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Shipping Demands, Your Customers & The Upcoming Holiday Season: 3 Tips to Help You Prepare

By November 15, 2017

‘Tis the season for shipping… and there’s no better time than now to get your business prepared for the demands consumers expect this upcoming holiday season.

Whether you’re an ecommerce based business, a marketplace seller, a vendor shipping to merchants or offer shipping in any other capacity, it’s important to align your holiday business goals with an efficient shipping strategy. Among the key factors, you should consider include understanding carrier delivery schedules, knowing what your customer frustrations are and identifying why extra fees may be applied to your parcel overhead. To help, consider the below tips.

Tip #1: Know the Holiday Service Schedules from FedEx and UPS

Whether you ship exclusively with one carrier or offer a multi-carrier shipping strategy for your business, it’s important to know the holiday service schedules of FedEx and UPS this holiday season. Among the key dates to identify include when the last day you can ship a Ground package, use UPS Next Day Air or provide a FedEx Priority delivery with each of these arriving on time for Christmas. Using the graph below, reference the key dates that your company should consider when supporting your shipping needs during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Tip #2: Know What Your Customer Shipping Pain-Points Are

A recent study from Pitney Bowes identified that nearly half (47%) of online shoppers reported frustration with everything from shipping to returns to lost products during the 2016 holiday shopping season. This same study revealed that 75% of consumers prefer free shipping with longer delivery times versus only 25% willing to pay for expedited parcel shipments. Keeping this in mind, ease your customer frustration by offering efficient shipping strategies that may include free shipping, flexible delivery options and easy to process orders. Incorporating the cost of shipping into your inventory charges, for example, can help give the perception to your customers that their shipping is free – even if you know this isn’t the case. The main takeaway here, however, is to make sure shipping is as seamless as possible versus an obstacle in a buyer’s path to purchase once they’ve identified they’re ready to make a purchase with your brand.

Tip #3: Understand What Extra Fees May Be Applied to Your Shipping Overhead

FedEx and UPS alike have a way of sneaking on extra surcharges much to the surprise of many of their customers. It’s critical, however, for shippers to confidently understand what surcharges may be applied during the holiday season to best understand what extra variables may be impacting their shipping and costs alike. Leveraging a parcel auditing strategy into your shipping process can help you capture refunds on charges you may be billed for unnecessarily – while also helping to reduce your at-large parcel overhead. To ensure your holidays aren’t filled with extra, avoidable costs, begin implementing a parcel auditing strategy into your shipping efforts. With no set-up fee, monthly fees or cancellation costs, there’s zero excuses not to begin incorporating parcel auditing into your holiday shipping efforts… and beyond. Discover more about how parcel auditing can help your business here.

Finally, shipping expectations among consumers are no longer what they used to be. Their expectations for same day or next day delivery are becoming the norm versus the exception while their preference to shop online is becoming more dependent on mobile, easy-to-navigate websites with the ability to identify preferred shipping preferences. Keeping these key factors in mind, aim to please this holiday season by catering to your customer expectations while also having a clear understanding of carrier holiday schedules, extra surcharges that may be applied to your shipping efforts and how you can save money on your parcel overhead this holiday season thanks to parcel audit recovery.

Learn more about best practices for your holiday shipping efforts here.

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he then graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce and more. Learn more at www.refundretriever.com or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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