It’s the final countdown! We hope the 2017 holiday e-commerce season has been good to you. Now it’s time to look toward the new year and start thinking about 2018 shipping and post-holiday shipping considerations. Let’s dive into what should be at the top of your list.
When the holiday hub-bub dies down, the inevitable returns soon follow. This is a huge opportunity to wow customers by making their life a bit easier. Offering prepaid return labels or scan-based return labels helps streamline the process and can make you a post-holiday hero. Remember, some customers returning gifts will be having their first experience with your business, so this is your opportunity to keep them around by providing a great experience.
Also, double-check your returns policy to make sure it includes up-to-date language and is as straightforward as possible. The less confusion you create, the better the experience for all involved. Be sure to articulate who pays for shipping on returns, whether customers can get a refund, store credit, or a gift card, and what the return window is.
On this same note, be aware that holiday returns can be fraught with fraud. LPM Insider estimated last year’s fraudulent returns to have cost retailers a total of $2 billion. That’s a lot of lost revenue that you simply don’t want to be a part of. To avoid fraud, be aware of the types of return fraud that are prevalent in your industry or vertical, and take steps to alleviate it as much as possible. This can be through tightening your return window, requiring refunds are paid to the original payment method only, or offering in-store credit only, for example.
2018 Shipping Rate Changes
With the new year comes new shipping rates for USPS, FedEx, and UPS. To help you make sense of the 2018 shipping rate changes and how to maximize your revenue, download our free guide: The E-Commerce Seller’s Guide to 2018 Shipping Rate Changes.
You’ll want to use the charts in this guide to compare rates for the top carriers, learn how to balance shipping speed and cost, and discover ways you can still offer free shipping as rates increase.
For example: most customers expect a package to arrive in a couple of days. One of the most cost-effective ways to do that is with USPS Priority MailⓇ, as you can see in the chart below—unless you need it guaranteed in two days. Then you would need to use FedEx or UPS.
Find more breakdowns in various timeframes and other information you need to know by getting your free copy of the 2018 shipping rate changes guide.
Making the most of new holiday customers
Chances are, you saw a lot of new customers purchasing from you this year. Ideally, you’d like to turn those new customers into repeat customers, and repeat customers into lifelong customers. In order to do that, you need to have a communication strategy in place, with software to help you execute it.
Now is the time to establish a relationship with these new customers. There are many ways to do this:
- Offer first-time buyers a little something to encourage another visit, such as a coupon or by recommending a specially-priced item
- Ask customers to share their input in a product review
- Invite people to follow you on your social channels so they can be first to know about upcoming sales and specials
All of these things can be done in the ShippingEasy Customer Marketing add-on, which is free for the first 30 days with a ShippingEasy account.
Be sure when doing any of these things that you’re providing value to these new customers. Otherwise, you risk becoming just another unopened email in an inbox, and potentially losing the customer for the rest of the year (or forever!).