Consumers do most of their shopping during the holidays, and it’s a time when you can make extra sales — but more sales mean more shipping. If you want your business to have a smooth holiday season, it’s important that you plan ahead. Due to increased demand on delivery systems, shipping during this time of the year can slow down. You need an approach that will help you get packages to your customers safely and on time.
Now is the time to get your strategy in place. Here are some tips to prepare for holiday shipping this year.
Table of Contents
- Plan for More Orders During the Holidays
- Ensure you have Enough of All of Your Packaging Supplies
- Perfect Your Packaging System
- Factor in Shipping Times for Your Preferred Carriers
- Prepare Your Return Policy
Plan for More Orders
You will most likely see more orders during the holiday season because consumers will be shopping for gifts and seeking holiday deals. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, used to be the day when most people began their shopping for the holiday season. Each year, however, more and more consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier — sometimes as early as October.
It’s important to plan for more orders this time of year so you’re ready to fulfill them quickly and efficiently. Make sure you have enough product on hand to avoid backorders. If you’re having a sale, that will probably result in a higher volume of orders as well. You might want to plan sales early in the season to allow plenty of time for shipping.
Ensure You Have Enough of All of Your Supplies
Your products should be ready to ship when orders come in, so it’s important to manage your inventory and plan your warehouse strategy.
Try to estimate the number of items you will sell and need to ship by reviewing past sales data, market data and ad conversion rates. A few months before the holiday season starts, you might want to stock extra inventory so that you’re prepared.
It’s equally important to make sure you have all the shipping materials you need. That includes shipping labels, boxes, tape and protective packaging materials. Choosing the right packaging materials can ensure that your orders arrive on customers’ doorsteps in excellent condition.
Other businesses will need these materials, too, so it’s best to order them well ahead of the busy holiday season. If the supplies you need are on backorder, there could be delays on your end when packaging and shipping.
Perfect Your Packaging System
Having an efficient packaging system will ensure that your customers receive their orders as quickly as possible. To optimize your packaging system, you should choose materials that are easy to store and easy to pack. Ordering packaging materials that are a custom-fit to your products can ensure consistency in your packaging process.
With custom-fit protective packaging, you don’t have to worry about wrapping items in bubble wrap or wrestling with corrugated inserts. You can simply place your products into inserts that are already molded to their shape, and they’ll be protected and ready to ship.
In addition to having protective packaging that’s quick and easy to use, it’s also important to become familiar with any software you’ll use to manage your workflow and incoming orders so you can fill them as soon as possible.
While planning your holiday shipping strategy, you might also want to consider holiday packaging or gift wrapping options. Think of different ways you can add that special touch to impress customers and add a little holiday cheer to their purchase. You can also offer gift wrapping as an additional service that customers can pay for if they choose it.
Factor in Shipping Times for Your Preferred Carriers
Before the holiday season, you should research and understand the shipping times and the holiday requirements of different carriers. When you have this information, you can be transparent with your customers about when their packages will arrive. You can also plan for alternative delivery options in case your primary carrier experiences delays.
Check which dates packages need to be shipped to reach their destinations on time by checking the holiday shipping deadlines of your preferred carrier. FedEx, UPS, USPS and DHL post their shipping deadlines each year.
Prepare Your Return Policy
Returns happen from time to time. While they’re unfortunate, your response can make all the difference in your customers’ impressions of you. Sometimes items are damaged, not the right fit or simply not what the customer expected. It’s important to have a return policy in place ahead of time so customers know what to do if they’re unhappy with orders.
Your return policy should be informative and easy to understand. Give customers clear guidelines to follow. First, you’ll want to consider under what circumstances you will accept returned items. For example, you’ll want to allow customers to return damaged items. If you don’t want to allow returns for items that are in perfect condition, you’ll need to make that clear in your return policy.
If you won’t allow returns for items that aren’t the right fit, you might still offer exchanges. Make sure you outline the specifics of that policy as well.
When constructing a return or exchange policy, it’s important to use language that’s simple and straightforward. You also need to remember to include a time frame for returns and exchanges. It could be a week, a couple months or more. The decision is up to you, and it might vary based on the kinds of products you offer. Regardless, you’ll need to communicate it to your customers in a detailed return policy.
Ship Your Products With Ease
The holidays are a great time to promote your products and make some extra sales before the end of the year. With extra orders, you’ll be making more shipments, which is why it’s so important to optimize your plan for shipping during the holidays. One of the most important aspects of shipping is making sure that your products are protected from damage. Great Northern Fiber Interior Packaging™ can help.
Our molded fiber inserts are customized to fit your products with precision. Our inserts are durable enough to handle a variety of products, such as jars, bottles, cans, appliances, hardware, power tools and stainless steel containers. We can make your seasonal shipping a breeze and ensure that your products arrive safely and damage-free on your customers’ doorsteps.
Ready to start working on your shipping strategy for the holidays? Contact us today to learn more about our solutions, or give us a call at 800.925.2626.