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 significantly impact 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 verify if your products are showing the correct weight and dimensions on orders to help streamline shipping? 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. ShippingEasyhelps 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 rate quotes auto-populate, based on the package type, weight, destination, and dimensions configured in your Shipping Presets and Package Setup.
- Use Shipping Presets and Package Setup as conditions in Shipping Rules to streamline the label creation and printing process.
- Send tracking information to your customers so they know their package is on its way by making sure confirmation emails are selected in your store settings.
- Keeping up to date with the holiday shipping deadlines for carriers.
- Set up shipping rules to automate carrier options based on criteria such as the customer’s requested service.
Certain features of ShippingEasy, such as Shipping Rules, can really reduce the time workers need to spend setting up orders for shipping. More information regarding the conditions of these Shipping Rules can be found in our Knowledge Base. 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
- Our Branded Tracking feature is free for Basic and above plans during the holiday season, and it gives you the opportunity to customize your confirmation emails by selecting a color scheme from our color wheel and presets, choosing from several different fonts, and other customizable options that really help you showcase your business’s specific brand and voice. This gives your customers a better idea of who you are with a personalized touch.
- 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.
If you have the Customer Marketing add-on, 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.
Almost 70% of customers don’t complete their online purchases. 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
- For Basic plans and above, generate free custom reports to gain access to customer information, where applicable, to find your repeat customers as well as customers who haven’t purchased from your store recently.
No software can replace going above and beyond for your customers. However, it can help you refine that effort 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.
71% of consumers say their experience with small businesses in 2020 has made them more likely to be a repeat customer this year 🛍️
— ShippingEasy (@ShippingEasy) November 22, 2021
Learn more about the capabilities of ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing solution, complete with holiday-ready email templates, by clicking below!