The holidays are a very busy time for the retail sector. Staying on top of holiday demand can overwhelm a product seller. By reviewing the following shipping tips, you can keep your retail operation organized and prepared for the holiday season.
Know the Deadlines
If you are using a third-party shipping company, get familiar with that company’s deadlines and requirements for on-time holiday shipping. Most carriers publish their ship-by dates online. This provides a framework for delivering products to your clients. Take note of the expedited shipping dates and additional costs if you need to ship a product closer to the deadline.
If you are using multiple carriers, coordinate your shipping times and be aware of varying cutoff times for dropoff. This can be useful if you are shipping multiple packages, as one carrier may stop accepting orders at 5 p.m. while another carrier may extend its hours until 6 p.m.
When deciding on a carrier, inquire if the potential carrier offers a pickup service. This will make your business day more efficient; you won’t need to account for time to drop off your packages to the carrier.
Provide Clear Communication
Be honest and forthcoming with your quoted delivery dates. It is always best to under-promise and over-deliver. Post the quotes directly on your website or on social media so that existing and potential clients have a clear idea of your delivery promises.
Try to reach out to potential customers early on in the season. If a prospective client is still debating about purchasing your product, try to have an open communication early on in the season so that you are not inundated with multiple last-minute orders. Offer a discount if clients submit their holiday orders by a certain deadline. This will encourage the bulk of your holiday orders to come in by an earlier date, giving you more time to focus on last-minute orders as well.
When you are discussing a potential sale with a client, take a moment to ensure that you have the correct address on file. This will help reduce returned packages due to incorrect addresses.
A significant way to save time is to pre-pack your shipping orders. If you are shipping multiple packages that will be the same weight, get the shipping boxes ready and print several labels with the weight indicated on the label. You can have these generic boxes ready to go when the orders start coming in.
Before the holiday rush arrives, be sure to stock up on the office supplies and materials that you need to ship your products. This will prevent you from wasting time by ordering new supplies multiple times during the season – and holding up shipments because you are waiting for those supplies to come in. By ordering regularly used items in bulk, you can also save money.