The holidays are already upon us. If you don’t believe that, head to your nearest superstore to see the Christmas trees and decorations out, ready for sale. Believe it or not, many consumers have already started checking off their holiday shopping list. In fact, a study from 2017, shows that 12% started buying in the summer, and 54% will begin making purchases before Black Friday. If you still think you have some time, keep in mind that 45% will start shopping in October! That doesn’t leave you much time to get your holiday marketing and shipping plans in order, but have no fear. We’re here to help. Here are 4 shipping tips you can start putting into practice right now.
Sell with Amazon FBA
For the least possible hassle during the holiday selling season, consider selling with Amazon FBA. When you use this service, Amazon will take care of the inventory storage and shipping for you. Just remember there are some key dates to keep in mind.If you’d like to take advantage of the long-term storage fee reimbursements, you’ll need to make sure you opt in for the promotion between August 21 and November 30, and your products must be received at the fulfillment center by December 5. Also keep in mind that Amazon often makes last-minute changes to selling requirements, including a ban on new FBA sellers after a certain date. While that ban is not in place at the moment, things could change at a moment’s notice. If you’re not already an FBA seller, consider applying as soon as possible so that you don’t inadvertently miss your chance.
Work with a Dropshipper
Amazon FBA isn’t the only program that allows you to set and forget your shipping services. Many suppliers will now offer dropshipping services, which means you only have to manage the marketing and selling of your products. Once the order is received, your supplier will handle the shipping.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this particular model. First, your suppliers are often located in other countries, which would increase the shipping time needed to get your products in the hands of buyers. Most of the time, a week to wait isn’t too bad, but during the holiday season, those times increase exponentially. If you work with a supplier in China, there are additional holidays during this time that could delay shipping even further. Also, with FBA and dropshipping, you give up a lot of control over your business. Remember that your only physical interaction with customers if often the receipt of your product. If it’s poorly packaged or damaged during transit, that reflects poorly upon your company—not Amazon or your supplier.
Not only do you give up the control over the packaging, but you also give your customer and supplier direct access to each other. This can lead to a loss of business if both parties decide to cut out the middleman—your business.
Avoid Abandoned Carts
The reason 61% of consumers will abandon an online shopping cart is hidden fees due to shipping costs. That’s a lot of sales that you could miss out on this holiday season. You can stop the issue before it begins by offering transparent shipping costs from the beginning. Another option is to provide a shipping calculator, especially for large items or those that must travel a long way to reach the buyer. Many online retailers will provide free shipping options for purchases over a certain amount. You can increase prices to offset the cost, so there’s no risk in considering this option. This is absolutely the smartest way to encourage buyers to finish the purchase. No surprises at the checkout page will keep that wallet handy. Even better, many will increase their purchase amount in order to reach the free shipping threshold, netting you more in the long run.
Delight Your Buyers
Most of the shipping we’ve talked about so far involves having someone else do the hard part. If you track and store your own inventory to ship upon purchase, then you have some additional options available to you that dropshippers and FBA sellers don’t. You have the ability to delight your buyers with additional touches that other sellers won’t. That’s the type of thing that will help you build a brand that stands apart from others.
Your first opportunity to delight buyers is with clever packaging. We have some ideas for clever packaging that you can peruse, or you may have some ideas of your own. Of course, this means you should make sure you have plenty on hand before the holiday season begins. You don’t want someone’s package to be late because you had to order more fancy boxes and bags. Before you ship, take the time to write a thank-you note to drop in the box. You can also print stickers to place on the box or bag before you drop it in the mail. Nothing warms a heart like sincere gratitude, and again, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Finally, consider dropping in some surprise gifts with your customers’ orders. These can be small and inexpensive, because it’s the thought that counts, right? For instance, include a magnet with a clever slogan, a pack of branded holiday cards they can send to friends and family, a sample of another product, or even a coupon for a discount the next time they shop.
With these tips, you’re ready to face the holiday shopping season. If we can help you in other areas before the season begins, don’t hesitate to reach out. Private Label University is here for you.