Category Archives: Holidays

2017 Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates

Author: Ashley Overton  |  October 30, 2017

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Let’s end another holiday season with timely shipping!

We want to ensure everyone has a jolly holiday season this year, so we have created a quick summary of holiday shipping cutoff dates for a few of the major carriers. We hope this guide helps you remain stress free this season and reminds you to keep on top of cutoff dates for all the carriers you plan to use this year.

UPS

The UPS year-end holiday schedule starts in November for Thanksgiving and ends in January. You can download the full schedule from their site to ensure easy access. And, if you are shipping internationally this holiday season, take a look at UPS’ World Holidays schedule which maps out 3 months of global holidays. There are plenty of holidays to be mindful of around the world between the months of October and December. Below you will find a summary for the most frequently used UPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground Contact UPS Dependent on origin and destination
UPS 3 Day Select December 18th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 20th US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii

* Between Nov 20th and Dec 30th, a limited number of UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages that have transit times of three or more days and specific origins and destinations will require an additional day in transit. Contact UPS for more information.

FedEx

FedEx has published the last days to ship to ensure your orders are delivered by December 25th. Those needing to ship a last minute delivery will be happy to know, the FedEx SameDay delivery option will be available 24/7 for urgent deliveries (even on the 25th). FedEx also has you covered for your international shipments, you can find rates and transit time for global delivery here.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground Contact FedEx US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx First Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Priority Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

USPS has published holiday mail-by-dates for all their domestic and international services to help everyone avoid the holiday rush. If you have a loved one in the military, you will want to keep their Military Holiday Shipping Deadlines in reach as well. Below you will find a summary for frequently used USPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
First Class Mail December 19th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail December 20th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 22nd US Domestic shipments only

These summaries will serve as a great starting point as you plan for the holiday season, but should not be used as the only resource for your shipping management. These summaries only contain information for some of the major carriers, and you should keep up with restrictions and cutoff dates for every carrier you use. The carrier’s website will hold valuable information, but remember you can contact your carrier representative with more specific questions and concerns.

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The Importance of Creating a Strong Shipping Strategy for Holiday Sales

Author: Chad Rubin  |  October 3, 2017

With the Holiday Season coming up it is important to remember the importance of creating a shipping strategy that complements your overall Holiday Sales Strategy. Our partner, Skubana, has shared valuable knowledge on Holiday sales and creating a shipping strategy.


2017 Holiday ShippingIn 2016, holiday sales made up approximately 10.6% of all retail sales for the entire year, or 21% of total sales for quarter 4. Ecommerce holiday sales (especially Christmas), are rising year over year, with an increase of 17% from 2015 to 2016 (compared to a drop of 12% for brick and mortar sales for the period), and are expected to rise another 14% for the 2017 Christmas season.

Ecommerce sellers, especially those on Amazon, understand the importance of holiday sales, simply because sellers with the right products see huge increases in order volume. Many also invest heavily in creating sales and marketing campaigns designed to boost this further, even stocking additional products to meet seasonal demand. Keeping up with these increased sales means developing a fulfilment strategy and logistics solutions to ensure that customers receive their orders, you do not sell out of product, and you are able to keep your operation running smoothly.

Another consideration is that the additional expense of marketing and sales typically reduces profit per product. Even though you still see a profit, you’re earning less per sale. By ensuring that customers are happy, you can generate a similar or higher value per sale by generating positive reviews and customer awareness, which will function as social proof to increase sales throughout the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, because of the nature of holiday sales, many stores are left overwhelmed with the increase in order volume, unable to keep up, and sometimes unable to ship products out on time.

By creating a strong strategy to ensure that your shipping, fulfilment, and customer service solutions will meet the increased demand, you can ensure that your store benefits from the holiday sales.

Calculating your Potential Sales

The first step to creating a quality fulfilment strategy is to determine how much you are likely to sell, what you need, and how you need to distribute it. Depending on the age and organization of your store, you can achieve this in a few ways.

For example, if you have strong records from 1 or more years previous, you can use this to calculate potential sales by tracking the previous year’s percentage in sales increase with your current rate of sales growth. So, if you have an average of a 15% sales increase for the holiday period for the last 3 years running, you could use that to calculate what you are likely to sell.

If you don’t have that data, are a new ecommerce store, or have introduced significantly new products, or become popular in ways that mean that previous year’s data won’t be applicable, you will have to use other data to predict possible sales.

For example, you can compare your current turnover rate or use industry benchmarks in combination with your current rate of sale on a per-product basis to predict how much your sales are likely to increase. Combined with increases you expect to see for campaigns, you can get a general idea of what to plan for.

