Christmas in July? 5 Reasons Why it Pays to Plan Ahead for the Holiday Selling Season

July 21st, 2016 Comments off

Christmas in July Blog PostThe weather outside may not be frightful…but successful ecommerce is so delightful! And just imagine how delightful it will feel just a few months from now when you fully appreciate your advance preparation for the 2016 holiday season. Remember, many retailers find November and December alone makes up as much as 30 percent of their yearly revenue. It definitely pays to be proactive in planning, even if you’re presently thinking more about sandcastles than Santa.

Here are 5 reasons why it pays to get into the holiday selling spirit well in advance.

1. Your customers are already thinking ahead. Google Trends indicates searches for “Christmas Gift Ideas” begin in August and only go up from there. With a plethora of holidays stacking up once October hits – including Yom Kippur, Halloween and Thanksgiving – almost everyone gets busier and more frazzled as the year draws to a close.

2. Non-calendar holidays are key. You know about Black Friday (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28), but these aren’t the only retail-friendly dates to mark on your calendar. They may not appear on everyone’s to-do list, but as an ecommerce seller, you absolutely need to be prepared for Green Monday (Dec. 12), a shopping holiday similar to Cyber Monday that tends to fall on the second Monday of December, and Free Shipping Day (Dec. 16), a one-day event when merchants are encouraged to offer this perk with guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. Create a holiday calendar so you know exactly which ecommerce promotions you’ll be participating in so you can be sure to plan accordingly as well as alert your customers.

3. Expanded holiday payment options and generous return policies appeal to shoppers. Many retailers extend additional payment options, discounts and loosened return windows during the busy holiday season. By taking the time to consider these factors now, you can make informed decisions once the busiest shopping season begins.

4. Intuitive mobile platforms attract shoppers on the go. Studies have shown that mobile shoppers make quicker purchasing decisions than desktop users. If you haven’t already done so, optimize your mobile site now to make it more responsive to mobile browsing.

5. Connecting with customers can benefit your bottom line. Whether it’s a curated Pinterest board of your holiday gift ideas, enthusiastic Tweets about products or personal emails to customers, your social media and personalized marketing can have a big impact on customers, especially during the stressful shopping season. Start your campaigns now by reaching out via abandoned-cart and after-sales emails or posting “Only 130 shopping days left!” teasers on social media. The more you connect with customers, the more you can be sure to offer them the products they want.

The bottom line
It’s often said that the days are long, but the years are short — so don’t let the holiday shopping season sneak up on you. Take steps now to consider your options and plan ahead for the busiest shopping season of the year. That way, when fall rolls around, you’ll be prepared to celebrate a successful season.

Video: 10 Holiday Shipping Tips for Ecommerce Sellers

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

Need some last minute tips to help get your holiday e-commerce orders shipped? Watch this video to learn the secrets to simple order fulfillment.

Happy Holidays!

5 Tips for Easy Holiday Shipping

December 4th, 2013 Comments off

blog_5-holiday-shipping-tips-headline2Follow these simple tips to maxmize your shipping just in time for the holidays.

#1 Ship Products as Fast as Possible
During the holidays, expectations for delivery are high and tolerance for delays is low. Try to ship products out the same day the order was placed to keep customers happy! Maintain an accurate list of shipping carrier pickup times to ensure your shipments are mailed at the earliest possible opportunity.

#2 Pre-Pack Your Orders During Downtime
Survive the holidays by pre-packing orders during the calm before the storm. Fulfill orders for commonly shipped items and write package weights on the surface of boxes. This way, you’ll be ready for an unexpected rush.

#3 Keep a Healthy Inventory of Shipping Supplies
The last thing you want is a lot of holiday orders and nothing to package them with. Keep a good inventory of supplies and order enough necessities and free USPS packaging to last you throughout the holidays.

#4 Eliminate Trips to the Post Office
If you are shipping with Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, save time by scheduling a free USPS Pickup online. There’s absolutely no additional charge for home or office pickups, no matter how many packages you have.

#5  Always Update Your Customers
Use Email Notifications for Package Tracking: When a purchase is made online, customers want to know that their packages are in transit. Make sure your shipping system can automatically send out a shipment notification email that includes a link to the tracking number. It will help eliminate Customer Support calls and make for happier customers.

Free Webinar: Boost Holiday Sales with International Shipping

November 7th, 2011 4 comments

Update:  Here is the recording from the Nov 9 International Shipping webinar with Frank Cebello of the USPS.

