Holiday Ecommerce Tip: Post Your Shipping Deadlines All Over Your Site

November 11th, 2021 Comments off

The 2021 holiday sales season is going to be one for the record books. Deloitte is forecasting an 11% to 15% increase in 2021 holiday e-commerce sales compared with 2020. Online retail sales are projected to reach between $210 and $218 billion this holiday season.

While this is great news for online retailers, getting these orders from the warehouse to the buyer’s home can be very challenging, especially for orders submitted later in December.

Shipping Carriers Will Feel the Pressure
A huge chunk of this e-commerce delivery will be handled by the big three shipping carriers — USPS, UPS, and FedEx. All three are anticipating an extraordinarily busy holiday season. Just take a look at some recent news reports regarding parcel delivery:

  • UPS expects delivery demand during its peak season to exceed capacity by approximately five million pieces per day. The company is already adding capacity in advance, including two million square feet of additional sorting space and more cargo aircraft.
  • FedEx’s Ground network is rerouting more than 600,000 packages a day due to a shortage of workers. The carrier’s Home Delivery will deliver seven days a week during the holiday season.
  • USPS recently announced that some First Class Mail letters and packages will take longer to deliver as they are eliminating air delivery for the service.

Despite the shipping carriers ramping up their operations, delivery delays are inevitable and e-commerce sellers need to communicate shipping deadlines to their buyers in order to meet buyer expectations.

Communicate Shipping Deadlines Prominently On Your Site
The best way for your customers to avoid a shipping delay is to make sure they make purchases before the carrier cutoff dates. And there is no better way to create a sense of urgency than to make sure your customers see the actual shipping deadline dates everywhere on your site. From popups upon entering to a dedicated shipping page and in-cart alerts, promoting these shipping deadlines will help you create a positive customer experience.

Listed below are six suggestions of where you can effectively communicate your shipping deadlines:

#1 Create a dedicated holiday shipping page: Your customers should be able to find the shipping information they’re looking for easily. A great option is to create a unique “shipping deadline” page that you can guide all of your marketing messaging to that showcases all of the important shipping deadlines. It also allows you to easily show the delivery dates for Ground vs. Expedited shipping.

Example of Apple.com’s dedicated shipping deadline page in order to receive an iPhone before Dec. 24.

#2 Create a popup: While most people cannot stand popups, they can be very beneficial at communicating vital information about your products. Popups are hard to ignore (as you very well know!), so use this to your advantage. And since they’re relatively easy to add to the WordPress world, you can customize them for each date deadline.

Example of a popup window on MyRume.com highlighting the holiday shipping deadlines.

#3 Send a “last day to order” email: Remind everyone on your email list — including everyone who has abandoned their cart — about the last day they can order products to receive the package before the holidays. A best practice is to include a deadline section in your monthly newsletters, but a “last day to order” email may be just the thing to nudge indecisive customers to make the purchase.

Example of an email sent by KateSpade.com messaging the last day to receive free ground shipping.

#4 Add shipping questions to your FAQ page: Not only is this a straightforward way to answer your customers’ questions, but it will also help eliminate calls to your customer service center. Generally, customers like to find info themselves quickly and your FAQ page is a great place to list valuable shipping deadlines. Here are some shipping-relateds questions you could include:

• How much does shipping cost?
• Do you offer overnight delivery?
• When is the last day to purchase to receive a package by Dec. 24?
• When is the last day to purchase to receive free shipping?
• Do you ship to a PO Box?
• Which shipping carriers do you use?
• Do you ship to international addresses?
• How can I track my package?
• How quickly do you process orders at your warehouse from the time of order?
• I haven’t received my package, what do I do?

Example of Vistaprint.com highlighting shipping questions on their FAQ page.

#5 Add in-cart messaging: If a potential customer has already added a product to their cart, they’re well on the way to making a purchase. And there is no better way to help motivate a purchase than by posting the shipping deadlines front and center inside the shopping cart.