Developing Solutions

Once you know how much you are likely to sell, you can create a framework to support that volume of sales. Your primary concerns are likely inventory (you cannot likely afford to sell-out of a seasonal product), labor (can your warehouse staff support the increased demand), and warehousing.

This means reviewing your current capabilities, determining if you can increase sales without adding on additional employees, and reviewing your space and storage solutions.

  • Determine an inventory order management system that will prevent stock-outs. You may need more inventory or you may have to order more frequently depending on your pipeline
  • Identify peak order times and integrate scalable order processing, either using automation or by bringing in additional employees to handle peaks.
  • Integrate extra quality checks for the holiday period. People who are overworked are more likely to make mistakes, and when products are gifts, returning them on time isn’t always possible.
  • Create a system that allows you to change orders from warehouse to warehouse quickly, so that you can solve stock-outs or other logistics problems.
  • Use multiple shipping providers, so that you can distribute increased deliveries among them without overwhelming any

Outsourcing to Third-party Solutions

Whether you already use a third-party solution or ship everything in-house, third-party logistics (3PL) and solutions like Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) can be extremely helpful during the holiday season. For example, Amazon accounts for about 30% of all online sales during the holiday period, having a presence on Amazon and relevant products almost guarantees you an increase in sales. Using FBA not only boosts sales further, it takes shipping and logistics out of your hands. Amazon will deliver products themselves, typically offer free 2-day shipping, and handle returns and customer service. This can be a great way to meet sales demand while reducing the load on your own warehouses and systems.

Similarly, 3PL can enable you to reduce the burden on your warehouses while speeding up shipping and delivery. Many third-party logistics companies are international, have warehouses around the country, and can offer a variety of packaging solutions – which means faster and cheaper fulfilment.

In both cases, the only possible concerns for using either solution is increased costs (slightly in the case of 3PL), lack of control over the shipping process (but handled by professionals), and splitting your inventory. For these reasons, you should review your options and your existing relationships, as well as your potential sales to determine if either or both are an option for you.

Boosting Customer Satisfaction

Making your customers as happy as possible ensures that you derive real value from each sale. By boosting customer satisfaction, you will increase positive reviews and word of mouth across the web, which will boost your sales for the rest of the year.

For example, if you choose to adopt 3PL you can likely easily include a printed return label with every product. Customers can use it for free return shipping on products, and it won’t be charged to your account until sales are made.

You can also take steps to work with customer service so that you prioritize customer satisfaction over immediate profit. This means increasing your number of service representatives so that you can respond quickly to all inquiries, managing the quality of responses, sometimes accepting returns for no reason, offering expedited shipping free of charge and replacing items quickly when you have made a mistake, and so on.

Because many holiday shoppers are looking for gifts, they need them by Christmas (not always the case as many shoppers are just taking advantage of sales) – so taking steps to expedite any returns and replacement products to make that happen will greatly increase customer satisfaction.

Finally, it is crucial that you have a strong internal management system to ensure that your inventory management, quality control, and customer service are on track and running smoothly.

Preparing a strong fulfilment strategy for the holidays will ensure that you can meet demand, keep customers happy, and make the most of the holiday sales.


About the Author

Chad Headshot resized

Chad Rubin took his family vacuum business online and built his own direct to consumer ecommerce business called Crucial Vacuum. He grew it from 0 to a $20 million dollar valuation in just 7 years. He happens to be a top 250 Amazon seller. He co-founded Skubana with DJ Kunovac and built one of ecommerce’s hottest operational softwares.

 

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2016 Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates

Author: Ashley Overton  |  November 1, 2016

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With the Holiday Season quickly approaching, it is crucial to ensure your customers get their orders on time. Although it may happen more often than we like to admit, there is nothing worse than waiting until the last minute to ship out a gift and having to face the task of ensuring the order makes it to its destination in time. To keep your holidays bright and to relieve some of the stress, we have put together a quick summary of the shipping cut-off dates for some of the major carriers. You will find it extremely helpful to stay on top of current cut-off dates for all carriers you plan to use. Below you can find the 2016 holiday shipping dates and news.

UPS

With eCommerce making a rapid increase, it’s important to stay on top of the new deadlines this Holiday Season.  The UPS year-end holiday schedule starts in November and makes its way to the end of December. You can download and print the schedule from the site to ensure easy access. Here is a summary for the most frequently used UPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground Contact UPS Dependent on origin and destination
UPS 3 Day Select December 19th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 21st US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii

* Between Nov. 21st and Dec 30th, a limited number of UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages that have transit times of three or more days and specific origins and destinations will require an additional day in transit. Contact UPS for more information.

