Tag Archives: holiday shipping

5 Holiday Shipping Pro Tips for a No Hassle Customer Experience

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 13, 2018
holiday shipping

As a retailer and a shipper, the most important aspect of your holiday shipping customer service experience is ensuring order deliveries are convenient, cost-effective and on time for customers. The last thing you need in Q4 is cancelled orders, unhappy customers and bad feelings in what is supposed to be the season of good cheer.

Here are some tips on keeping your customers happy with your online store’s holiday shipping process.

1. Know Your Holiday Shipping Deadlines

It’s important to know key shopping and shipping dates so you can keep up with inventory, sales, orders and fulfillment to your customers.  To ensure Santa isn’t late, keep in mind these key retail dates approaching and plan your shipping staff accordingly to ensure that services selected are delivered by the holiday.

You can find a list of 2018 holiday shipping cutoff dates for the major carriers here.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be clear and upfront about the last day your customers can order to receive their items by December 24th. It’s imperative you communicate this at checkout, at the bare minimum. But it’s even better if you communicate on the product’s listing or even right on your homepage.

When possible, get granular and communicate delivery dates with each shipping option so your customers can decide if they want to opt for 2-day or overnight shipping just to be on the safe side.

Consider using this opportunity to do a marketing promotion, email campaign, text update, or run an ad. This reminds your loyal customers that they need to purchase by the cutoff date if they want to receive their order in time for gift giving. Scarcity tactics play to your customer’s sense of urgency and encourage them to click “Buy now.”

3. Keep Customers Informed Throughout the Shipping Cycle

Even when you’ve informed customers on your site and at checkout that they’ve met the cutoff date, they can get antsy wondering if their order will arrive before Santa Claus does. Take this opportunity to engage with your customer by notifying them when their package has been shipped, and providing a tracking number so they can follow along.

And if the worst should happen and the shipment is delayed (whether through a fulfilment issue, a carrier issue, weather, or one of the other problems that can crop up around shipping), take the opportunity to get in front of the problem and “make it right” with the customer. Offer a discount, refund or other incentive. This will help you explain the issue while — fingers crossed — still retaining the customer.

Of course, the best way to avoid eCommerce delivery problems is to plan for every contingency. We highly recommend implementing a backup carrier should your primary carrier let you down.

4. Make Receiving More Convenient at an Access Point

Consider giving your customers the opportunity to pick up their package where and when it is most convenient for them.  In scenarios where you’re shipping to an urban area, or where a signature is required, this could mean the difference between your customer receiving their shipment on-time and missing out.

Consider providing shoppers alternate delivery options such as “pickup in store” (like UPS Access Point or FedEx Lockers) which offers shoppers protection from “porch pirates” and extended pickup hours.

5. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day

This year, the annual “Free Shipping Day” falls on Friday, December 14, 2018.

According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Free Shipping Day started back in 2008 as a way to extend the holiday online shopping season. (Traditionally, holiday shopping online has peaked around Cyber Monday, with shoppers fearing that ordering any later might mean they receive their products too late for gift-giving.)

Stores can sign up to participate at FreeShippingDay.com, or you can do your own thing and offer free shipping renegade-style. And hey, if you’re nervous about offering free shipping, check out our guide to offering free shipping that doesn’t bite into your bottom line.

Want more holiday shipping tips? Check out the holiday shipping checklist we wrote for our partner, Blue Acorn.

Need help optimizing your store’s shipping for the holidays? Try a 30-day free trial of ShipperHQ.

 

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2018 Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  November 29, 2018
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For online retailers, ’tis the season of good cheer and record profits, but also of stressed out gift-calendargivers who want to make doubly sure their packages arrive by December 24th.

To help you plan your holiday shipping strategy, we’ve compiled this list of holiday shipping cut off dates to ensure that Santa’s gifts don’t accidentally show up on December 27th.

Please note: This blog post should be used as a guideline. Shipping cutoff dates and transit may vary depending on factors like origin, destination and product mix. These dates apply to U.S. to U.S. shipments only. Delays may apply to shipments to Alaska or Hawaii.

UPS

UPS recommends shipping by these dates for your shipment to arrive by December 24th.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date
UPS Ground Monday, December 17- December 21 (depending on shipping zone)
UPS 2nd Day Air Thursday, December 20
UPS Next Day Air Friday, December 21

You can download the full UPS holiday shipping schedule here.

USPS

The USPS recommends shipping by these dates for your shipment to arrive by December 24th.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date
USPS Retail Ground Friday, December 14
USPS Priority Mail Service Thursday, December 20
USPS First-Class Mail Service Thursday, December 20
USPS Priority Mail Express Service Saturday, December 22

For shipments to Alaska and Hawaii, the USPS recommends shipping by December 20th when shipping First-Class Mail Service or Priority Mail Service, and shipping by December 22 when shipping by Priority Mail Service. You can read more about the USPS holiday shipping cutoff dates here.

FedEx

FedEx recommends shipping by these dates for your shipment to arrive by December 24th.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date
FedEx SmartPost Monday, December 10
FedEx Home Delivery Monday, December 17
FedEx Ground Monday, December 17
FedEx Express Saver Wednesday, December 19
FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. Thursday, December 20
FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx First Overnight Friday, December 21

You can find the full list of FedEx shipping cutoff dates here.

Frequently Asked Questions about 2018 Shipping Cutoff Dates

Will UPS, the USPS or FedEx deliver packages on Christmas Day 2018?

UPS Express Critical Service is available on December 25th. FedEx SameDay City Direct, FedEx SameDay City Priority and FedEx SameDay are available on December 25th. The USPS will deliver Priority Mail Express on Christmas Day.

What are the 2018 holiday cutoff dates when shipping internationally?

This depends on factors like carrier availability and the country or region to where you are shipping.

What are the 2018 holiday cutoff dates to ship to someone in the military/an APO address?

Dates vary, but the latest cutoff date listed by the USPS is December 18. See the USPS page on military shipments for a full list of 2018 holiday shipping cutoff dates to APO, FPO and DPO addresses.

Need shipping help?

ShipperHQ calculates dispatch and delivery dates right in checkout, so your customers will always know which shipping option to choose to ensure their delivery arrives on time. This cuts down on abandoned carts and anxious customer service requests from shoppers who want to create the right holiday memory. Try a 30-day no-risk free trial of ShipperHQ today.

We wish you good luck and swift shipping speeds this holiday season. Do you have any other questions about the 2018 holiday shipping cutoff dates? Let us know in the comments.

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