The holiday season represents a significant opportunity for smaller businesses. It’s a chance to prove how well you can compete against bigger players in the market without letting yourself get swallowed up. One of the ways you can distinguish your company from other competitors is how well you handle your holiday shipping during the rush.
Standing up to the pressure brought on when managing a surge in shipments can be a struggle. Failure in this area can have a significant impact on keeping new and current customers loyal during the holiday shopping season, with 98% of consumers indicating it does impact whether they continue doing business with a company.
Follow these holiday shipping tips so you can manage your shipping needs without getting overwhelmed.
1. Stay Competitive Through Automation
One place where smaller businesses often fail is keeping up with increased orders as shoppers start making their holiday purchases. Can you quickly verifyif you have products in stock? Are you getting the best rates so you can offer free or discounted shipping? Are you using the most efficient means of shipping your products with the quickest turnaround? Do you have a central place to manage all your orders?
Manually processing orders can bog down your processing time and open up the possibility of mistakes. Shipping software helps you avoid all the landmines that come with the holiday surge by allowing you to automate. What are some of the benefits of adding automation to your holiday shipping processes?
- Have the correct rates auto-populated based on package weights, destination, and dimensions
- Automatically create your labels and packing slips, then send them to the printer
- Send tracking information to your customers so they know their package is on its way
- Set up rules for automating shipping carriers based on customer selection
Proper utilization of ShippingEasy software can result in a dramatic reduction in the time workers need to spend setting up orders for shipping. You save money by only needing to bulk up your holiday staff when you genuinely need additional help, which you’d rather invest in other critical business areas.
2. Use Personalization to Your Advantage
Customers can end up feeling lost in the shuffle when communicating with larger companies, especially around the holidays. Some big brands talk a big game about their customers but send out impersonal, generic messaging. That’s where you can use your company’s smaller size to your advantage.
Your shipping software could help segment your customers into specific audiences by employing order and customer data. It can tell you more about what they like and make clear where their interests lie. The Customer Marketing add-on available with ShippingEasy software gives you the ability to do just that.
Avoid sending out yet another paint-by-numbers shipping confirmation email or holiday promo campaign by using the insights and analytics to personalize your communications better.
Some Personalization Advantages:
- Create personal packaging notes to slip into shipments
- Automatically attach gift receipts and special messaging to gift orders
- Create segmented customer lists and cater relevant holiday promotions to them
- See if you can set up abandoned cart emails to capture sales from those who may be “window shopping” during this busy sales season
Cut through the holiday clutter in your customers’ inboxes with email communications targeted directly at their needs. Customize different tags and notes based on your audience, or create holiday newsletters full of items they might want to add to their holiday shopping list.
Every communication from your business, from emails sent to delivered packages, can make your customer feel valued by your company.
This type of in-depth personalization, especially around the busy holiday season, can be nearly impossible to achieve without the right software and expertise. ShippingEasy offers both software and expert advice.
3. Build Strong Relationships With Customers
While companies should always work to bring in new business, it’s equally as important to keep a good relationship going with customers who’ve made one or more purchases from your store. You can leverage the same tools used to personalize your communications in maintaining relationships with customers around the holidays and throughout the year.
Use your knowledge of your customers’ buying patterns and preferences to set up email campaigns. These can be triggered when they make a particular purchase to increase repeat business or encourage them to leave feedback about items they’ve purchased once a shipment is complete. Asking for reviews on products helps your business learn which items you may want to invest in more, or where you may need to refine your inventory.
Customers end up abandoning over $280 billion worth of items in online shopping carts each year. As mentioned above, avoid losing out on those valuable dollars, especially around the holidays, by reaching out to customers with emails containing links back to the items they left behind. Doing this makes it convenient to go back and complete their orders, and shows them you’re paying attention.
Other Relationship-Building Ideas
Set up campaigns encouraging customers who haven’t shopped with you in a while to return for a holiday sale.
- Send product recommendations based on prior purchases
- Create special promotions encouraging them to shop with you again this year
- Make sure your brand story comes through in all your communications, letting customers know what your business represents
- Provide quick customer service response to issues, past or current
No software can replace going above and beyond for your customers. It can help you refine that effort, however, and make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities to establish firmer bonds with customers around the holidays. Do that, and it can translate to more sales throughout the rest of the year.
Learn more about the capabilities of ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing solution, complete with holiday-ready email templates, by clicking below!