3 Great Tips for Preparing Your Store for the 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.

1. Calculate your reorder point (ROP)

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What do we mean by this? The 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 ROP 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 ROP 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.

2. Be aware of the shipping deadlines

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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 15 – Deadline for Ground shipments. 
  • Dec 21 – 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 Retail Ground shipments.
  • Dec 19 – Deadline for First Class Mail shipments. 
  • Dec 20 – Deadline for Priority Mail shipments.
  • Dec 23 – Deadline for Priority Express Mail shipments.

FedEx Christmas Shipping Deadlines

  • Dec 9 – Deadline for SmartPost shipments.
  • Dec 15 – Deadline for Home Delivery and Ground Delivery shipments.
  • Dec 21 – Deadline for Express Saver shipments.
  • Dec 22 – Deadline for all 2-Day Services shipments.
  • Dec 23 – Deadline for all Overnight Services shipments.

3. Make everything as easy as possible

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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. Neil Patel notes that 40 percent of visitors will abandon a site that takes 3 seconds to load, and 1 second lower page speed loads are linked to a seven percent reduction in conversions.

Lastly, make sure people can shop from a variety of devices. There have been a growing variety of device sizes, even within common form factors like a phone and desktop. Screens are getting both smaller and bigger, and so you should make sure your site works, and looks good, on an array of screen sizes.

Holiday preparation made easy

Zoey and Shipstation are here to make your holiday preparation easy, by offering a set of solutions that can make your eCommerce operations easy to maintain. Contact Zoey to learn how we can help your business:

Talk to the Zoey Team

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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