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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Best Practices for Holiday Shipping (2021)




In the past few years, e-commerce business owners have seen their fair share transportation And delivery issues.

From delivery delays to global supply chain disruptions, these troubles show no signs of disappearing soon, but you can mitigate the impact by preparing in advance and taking necessary measures.

Although Holiday shopping season Officially begin Black friday, The merchant knows that the preparatory work started long before this.

We are here to help you review your existing shipping plan, understand how and where you can improve, and prepare for you 2021 holidays.

Step 1: Optimize checkout

Start your holiday shipping review from the beginning: checkout. Making the buying process as simple as possible is essential to attract potential customers to convert. However, you don’t have to redesign the entire website. Instead, use one of these quick tips to turn your website into a conversion machine.

1. Make payment easy.

American customers are Increasing interest in new methods of payment For example, buy now and pay later.

At BigCommerce, we offer more than 55 payment methods for you to integrate with your website, making it easier for customers to check out and continue their day.

2. Make it easy to navigate.

38% of customers If your content or website design is not attractive, you will stop participating. But attractiveness is only half of the equation. If customers find it difficult to navigate through your checkout process, they will most likely turn around and never look back. Adding something as simple as a login option to your website to remember customer information can help increase conversion rates.

3. Let it move.

Mobile devices may be small, but they can represent a huge opportunity for e-commerce retailers. Creating a website that is not only suitable for mobile devices but also fully responsive is essential to the success of an e-commerce business.

Step 2: Evaluate inventory management

Do you know that the U.S. retail industry is losing money 50 billion U.S. dollars per year In unmoved inventory? But inventory means more than just the unmoved products on your digital shelf. After October arrives, you will start ordering supplies for the peak season, such as boxes, tape, labels, and bubble wrap.

Plus any management software you will incorporate into your workflow, such as sales channels, CRM, and shipping software. An analysis of the previous year’s holidays is essential to ensure that you are not over-ordering, or worse, not ordering, inventory, and undersupply for the upcoming season.

Step 3: Handling transportation

There are hundreds of shipping options available to business owners. Rather than waiting until the last minute, you also need to make a clear plan before you start in a hurry. First, check how you will actually handle logistics transportation. There are a few different options for you to use. Choose one, or mix and match multiple options that meet your needs.

1. Internal transportation.

For many small and medium-sized e-commerce companies, internal transportation is a good choice. However, as needs increase and transitions take longer and longer, you may need to consider a few things before leaving all the satisfaction to yourself.

advantage:

  • Better control your transportation process.
  • Achieve easier communication with customer support.
  • The cost is lower than third-party logistics (3PL).
  • No need to integrate with 3PL system.

shortcoming:

  • Additional costs such as labor and storage.
  • You will spend less time developing your business.
  • You may not have the knowledge of transportation and logistics as a professional company.

2. Choose the operator that suits you.

In terms of holiday transportation, business owners can choose many different carrier options, but the various services provided by the three major companies can help you easily get the transportation experience.

U.S. Postal Service

Because of its consistent pricing options and easy-to-follow instructions, the U.S. Postal Service is an excellent carrier choice for small businesses.

Shipping options include: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Retail Mail, which are specific low-cost options for retail customers.

Federal Express

Although a bit more expensive than USPS, you can rest assured that your package is delivered by one of the leaders in global delivery.

Shipping options include: Overnight delivery, land transportation, international transportation, same-day delivery and shipping of bulky goods.

ups

UPS provides a Countless choices Suitable for domestic and international transportation. From third-party fulfillment to freight and everything in between, you will definitely find a shipping option to meet any UPS needs.

3. Go beyond traditional transportation methods.

Modern consumers want to get their packages quickly. This does not always mean that next day or same day delivery is the best option. Options such as online purchases and in-store pickup (BOPIS) are quickly becoming an important addition to any comprehensive transportation strategy. Just ask our friends at Silk Software.

“The choices regarding shipping, fulfillment, and returns can play an important role in the shoppers’ decision-making process. Although free shipping is still a major incentive for customers to shop online, alternatives such as curbside, drive-through, or in-store pickup are provided Fulfillment options have become more and more popular. This also helps eliminate transportation and processing barriers and increase in-store passenger flow. Using physical stores as fulfillment venues for online sales can help merchants deliver products to customers faster and avoid handing in Delivery is delayed.”

– Connie Wong, Marketing Manager, Silk software

4. Outsource transportation and fulfillment to a third party.

The increase in the number of orders is accompanied by an increase in costs. Rather than spending a lot of time and money preparing your facility and team for the peak holiday season, outsourcing the remaining inventory to a fulfillment company may be the best option.Consider outsourcing your fulfillment services to 3PL.