Example of a shipping deadline clock counting down inside a cart managed by WooCommerce.

#6 Promote express shipping as deadlines pass: Free and cheap shipping are the options that buyers want, and every research study proves that. But as ground deadlines pass, make sure you alert your customers that it’s still possible to get the products they want in time for the holidays by using expedited shipping.

Example of BarkBox.com highlighting Express shipping is still available after the Ground shipping deadline.

Carrier Deadlines for the 2021 Holiday Season
Here are the shipping deadlines by service level for 2021:

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines
• Dec. 21 – UPS 3-Day Select
• Dec. 22 – UPS 2nd Day Air
• Dec. 23 – UPS Next Day Air
• For UPS Ground, check UPS.com for a date/quote

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines
• Nov. 6 – APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground service
• Dec. 9 – APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
• Dec. 15 – USPS Retail Ground service
• Dec. 16 – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
• Dec. 17 – First Class Mail (greeting cards, postcards and large envelopes)
• Dec. 17 – First Class Package Service (up to 15.99 ounces)
• Dec. 18 – Priority Mail
• Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express
Check the USPS website for details about shipping to/from Alaska and Hawaii.

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines
• Dec. 15 – FedEx Home Delivery/FedEx Ground
• Dec. 21 – FedEx Express Saver
• Dec. 22 – FedEx 2Day
• Dec. 23 – FedEx 1Day Freight, FedEx Extra Hours
• Dec. 24 – FedEx SameDay

In summary, clearly communicate shipping information and deadlines on your site, and get ready for an ultra-busy holiday season!

How to Offer Free Shipping on a Small Budget

May 25th, 2016 Comments off

267203_Blog-Free-Shipping-on-a-Small-Business-BudgetJust as e-commerce evolves, so do its shoppers. Online shoppers span across generations, interests and buying habits. Though we all tend to browse for products a little differently, there’s something just about all online buyers look for when shopping – free shipping. In fact, they almost demand it. One comScore report found the following data regarding free shipping for e-commerce orders:

– 81% of consumers would rate free shipping as a top priority
– 93% of shoppers would take some type of action (add more items to their cart, search online for promo codes, etc.) to qualify for free shipping
– 58% would add items to their cart to qualify for free shipping
– 83% are willing to wait two extra days for delivery, if the item would ship for free

separate report by comScore found that Free Shipping Day 2012 helped increase sales the final week before Christmas by 16% compared to the previous year. That was a boost kicked off from a single day promotion. Imagine what your profit margins would look like if you offered free shipping all the time.

Great stats aside, a small business doesn’t have the budget that an enterprise might, and therefore may not be able to offer free shipping year round. Free shipping is too great an opportunity to pass up, and even small businesses can partake in it. Here are five ways a small e-commerce business can offer free shipping without breaking the bank.

Offer free shipping during holidays
Allowing free shipping during the holidays is a great alternative to offering it all the time, and won’t cost you beyond what you’re able to spend. Orders will be higher during this season, which will help eat the cost of shipping goods for free. Another option is to offer free shipping during a specific holiday. One-day sales and free shipping incentives are popular on Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve/Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Set a minimum cart value
Target does it. There’s no reason you can’t, too. Determine the minimum order value a buyer must purchase in order to qualify for free shipping, and offer it under those conditions. A case study found that when one company added a minimum shopping cart threshold to earn free shipping, orders increased by 90%. Moreover, the average order value also increased by 7.32%. Pull together some numbers to help determine a minimum order value that would work for your business. You need to know:

– Total Orders Received
– Average Order Value
– Average Profit Margin
– Shipping Fees per Order
– Shipping Costs per Order

Once you have these variables, plug them into this calculator, which will tell you your shopping profit. You can then find your minimum shopping cart threshold for free shipping with the following equation:

[(Minimum Cart Value – Average Order Value) x Gross Profit Margin] – Shipping Cost = Minimum Order Value

Plug and play with different estimated Minimum Cart Values to find an order value that works for you.

