5 Holiday Shipping Tips for Small Business Owners

5 Holiday Shipping Tips for Small Business Owners The holiday season is a busy time for e-commerce businesses. While it is always great when your sales are up, you need to ensure that your order processing and shipping process is as smooth as possible in order to make your customers happy and prevent returns. Here are a few holiday shipping tips for small business owners that might come in handy during the busiest season of the year.

Make Sure You’re Prepared

The holiday season shouldn’t catch you by surprise. It happens every year, so you must be prepared for it. Make sure your order fulfillment process is relevant for peak season (and optimize it if it’s not), stock up on shipping and packaging supplies to ensure you don’t run out of packing filler or tape at the worst possible moment, etc. If it’s your first holiday season, slip-ups are bound to happen, but being prepared allows to minimize them.

Know the Shipping Deadlines and Make Sure Your Customers Know Them, Too

Every year, postal and courier companies make their holiday shipping deadlines known beforehand so that customers can plan accordingly for the holiday shipping season. But when you’re running a small e-commerce business, simply knowing the shipping deadlines is not enough; it is important to make sure that your customers know them, too.

The thing is, even though it is postal services that are responsible for delivering orders on time, customers tend to blame sellers for delays in delivery, and at the end of the day, it is sellers that have to deal with complaints and returns. This is why it is important to make your delivery cut-off date clear and ensure your customers see it.

Display your cut-off dates in the header of your website, remind customers about them during the checkout process, include them in the emails you send your customers, and share them on social media. Keep in mind that your cut-off dates should be a little earlier than the carriers’ shipping deadlines so that you have enough time to process and pack orders.

Provide Your Customers with Tracking Information

Giving your customers tracking information is especially important during the holiday season, when they will be waiting anxiously for their orders to arrive before Christmas. The tracking option will make delivery a little more expensive, but with it, you’ll have to deal with fewer customer inquiries and complaints. Once you’ve shipped an order, send the customer a confirmation email with tracking information to let them know their order is on the way.

Print Your Shipping Labels Yourself

When you’re running a small e-commerce business, printing your shipping labels yourself is a good idea regardless of the season. First, it gives you control over the process and helps to save time: you print the labels, attach them to the packages, and drop them off at a post office or schedule a pickup. Second, it saves you money because postal and courier companies usually give discounts to customers who print shipping labels online, and shipping label printing services may offer even bigger discounts. For example, with PostageMaker, you can save up to 25% on domestic and international shipping.

Be Prepared for Returns

Even if your products are wonderful and you take every precaution to make sure your customers are satisfied, holiday season returns are a sad inevitability you should be prepared for. Develop a returns procedure before the holiday season even starts so that you’re able to process return claims as quickly and efficiently as possible once you start dealing with them. Like with delivery deadlines, this procedure should be clear-cut so that customers know what to expect and don’t bombard you with questions and complaints.