FedEx

FedEx is anticipating a record-breaking peak holiday shipping season this year, and has gone as far as hiring an additional 500 employees to cover the rush. They have advised that you take note of Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, which makes losing track of shipping deadlines even more detrimental. Luckily, they offer FedEx SameDay which is available every day of the year. FedEx also offers a Get Rates and Transit Times application to their customers so they can easily find the FedEx delivery option that will get their shipment to its destination in time. But, if you are looking to avoid the rush, we have listed the last days to ship your packages so they arrive on or before December 25th below.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground Contact FedEx US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx First Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Priority Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

Although USPS encourages holiday shoppers to ship as early as possible, they have gone ahead and provided a list of shipping deadlines just in case you are faced with last minute shopping. They have provided the mail-by-dates for all their domestic and international services. Below you will find a quick summary of some of their services.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail December 20th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail December 21st US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

As we hope you find this helpful to your holiday shipping, our summaries should only serve as an outline for you shipping management this season. We have provided information for some of the major carriers, but you should keep up to date with restrictions and options from other carrier you wish to use as well. You can find helpful information by visiting the carrier’s website or you can contact your carrier representative with specific questions.

 

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International Express Shipping Strategy for The Holiday Season

Author: Pompey Mansilla  |  September 26, 2016

Holiday Shipping

The holidays are coming near which means it is time to start thinking about what changes you may need to make in order to keep your international customers happy. So, we have invited Pompey Mansilla, Co-Founder of ILS, to share advice on how to put an effective International shipping strategy in place for the holiday season. 


Summer: suntan lotion, palm trees, and an ocean breeze are now behind us.  Gone are the days when school started after Labor Day; kids are already back in school and Halloween is fast approaching, which can only mean that The Holidays are right around the corner.

Internationally, August is the biggest vacation month and now everyone globally is preparing for The Season.

E-COMMERCE IS E-SSENTIAL

Already accounting for nearly 10% of global retail sales, e-commerce has become a critical component to global commerce.

In 2015 alone, more than half the world’s mobile phone-owning population accessed the web. And that figure is forecast to steadily climb. Many of those people will not just access the web for information or send emails or engage in social media. Instead they virtual window-shop and eventually purchase products.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM ACTUAL SMEs

  • Starting small is the approach Sarah Davis, owner of Fashionphile, recommends.  She started selling eBay and today does more than $15M in annual revenue, with 30% of her sales coming from international buyers.  Her advice:

“Just sell one item internationally. EBay and PayPal allow you to put your toe in the water and get used to selling internationally, and them amp up from there.”

  • “We do ship internationally!  We do also charge for international shipping for orders under 300$. However, I would say that it is currently a pain-point for us because we aren’t able to deliver 100% the quality of shipping service for our international customers like we are for our domestic ones. Example: We are unfortunately unable to generate free return labels for our international customers. Following tracking is more difficult because of dual tracking numbers (one while in the US / one internationally). You have less control over the shipment, etc., etc. It’s another thing on the list of “need to solves”

     Darby – Owner Smoke Cartel

RESEARCH DEMANDS FOR YOUR PRODUCT AND LOCAL BUYING TRENDS

A helpful resource is PayPal’s PassPort site, which has a wealth of information about global buying trends for specific countries. For instance, PassPort breaks down, by country, the top shopping categories, how often shoppers purchase from countries like the US, their buying motivations and potential barriers. It also summarizes local customs, trends, taboos and even holidays of each country – so you sell the right products to the right customers, marketed in the right way.

Grey November, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here, and businesses are already placing their holiday marketing plans into high gear. Specials and promotions, as well as creative discounts are just about lined up.  Unique seasonal partnerships are ready for launch.  At the same time, companies are addressing the key challenges that stem from higher volumes of store and site visitors, training seasonal staff, testing website infrastructure and coordinating with suppliers.

Both online retailers and brick-and-mortar operations are also taking a hard look at another element that will be critical to their overall success: shipping and logistics.

Just how active is the world of shipping during the holiday season?  Consider these numbers: at DHL Express, during the 2015 peak season (the Monday after Thanksgiving until Christmas) delivery volumes were 41% higher than the average daily volume in our third quarter, and 25% higher than peak season in 2014.

To ensure your company can survive the peak holiday season and literally deliver on what your customers have ordered – on time, on target, and in one piece – you’ll want to have a clear shipping strategy in place.

The best way to develop an efficient, cost-effective and reliable shipping strategy is to work with an experienced shipping and logistics partner who understands high-volume planning.  If you operate globally, you will want to make sure that your international shipping process in particular can handle increased demand. 