Offer it to email subscribers
Extending free shipping to customers on your distribution list is essentially creating long-term profits. Subscribers will be the first to be notified of new products, sales, offers and marketing efforts. These customers are already your biggest source of revenue. E-commerce businesses that have 40% of their customers making repeat purchases generate nearly 50% more revenue than other sellers with only 10% of their customers returning. By offering free shipping to your most loyal buyers, you’re encouraging them to make new purchases and shop from you long-term.

Free shipping for returns
More and more online businesses are implementing free returns as part of their return policy. Zappos offers free, unconditional returns for all products (in addition to free shipping). Offering free returns works for small businesses for two reasons: 1) you will pay for return postage only sparingly, and 2) free returns create buyer trust and encourage shoppers to follow through with a purchase…which they likely won’t return, anyways. Researchers found that businesses that offered free shipping on returns saw sales increase by up to 357%. Even if you have to bite the bullet and pay for a few returns, you’ll more than make up that cost with better profits.

Make it available for certain products
If you don’t have room in your budget to offer free shipping on all your products, try making it available for just a few. Have any product you need to move in order to make room for new inventory? Offer to ship it for free. In industry speak, this is called order-level shipping. Offer free shipping on best sellers, sale items, or products that will be popular during a given event. If you’re an online florist, you could offer free shipping on red roses in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Or, if you ordered some new stock and want to test its popularity, advertise it with a free-shipping guarantee. You’ll incentivize people to buy it. If it does well, you’ll feel safe ordering a large quantity from your supplier.

Free shipping positively impacts profit margins and customer relations. It is increasingly becoming the norm across e-commerce industries, and shoppers are growing to expect it. Offer free shipping in a modified way that makes sense for your business, and you can reap the benefits too.

ecomdash_logo_smallEcomdash is an award-winning multichannel inventory software for e-commerce retailers. It offers an end-to-end e-commerce solution to complete workflow, including inventory and sales order management, product listing, dropshipping and fulfillment management, reporting and more.

 

Stamps.com Announces Integration With ShipStation

March 6th, 2014 Comments off

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We are excited to announce Stamps.com’s new integration with ShipStation, a web-based shipping solution that helps online retailers process and ship their orders using multiple carriers including FedEx, USPS, UPS and DHL.

When using ShipStation’s web-based interface, customers can compare shipping rates and easily select the lowest cost carrier for each package. All order data is automatically backed up in the cloud and is accessible from any computer.

The new Stamps.com integration will allow ShipStation customers to access their Stamps.com accounts without ever leaving the ShipStation interface.

ShipStation automatically retrieves and consolidates order information from over 40 sales channels, including:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Newegg
  • Etsy
  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • Volusion
  • Bigcommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • SquareSpace
  • Plus many more

Check out ShipStation’s free trial today – no credit card required.

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!

Free! Holiday Shipping Survival Guide for E-commerce Retailers

October 17th, 2011 Comments off

Stamps.com has released the Holiday Shipping Survival Guide for E-commerce Retailers! The FREE, downloadable guide provides online sellers with best practices and industry data to optimize their shipping and increase sales during the 2011 holiday season.

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Even for the most seasoned online sellers, the holiday rush during the fourth quarter can present obstacles to efficient shipping. eMarketer™ projects that this year’s fourth quarter will increase 13.5% and produce a record-breaking $59.7 billion in online sales. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide with the information online sellers need to maximize their shipping process, meet the needs of their customers, and drive more revenue.

The Holiday Shipping Survival Guide for E-commerce Retailers features:

  • Eight Tips on Holiday Shipping
  • Seven Free Shipping Promotions
  • Using SCAN Forms to Improve Customer Communication
  • Eleven Ways to Improve Packaging
  • Important Industry Tips, Stats and Dates

Download the free guide today! It’ll help you wrap up a successful holiday season.

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