3 Great Tips for Preparing for the 2017 Holidays

This guest post was written by Adam Foster of ShipStation.

Retailers need to be prepared for this holiday season well in advance to make the most of this huge revenue opportunity. By building a strategy to optimize the customer experience, you have the power to increase brand loyalty for the year ahead.

However, this can only happen if you start preparing now.

Here are some useful tips that will help you get started.

Calculate your reorder point


What do we mean by this? The reorder point (ROP) is the level of inventory which triggers an action to replenish that particular inventory stock. It is a minimum amount of an item that is held in stock. When stock falls to this amount, the item must be reordered to replenish stock.

Reorder level = Average daily usage rate x lead-time in days .

For example; If the average daily usage rate of a material is 50 units and the lead-time is seven days, then:

Reorder level = Average daily usage rate x Lead time in days = 50 units per day x 7 days = 350 units

This is critical during the holiday period. Calculate your reorder point while you have time to deal with suppliers. You certainly won’t have much time in November and December.

If you use ShipStation, once you know what that reorder level is, add it to your SKU in ShipStation inventory so you get a reminder to replenish before it’s too late. Here’s how to do it:


Do this at least for your best selling products. You don’t want to run into an incomplete order on the “bread and butter” items, or any for that matter.

Be aware of the shipping deadlines


If you miss the shipping deadline there is a good chance your customer isn’t going to get their order before it’s intended date. This is a massive no-no. Not only can this hurt your relationship with your customer, it can also damage your reputation as an online seller with some selling channels (especially marketplaces). Shipping deadline information is normally released around October but sometimes you can find some articles online in September with initial information. Below are some dates to keep in mind for the upcoming holiday season:

UPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines
  • Dec 18 – Deadline for 3 Day Select shipments.
  • Dec 22 – Deadline for 2nd Day Air shipments.
  • Dec 23 – Deadline for Next Day Air shipments.
USPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines
  • Dec 15 – Deadline for Standard Parcel Post (Mail) shipments. Get your Christmas cards off by today.
  • Dec 20 – Deadline for First Class Mail and Priority Mail shipments.
  • Dec 23 – Deadline for Priority Express Mail shipments.
FedEx Christmas Shipping Deadlines
  • Dec 12 – Deadline for SmartPost shipments.
  • Dec 17 – Deadline for Home Delivery and Ground Delivery shipments.
  • Dec 20 – Deadline for Express Save shipments.
  • Dec 22 – Deadline for 2-Day and 2-Day A.M. shipments.
  • Dec 23 – Deadline for Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, First Overnight shipments.
  • Dec 25 – Deadline for SameDay shipments.

Make everything as easy as possible


Anything you can do to make your customer’s life easier will lead you to a successful holiday ecommerce campaign. From discounts on overnight shipping to gift guide content that helps reduce decision making, your customers will see you as a reputable brand that they trust.

Make sure your site is up to speed. “Research shows that 57 percent of visitors will abandon a page that takes three seconds or more to load,” says SiteSpect. “Test your site to make sure that you’re not driving off customers before they can find what they need.”

Lastly, make sure people can shop from a variety of devices. According to Acro Media, “Customers will be using devices with a wide variety of screen sizes, your website should work well and look good on everything from a large monitor to a small phone. Also, don’t limit any functionality of your scaled down versions. If customers have to try and switch to the full version, your mobile site is totally pointless and probably making things worse.”

Adam Foster manages social media and content at ShipStation. Aside from doing the odd blog and social post, Adam has recently become a first-time dad.

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