The Holiday Season: Do's & Don'ts for E-Commerce Businesses
by Marco Raye
Believe it or not, the 2019 holiday season is just around the corner. According to Digital Commerce 360, “60% of consumers plan to spend more than half of their holiday shopping online. More than 80% plan to spend at least a quarter of their holiday spend online.” As we quickly approach the most lucrative season for many eCommerce businesses, how is your shipping strategy shaping up against forecasted customer demand?
As exciting as it can be for your Q4 numbers, the holiday season includes many potential pitfalls for businesses not adequately prepared. In this article, we walk you through some of the main Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to shipping your products during the holiday push.
Let’s begin by unwrapping some of the main Do’s and Don’ts for successfully transporting your customers’ orders and maximizing your shipping during the holiday season.
Holiday Season Do’s
Choose Durable, Eco-Friendly Materials That Can Withstand Transit.
With eco-friendly packaging so readily available, this holiday season is the best time to go green if you haven’t already. Leveraging environmentally friendly materials adds positive attributes to brands seeking to sharpen their competitive edge and help save our rapidly overheating planet. For heavy items, use studier, biodegradable boxes. While being sensitive of package thickness, ensure that your packing is large enough that the contents won’t shift or shake around during transit.
Mind Fragile Items.
Fragile products that get damaged during transit open a can of worms when it comes to customer service during the holiday season, especially if you don’t protect your products through shipping insurance. This year, consider cushioning your products during delivery using biodegradable packaging peanuts, corrugated bubble wrap, or air pillows made of recycled materials for the more precious, fragile inventories.
Schedule Your Pick-Up Ahead of Time.
Despite bulking up their bandwidth, it’s no surprise when we say carriers and the USPS can quickly become overwhelmed with the mailing frenzy during the holidays each year. Keeping this factor in mind, schedule a series of carrier package pick-ups ahead of time depending on the number of units being sold. Running behind on delivery times creates a dangerous opportunity for negative reviews, irate social media blasts, and excessive product returns. Remember: never underestimate the power of the spoken word online and how it can influence your audience. Schedule a package pick-up to eliminate trips to mail centers and standing in the inevitably long holiday lines.
Power Down Electronics.
The “unboxing experience” is now a powerful marketing tool for eCommerce businesses. If you’re shipping electronic products (toys, games, devices), we suggest removing the batteries separately before shipping. Doing so during the packaging phase of your holiday deliveries prevents items from accidentally powering on during transit, leading up to the unfortunate mishap of unboxing a “dead” gift.
Holiday Season Don’ts
Do Not Reuse Packaging.
Boxes, bags or any other shipping containers containing a visible hole, tear, or severe folds need to be recycled, not repackaged. The tiniest of flaws weaken package strength (example: recyclable cardboard), making your products susceptible to excessive damages during transit.
Do Not Overstuff.
Forecast your material use and keep a healthy inventory of packaging materials this holiday season. Avoid using packaging that’s too small or overstuffing packages to satisfy your inbound orders. Placing too many items in the same container increases the chances of your packaging busting or spilling open during delivery.
Do Not Forget To Indicate The Exact Address.
Confirm the accuracy of both domestic and international addresses before shipment and reduce on lost or stolen product during deliveries. EasyPost’s Address Verification API works as a safety net for businesses, working to ensure packages delivered to the right customers at the right time frame.
Do Not Procrastinate Getting Your Packages Out The Door.
We can’t say it enough. Do not procrastinate on shipping your customer’s orders this holiday season. If anything, ship earlier than in years past to ensure you have the gift of transit time on your side.
Top Tips for Improve Your Packaging to Customers
To enhance the impact of your customer’s experience unboxing your products, we suggest online business consider including the following efforts to polish their holiday packaging:
- Include a small, free item
- Include an extra address label within your packages
- Insure your shipments
- Protect shipping labels from wet weather
Enjoying the Holidays with EasyPost
We wish your business the best of luck this holiday season, as we understand it can be hard to anticipate or hit the curveballs while you’re busy working through the holiday scramble. Our suite of Shipping APIs helps businesses streamline their shipping and logistics processes, removing many of the hassles and financial pitfalls that hurt businesses during one of the most profitable times of the year. If you have questions about how EasyPost can help your business thrive during this hustle of the holidays, contact us today!