It’s probably no surprise to online retailers that last year almost half of holiday shopping was done online. And, it’s probably less shocking that it’s expected to hit higher records this upcoming season.
With 40 percent of holiday shoppers beginning their shopping before Halloween, it goes without saying that online retailers need to have a shipping policy in place (early!) that will keep customers happy in terms of time, cost and quality.
Along with online shopping comes a lot of consumer expectations, especially when we’re talking about getting those packages to customers’ doorsteps during the holiday season. For starters, consumers everywhere are looking for free shipping during the holidays. According to a National Retail Federation 2015 survey, free shipping is the most anticipated promotion during the holidays, and 93.1 percent of online shoppers will use a free shipping offer when seeking out their holiday merchandise on various websites.
In addition to offering holiday promotions such as free shipping, you need to make these promotions known! Customers are hands down more likely to shop from your site if you shout your upcoming holiday shipping deals, promotions and policies from your virtual rooftop.
That being said, here are a few tips and tricks for creating and promoting your holiday specials, without busting your budget.
Create a holiday shipping calendar
Identify and let customers know specific dates for your holiday shipping promotions. This way, you don’t have to offer free shipping, or other shipping deals that will hurt your bottom line, for the entire holiday season.
Instead, shoppers can get their carts ready and take advantage of promotions on one specific day(s). Mark a few dates on a calendar with different shipping deal variations and feature the calendar on your company’s website. Think about a “free shipping day” or a “free shipping on orders over $50 day.” By doing this, you’ll also be able to anticipate the influx of orders so you can have more inventory and workers in the warehouse.
Offer extra shipping deals to repeat customers
Repeat customers spend 25 percent more per transaction during the holiday rush, according to an Adobe study. Therefore, try offering shipping promotions for customers’ NEXT purchases. For example, “free shipping on your next order” or “free stocking stuffer with next purchase.” This way you’re rewarding customers for making their current purchase, encouraging them to make a next purchase and maintaining customer relationships.
Broadcast a seamless return shipping policy (and actually have one)
According to UPS and comScore, Inc., 67 percent of shoppers will review a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Not only is it crucial to have a straightforward and simple returns process in place, but you have to make it known front and center on your website. If you’re walking the walk, you should definitely be talking the talk! And, don’t make a customer dig for a shipping or return policy, because chances are they’ll get frustrated, lose interest and abandon their shopping cart.
If you still need to get your holiday season basics down, check out our 2015 handbook to holiday shopping and shipping.
And for those shipping holiday packages overseas, make sure to read through our international shipping cheat sheet.
Endicia is a leading provider of internet-based postage services that make it easier and more affordable to ship parcels through the U.S. Postal Service®. We know that shipping can be complex and our goal is to simplify your shipping operations so you can focus on doing what you do best. Visit us at www.endicia.com to learn more.