Get Your Small Business Ready for Shipping During the Holiday Season
We’ve officially left the lazy, hazy days of summer in our rear-view mirrors and have instead shifted gears into the familiar hustle and bustle leading up to the holidays. Understanding the delays in shipping times brought about by the pandemic, many will be starting their holiday online shopping earlier this year, which could translate to record-breaking sales for your business. But those joyful feelings can quickly turn to bah humbug when you think about processing and shipping all those orders! It doesn’t have to be daunting if you get organized and tap into resources that can make your small business holiday shipping processes more seamless.
We understand that as a small business, investing in seasonal employees may not be in your budget. Still, you can action these holiday tips to ensure that you have refined your shipping options and processes early so that you can jingle all the way to a less stressful holiday retail season.
Fine-Tune Your Shipping Process
The good news about a busy holiday season is that are welcoming in so many orders that you can start to feel a little like Santa. But every Santa needs a Rudolph (a.k.a. a shipping carrier that you can rely on for guaranteed service at the best price). That’s where we come in.
At FlagShip, we are proud to help small and medium-sized Canadian businesses take the hassle out of their shipping process. Whether shipping small packages or big ones around the world or across town, we’ve got you covered, ensuring that your customers’ packages arrive safely and efficiently. We provide a complete list of pricing options from the leading couriers, including Purolator, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canpar, and GLS – reliable shipping solutions to fit every budget. Even better, when you partner with FlagShip, you have access to the discounts typically reserved for higher volume shippers!
Below are some key considerations as you’re planning your seasonal shipping, and how FlagShip can help each step of the way:
Set Your Shipping Parameters
Are you going to offer US or International shipping? There are massive benefits to expanding your market, but it comes with some unique challenges.
You’re going to want to understand the customs regulations. This knowledge will ensure that you avoid packages getting delayed at the border and any unforeseen duties or taxes.
FlagShip is pleased to give Canadian businesses the best selection of courier rates no matter where you’re shipping to. That includes discounted rates on international shipping services too! Compare discounted international shipping rates from leading couriers, all in one place. We have extensive experience with international shipping and can help simplify the process for you.
Shipping Options for Your Customers
As an eCommerce business, it’s important to calculate and set shipping deadlines to let customers know when they can confidently order online and receive their packages in time to tuck them under the tree (wherever they are in the world). Educate and encourage your customers to get their orders in early; incentives can help, like fun bonus gifts or discounts for those who order before a certain deadline.
If people are going to abandon their online cart, it is most likely because of shipping costs. Free shipping is a differentiator that will help conversion rates, but can you afford it? Even if you’re able to access shipping discounts by partnering with FlagShip, you need to calculate how offering free shipping will impact your margins. Is there a price point where you can set free shipping over that amount? Perhaps you can offer a free shipping coupon code to loyal customers?
While free shipping is a great value-add, other customers may value time over money. Some may be willing to pay a premium for faster shipping. The more shipping options you’re able to offer, the better you’re able to appeal to a wide scope of customers’ needs.
By communicating the various options at checkout, your customers can determine the speed and cost that works for them, helping to improve your conversions.
FlagShip makes small business holiday shipping options easy! When you connect your eCommerce website with FlagShip, your customers have access to instant, accurate shipping rates and delivery dates.
The holidays are stressful for just about everyone. You can make life a little easier for your customers by offering accurate, reliable order tracking for their purchases. Email and text notifications can let your customers know where their package is and when it is expected to arrive at their desired destination. Delivery notifications offer peace of mind, particularly for customers for whom package theft is a concern.
By connecting your eCommerce website with FlagShip, we’ll do the order tracking work for you, automatically processing and organizing your shipments and tracking info.
When customers are making an online purchase, they are interested in more than shipping rates; they want to know that they have the freedom and flexibility to return or exchange items that don’t meet their standards and expectations. Be sure to clearly spell out your return policy on your site so your customers feel informed before placing an order.
The right policy will vary for each business, but there is one thing that all customers want: easy, quick returns. Using a customer-first approach to returns can be a differentiator, giving them confidence in their purchase—helping you to stand out from your competition. Conversely, a complicated return process can kill a sale. To appeal to holiday shoppers, many online retailers will extend their return policy over this season, offering customers the opportunity to return purchases in the new year. Some will provide a pre-paid return envelope to make returns as seamless and affordable as possible for their customers.
Examine your margins and determine the best policy that works for your business and gives your customers the confidence to purchase from you.
Get Those Supplies Ready
Ensure that you and your team have the supplies needed to fulfill your projected holiday orders. Everyone will be looking for boxes, shipping labels, and tape. Get it early, so that you are ready to meet the demand for Black Friday and the following holidays.
One other factor to consider when it comes to shipping materials is environmental responsibility. Customers gain a positive impression of a business that is ecologically mindful. Can you use sustainable or recyclable packaging materials? For example, biodegradable packaging peanuts and inflatable air pillows are both popular and inexpensive substitutes for Styrofoam. Simply reducing the amount of shipping materials can also limit your environmental impact and may also reduce your shipping costs. Doing what is better for the earth can in many cases, benefit your business.
Check out our top tips for packing like an expert, to ensure that your products arrive on time and undamaged.
Stress-Free Holiday Shipping is Possible
Ready to get started? Finding the cheapest way to ship within Canada is easy; we offer a full suite of shipping solutions. Compare rates and services from anywhere in the country for both domestic and international shipments. All it takes is a free account and a few clicks using our online shipping system, and you’ll change the way your business ships for the holidays, and year-round.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team at email@example.com or call us at 1-866-320-8383. We would be happy to help with your small business holiday shipping needs!