In addition to finding the right shipping partner, retailers want to ensure you clearly display estimated delivery dates and ordering cutoff dates for Christmas delivery.

  • All DHL services are time definite and offer you secure door-to-door delivery service of goods and documents to and from virtually every country in the world. Whether you need your shipments delivered early morning or by the end of the working day, our services offer full track-and-trace visibility so you always know where your shipments are.
  • ShipperHQ, the ultimate shipping rate management solution, has partnered with International Logistics Solutions (ILS) to make international shipping simpler and more cost-effective for small to medium sized merchants.
  • As an Authorized DHL Agent, ILS gives US merchants access to DHL Express services while offering them lower rates and excellent customer service from international shipping specialists. With DHL Express, merchants have the ability to delight their customers and raise their brand image with a one to three day transit to almost anywhere in the world with full door to door tracking.

You can set up an ILS Account and speak to a representative to learn more about ShipperHQ and ILS combined.


 

About the Author

LINKEDINPICTURE Pompey Mansilla is the co-founder of 2 companies within the DHL Express Network, along with his partner, Rick Betancourt.  International Logistics Solutions is an Authorized Reseller specializing in international shipments from 1-400#.

In addition, Direct Hit Logistics provides pick-up and delivery service for DHL Express with over 400 routes in the Southeastern United States.  They are the largest representative of DHL Express in the country, from a combined sales and operational platform.

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Shipping During the Holiday Season

Author: Ashley Overton  |  October 7, 2015

ribbon

As the holiday season is coming near, shipping becomes more of a priority for merchants and their customers. With the craze of holiday shopping comes the stress of meeting shipping deadlines. Changes to holiday shipping calendars have been made for this year’s holiday season, so it will be extremely helpful to stay on top of current cut-off dates for all carriers you plan to use. Below you can find the 2015 holiday shipping dates and news.

UPS

Changes around time in transit have been put in place to this year’s UPS Holiday schedule. It is important to stay updated on these new deadlines to ensure that you are receiving accurate time in transit responses and are shipping in a timely manner. Ship by dates have been posted by UPS, here is a summery of some upcoming cut off dates.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground Contact UPS Dependent on origin and destination
UPS 3 Day Select December 18th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 22st US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii

* Between Nov. 23 and Dec 30th, a limited number of UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages that have transit times of three or more days and specific origins and destinations will require an additional day in transit. Contact UPS for more information.

FedEx

FedEx offeres a Get Rates and Transit Times application to their customers so they can easily find the FedEx delivery option that will get their shipment to its destination in time. You should also note that FedEx SameDay is available every day of the year for your most urgent shipments. But, if you are looking to avoid the rush, we have listed the last days to ship your packages so they arrive on or before December 25th below.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground December 16th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Express Saver December 21st US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Standard Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

USPS encourages holiday shoppers to ship early, but we all know that that is easier said than done. So, the Postal Service also helps its customers with last minute shipping by providing the mail-by dates that will get your shipment where it needs to be by December 25th.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail December 19th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail December 21st US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

Although we have provided cut off dates for some of the major carriers, it is also important to keep up to date with restrictions and options from other carriers you wish to use by visiting their website or speaking with your carrier representative for more information.

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2014 Holiday Shipping Cut-Off Dates

Author: Daniel Ziegler  |  November 20, 2014

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Carriers are bulking up on staff and resources for the holidays and are expecting a significant increase in traffic over last year. As we near the holiday season, it’s time for the rest of us to ensure that we have the information and resources we need to meet demand. In that spirit, here’s our roundup of 2014 Holiday Cut-Off dates for the big three carriers in the US.

UPS

With UPS expecting an 11% increase in volume over the Christmas 2014 season, it’ll be more important than ever to make sure your packages are shipped early enough to get to your customers in time. UPS has published their ship by dates for 2014, here’s a summary for the most frequently used UPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground December 15th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii
UPS 3 Day Select December 18th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Express Critical December 24th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Alaska and Hawaii

FedEx

FedEx expects an increase of 8.8% in volume this Christmas. They’ve outlined all of the cut-off dates for their services on their website and we’ve summarized the most popular services here.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground December 17th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Express Saver December 20th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Standard Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

Of the big three carriers, USPS predicts the largest increase with an estimate of 14% higher volume this holiday season over last year. All the details are on USPS.com but we’ve summarized the most important information below.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail & Priority Mail December 20th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

Conclusion

While we’ve summarized the most popular services from the most popular carriers above, it’s important that you make yourself familiar with the options and restrictions available from your carrier of choice and get in touch with your carrier representative or check their website for more information. If you have general questions about eCommerce shipping or ShipperHQ, feel free to reach out to us.

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