How to Prepare Your Store and Customers for Holiday Shipping Deadlines

ShipStation shipping deadlines

If your B2B commerce business has a direct to consumer component, you face shipping deadlines routinely, but holiday shipping deadlines are among the most challenging to navigate.

How to Prepare for Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Each year 40 percent of online holiday shopping is completed in the last 10 days before the deadline for guaranteed holiday delivery. With a heavy shift to online sales taking place in recent years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a variety of infrastructure-related issues such as short staffing and excessive demand, things will likely remain stretched thin this year.

Indeed, the various shipping providers are highly encouraging both merchants and buyers to get orders in early this year, to avoid any unexpected issues that could cause items to show up late. And the USPS has been slowing down service guarantees as part of their ongoing challenges.

With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to prepare to meet those holiday shipping deadlines.

1. Know Your Shipping Providers’ Deadlines for Shipping

To ensure items arrive in time for the holidays, you need to know how much time you have to deliver on orders before it’ll be too late.

Each year Zoey partner ShipStation prepares a holiday shipping deadline schedule that outlines the various deadlines for each shipping provider, and each core shipping type such as ground shipping and next day air. Knowing their basic expectation will reduce the risk that items you ship won’t get to your buyers in time for when they want or need them.

2. Set Your Own Internal Deadlines Based on These Dates

Now that you know when the carriers need the items, you’ll need to figure out how much wiggle room you’ll need. Will more orders mean you need an extra day or two to fulfill these purchases? If so, you’ll want to set ordering deadlines that don’t set you up for failure.

If you’re unsure, pad the dates a bit – it’s never a problem to underpromise and overdeliver, and you will reduce the risk of frustration at what can already be a taxing time of year.

3. Message These Deadlines Clearly and Explicitly to Your Buyers

Once you’ve set those deadlines for yourself, you need to make absolutely certain your buyers are aware of this. This can be done in a variety of ways, but at the very minimum it should be referenced regularly in marketing emails and in a ribbon on the top of your site.

Being explicit about what to expect for shipping deadlines will help your buyers feel comfortable you’ve done the legwork to minimize issues when it comes to whether items will arrive in time or not.

Planning out your messaging for this should be part of a larger calendar planner for your marketing, to help stay organized and on message throughout the season.

Holiday Shipping Made Easy

The holidays can be the busiest time of year for many businesses, driving volumes they don’t have to fulfill in normal times. If you need help processing eCommerce shipments in bulk, including label generation, ShipStation can help you streamline your fulfillment process.

ShipStation offers Zoey merchants a free 30-day trial to get started – click here to begin the process:

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