 

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Stamps.com is offering a free webinar for e-commerce sellers featuring the best practices in international shipping through the eyes of an expert.

In this installment, the guest speaker is Frank Cebello, Executive Director of Global Business Management for the U.S. Postal Service®. Mr. Cebello is an industry expert and will discuss the impact of 2011 holiday mailing dates, the rising potential of international sales, and the competitive global solutions offered by the USPS. Additionally, the webinar will cover proven best practices including adhering to the shipping regulations and restrictions imposed by different countries, implementing online postage software, utilizing the low-cost international services of the USPS, and opening up your shipping program to international buyers — all of which can increase global sales during the holiday season.

What: Free webinar on international shipping best practices

When: Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/630635250

Topics Covered:

  • USPS international shipping deadlines for 2011
  • International market potential
  • Understanding Customs Forms
  • Details on USPS Global Alliances
  • International shipping best practices

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Frank Cebello, Executive Director, Global Business Management, USPS

About the Presenter – Frank Cebello
Mr. Cebello joined the Postal Service in January of 2007. During his tenure, he has developed the Global Business Sales organization into a specialized and highly successful team that has had great success in growing international Commercial revenues. Prior to joining the Postal Service, Mr. Cebello had a long career with DHL Express where he was the District Sales Manager. Previous executive sales experience at DHL includes several years as an Area Sales Manager and District Sales Manager where he built and led several successful sales teams and negotiated global service agreements for several large clients. Prior to DHL, Mr. Cebello worked for TNT Express Worldwide where he also held several executive sales positions. Mr. Cebello holds a B.A. in Managerial Studies from Rice University.

Survey: 64 Percent Say Free Shipping is the Most Effective Promotion

November 10th, 2010 1 comment

For e-commerce retailers, the holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year. To increase profitability, many are recognizing the value of shipping practices and promotions.

In its latest survey on e-commerce shipping practices, Stamps.com found that 64% of respondents report that free shipping, with or without minimum spend, is the most effective promotion they can offer to drive sales during the holiday season, and 53% will be offering free shipping on more products this year compared to last holiday season. More than half (52%) of the survey respondents who use free shipping with minimum spend report their average order size increases by at least $4.

Free Shipping Is Seen as Most Effective Sales Promotion
According to 64% of the respondents, free shipping—with or without minimum spend—is the most effective promotion an e-commerce merchant can offer to drive sales during the holiday season.  Coming in second place was another shipping-related promotion. 26% of the respondents chose discounted shipping as an effective tool to drive sales.  Note:  survey respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers.

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Merchants to Offer Free Shipping on More Products This Year
More than half (53%) of the merchants surveyed report that they’ll offer free shipping on more items this holiday season than they did during the same period in 2009.

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In fact, 43% of those surveyed will offer free shipping on more than half the items in their product catalog.

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How Much Do Customers Have to Spend to Get Free Shipping?
For merchants who require minimum spends in order to qualify for free shipping, 66% of the respondents required an average order size of $50 or more for consumers to get free shipping.
 

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Free Shipping Increases Average Order Size
When using free shipping with a minimum order amount, e-commerce merchants can expect to see their sales increase. More than half the survey respondents (52%) report that free shipping increases their average order size by at least $4.00. 37% of the respondents claim to see their average order size increased by $7.00 or greater.

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Most Merchants Ship Using Regular Delivery
When offering free shipping, 82% of the respondents send their merchandise using regular 3-5 day delivery.

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Social Media is Being Used for Sales Rather than Customer Service
More respondents are using social media to drive sales to their site (54%) rather than customer retention (43%) or customer support (39%).

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Seller Reputation Is Still King
Although shipping cost and speed are both important factors in driving sales, many merchants believe customers are influenced most by the seller’s reputation.

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International Sales Add Up
The international market appears to be a good method to grow sales for e-commerce merchants.  82% of the respondents project that at least some of their holiday revenue will come from international purchases.  And 10% of respondents anticipate international sales to account for more than a quarter of their holiday sales.

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Low Cost International Shipping Is a Must
Nearly half of the respondents (48%) report that low cost is their main consideration when shipping to international destinations, although package tracking and delivery speed are also important concerns.

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This survey was sent to current Stamps.com customers that operate an e-commerce store.  The survey was conducted from October 21-28, 2010.

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