As much as we might hate to admit it, Christmas is coming and with more and more shoppers retreating online to shop instead of the busy high street it’s important that your ecommerce store is prepared. From your website decoration to your shipping and payment options, getting it wrong this Christmas could have some negative effects on your business.
Today we’ll be focusing on shipping, an important element of any ecommerce website, made even more important by the specific deadline and the expectation that your items arrive in time for the main event and are safely under the tree come Christmas morning.
Handling shipping is one of the biggest challenges ecommerce businesses face over the Christmas period and whilst it might sound like a stressful time, there are still plenty of ways you can deliver and give your customers a happy Christmas.
Establish Your Cut Off Dates
If your customers are wanting your products to arrive in time for Christmas then it’s important you have an established cut off date. By checking with couriers and the post office you can easily work out when your last day to ship may be. Whilst you might be able to leave it until last minute, for some it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to get orders to delivered. If your item doesn’t ship in time and ultimately arrive by the 25th then your customers aren’t going to be happy.
Once you’ve decided on a cut off date, tell your customers. Through emails, your blog, your social media and even through banners on your website, it’s important that your customers know when they need to place their orders to receive their item in time.
Offer Free Shipping
If possible try and offer free shipping over the Christmas period, with so many online stores out there offering free shipping to their customers you don’t want your customers to think they can get a better deal elsewhere. Christmas is already expensive enough without the added frustration of having to pay expensive shipping costs.
Whilst this might not be a great option for everyone, you could always offer free shipping for one day and make a special effort to publicise this on your social media and in your marketing. If more people see you’re offering free shipping that day, they’ll be inclined to visit and hopefully will return at a later date.
These days people want real time parcel tracking, especially at Christmas. There’s nothing worse than ordering something for a specific date and not hearing anything about it for weeks during the delivery process. Customers want to know when their item has been dispatched, when it’s out for delivery and if there’s any problems along the way, giving them the peace of mind they desperately need during the hectic Christmas months.
Offering your customers the chance to track their order not only makes their life easier but it also improves your credibility, showing how quickly you can ship and deliver your products, increasing the chances that customers will return
If you really want to please your customers then you could also give the option for special delivery options such as next day delivery, specified day delivery and if your up to it even same day delivery. These days people are shopping online for convenience and what could be more convenient than having an item delivered in a window that fits your specific needs.
While it might not be possible for all stores to offer this feature, if your store can handle it and has the means to do so, then offering special delivery options can be a great way to please your customers and ensure their items arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.
Your shipping can be the difference between a great Christmas present and a late Christmas present. If you get it wrong, not only can it leave your customers disappointed but it’s also going to leave your business looking unprofessional and incapable of meeting demands in the most important time of the retail calendar. Don’t leave your customers hanging this Christmas, why not start planning your Christmas shipping today?