Looking for ecommerce tips on how to handle the holidays? For an ecommerce business, the last two months of the quarter can have a make or break impact on your year. In 2018, retail ecommerce sales grew 23.3% over the previous year. According to online shopping statistics from Statista, the growth rate of retail ecommerce sales for 2019 is expected to be 21.5%. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching, you want to make sure that you are prepared to avoid these common mistakes that ecommerce businesses make before the holidays.
1. Communicate Carrier Cutoff Times with Your Customers
As an eCommerce business, a shipping failure is the last thing you need during the busy holiday season. When packages are lost, you have to replace them and pay extra for expedited shipping. Not to mention the possibility of losing a customer.
During the holiday crunch time, customers may forget that one last gift and order at the last minute. If packages become lost in transit, you will be responsible for replacing them and possibly have to pay for expedited shipping if you don’t want to lose your customer. One way to prevent shipping failures is to give you customers a very clear outline of when they can expect their packages to arrive. Outlining a specific cutoff date for orders to ensure an arrival date before or on Christmas Eve (December 24th) can help prevent customer service complaints.
2. Confirm that Your Website Servers Are Equipped for Holiday Traffic
Customers expect a quick and easy online shopping experience. Web pages that take more than a few seconds to loan may result in the customer abandoning cart before completing the purchase. Check that your servers can handle the extra holiday traffic and ensure that you won’t lose sales over slow load times.
3. Order Enough Inventory
Having a number of out of stock products on your website may deter customers from returning to your website when they need their last minute orders fulfilled. Review the prior year’s history of sales to make sure you have an adequate amount of inventory to fill the extra orders or make your best educated guess. Stock up so you can make the most of your sales!
4. Do Not Run Out of Packing Materials
Now that you know your website is ready to handle sales and you have enough inventory to fulfill orders, you need to check your stock of packaging materials. If you’re expecting to ship 20,000 orders during the holiday season, you will want to have a minimum of 20,000 boxes, mailers, shipping labels, and the corresponding amount of tape, bubble wrap or other packaging materials.
5. Hire the Right Amount of Help
What’s the next ecommerce tip for the holidays? Hire the right amount of help. Being understaffed in your busiest days of the year would make any business owner freak out. Give yourself adequate time to hire and train staff before the holidays hit.
6. Offer Rush Shipping
The last minute online holiday shopper is happy to shell out the extra dollars for rush shipping. Be clear about your shipping times so your customers know when to expect their shipment and to avoid bad reviews for miscommunicated expectations.
Stay on your toes and expect order changes from address alterations to changes with shipping options after the purchase has come through.
7. Validate Every Delivery Address
Don’t forget this ecommerce holiday tip and make the mistake of neglecting to validate the destination’s delivery address! Your carriers (UPS, Fedex, USPS) will not take responsibility for incorrect missed shipments that have a bad delivery address.
Bad delivery addresses will result in expensive return shipments, customer service complaints, and slowing down your supply chain. A few extra seconds can save a lot of headache.
9. Don’t Wait Too Long to Outsource Holiday Warehousing and Fulfillment
Partner with a 3PL to outsource your holiday fulfillment to take some of the stress off your plate.
In fact, supply chains that utilize third-party logistics providers during the holidays report increased efficiency, greater capacity, and a lower cost of doing business. If you are looking to thrive during the holidays, then hiring a third-party logistics provider is how to do it.
Ecommerce Tips for the Holidays – Prepare for Black Friday & Cyber Monday with a Partner like Fulex
Fulex is the solution for eCommerce businesses and online merchants seeking to achieve a strategic advantage this holiday season. Fulex can handle all warehouse staffing, ordering of your packaging materials and validate delivery addresses as part of the fulfillment service.