Working with third-party fulfillment services sounds daunting, but as long as you do research and review customer reviews, you can easily find a service that is trustworthy and that matches your business.

5. Use dropshipper to outsource transportation.

Forwarding It is an e-commerce business model in which retailers do not actually store the products they sell. Instead, they buy inventory from a third-party manufacturer, and the manufacturer either ships the goods to the end customer or sends the inventory to a dedicated distributor.

advantage:

Since you are not storing products or fulfilling orders yourself, you can save some administrative costs. All you need to pay upfront are manufacturing costs and storage fees. Usually, the fee is only charged after the goods are sold.

Whether you are just starting e-commerce or are surpassing current warehousing and staffing requirements, direct selling business allows you to operate with smaller warehouses and labor.

shortcoming:

Dropshipping has additional costs. If you store products and fulfill orders yourself, using Dropshipping can reduce the profit margins you may see.

Many factors that make drop shipping business successful are finding suitable suppliers. The profit margin of direct sales is very low. If you use a model like a subscription wholesaler, you are actually paying a middleman, and the middleman will take you more profits.

Step 3.5: Customer shipping options

Now that you have determined how to actually deliver the product to the customer after the customer places the order (and add up all the costs that come with it), it is time to decide which shipping options you will offer at checkout.

1. Holiday shipment tracking.

When it comes to holiday transportation, tracking is a must. Customers are not only eager to get your products, but also give you peace of mind in terms of delivery time. This is a simple feature that you can add to your update emails—especially when printing shipping labels with BigCommerce—and is usually a feature of most carriers.

2. Free shipping on holidays.

Customers are always looking for the best price. This does not always mean the lowest price. Increased expenses and transportation costs will quickly discourage customers. The easiest way to avoid this situation is to provide free shipping. You can add shipping costs to the product price (customers won’t be wiser), but there are many factors to consider when calculating the value of free shipping. Find out the method that best suits your business and profits.

3. Provide same day or next day delivery.

What could be worse than a gift received before the important day? Goods that arrive the day after tomorrow. No one wants to return empty-handed during the holidays, so providing customers with expedited delivery can help ease some holiday shipping tensions. Of course, this means additional costs for you and your customers, but sometimes customers are willing to pay more for this extra peace of mind. The following are several options for delivery on the same day or next day, but please find the right choice that meets your needs.

UPS Express key

ups Provide UPS Express Critical, which can deliver light and heavy packages domestically and internationally.

FedEx same day

FedEx same day Provide reliable delivery within hours of ordering time-sensitive packages. In all 50 states, international delivery services are available every day of the week.

4. Add “holiday shipping deadline” on your website.

We have all seen them. The pop-ups that appeared around the holidays said “Orders placed after (time) and (date) will not arrive before December 25.” Maybe the wording is not exactly that, but you get the idea.

Although these pop-ups may be a bit obtrusive, they exist for good reason: when customers inevitably email you on Christmas Day saying that the package they ordered the day before has not yet arrived, they can cover all the basics.

Simply put: cover yourself. If customers expect the impossible and choose “next day shipping” for products they order on Christmas Eve, they can tamper with expectations so that they know what they are paying. Adding a delivery date to your website is best for you and your customers.

Step 4: Think before holiday returns happen

As a business owner, returns are usually not something you want to consider, but providing an easy-to-understand return policy is a great way to increase your business. Knowing that a company offers simple returns is actually a selling point, especially during holidays when customers may buy for others. There are several different types of return policies, but again, your policy should suit you and your business needs.

30-day return policy

This is the standard return policy of many retailers. Although it may cause some holiday gifts to miss the return window, extending the warranty period is an easy way to further extend the return period.

Return in mid-January

Another potential return policy is to set a specific return date after the holiday. For example, orders from mid-November to Christmas may return in mid-to-late January.

Self-service returns

Self-service returns allow your customers to initiate returns without contacting the seller. With just a few clicks, customers can start returning goods, printing labels, and delivering packages with the carrier.

wrap up

Ready or not, the holiday buying season has arrived. Although you can’t be 100% prepared for the busiest e-commerce season of the year, there are steps you can take to ensure it goes smoothly.

First, you can spend time optimizing the checkout process. Then, look at your inventory management. Next, you need to analyze the transportation process itself. How will you ship? What choice will you give your customers? How will this affect your bottom line?

The answer is not always easy to find, but with some time, effort and careful planning, you can easily complete holiday transportation.




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