your tracking alerts

Did you know that customers will get in touch with customer service teams if they’re not sent delivery status updates 1.5 days after purchase?

With shipping solutions like available today, this isn’t a common occurrence. However, if you still manually send tracking updates to customers this will prove unfeasible during Christmas.

To cover all bases, you’ll need to make sure you send updates on your customer’s preferred channel (SMS/email) during important milestones of the delivery, including:

  • Order placed
  • Ready for pickup
  • Onboard with driver
  • Delivery complete
  • Awaiting collecting

To add fuel to the fire, customers also really hate being left in the cold when it comes to late deliveries. You’ll need to ensure you keep customers informed of any delivery delays before they become frustrated or worried about the order.

Track customer sentiment on their delivery experience

Are you actively asking customers for their feedback on their delivery experience? And if not, how will you know if you’re losing customers to bad deliveries or not?

The delivery experience places brand perception into the hands of courier services, and sometimes this can cause damage to your customer retention rate.

The easiest way to mitigate brand damage during the delivery process is to seek customer feedback on their experience.

Ask customers how they feel about their delivery experience so you can make better decisions about which couriers you use over Christmas. With Shippit, you can automatically seek and track customer sentiment about their deliveries, so you’ll always be able to stay on top of customer sentiment.

And remember…

The holiday season is an exciting time for both businesses and shoppers. It’s going to get busy. All your metrics from website traffic to customer enquiries are going to go through the roof. Ensure you have the tools and processes in place to help you stay calm and collected when it feels like it’s getting overwhelming. If you need a bit of extra help, Team Shippit can assist with delivery booking, tracking and support. To see how they can help you manage your biggest peak-season shipping concerns.

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About the Author: Power Retail

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