How to Prepare for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

By Baillee Perkins
Dec 1, 2023
A woman sits in front of a large computer screen with an awning by a stack of boxes on one side of the screen while a calendar and clock sit on the other side.

Preparing for last-minute shoppers can be tricky because of shipping deadlines, return windows, and having to plan your shipping budget. However, we’re giving you the gift of guidance this holiday season! Our recent study with Retail Economics found that 39% of customers are concerned about high shipping costs this holiday season globally. Additionally, 19% of customers stated they were worried about poor communication from merchants and/or carriers. 

These are the same customers who may shop later this season because they’ve forgotten gifts or needed to adjust their budgets. Communicating shipping deadlines, applying shipping automation, and utilizing the shipping rates available in your ShippingEasy account will help ease the concerns of last-minute shoppers and increase the chance they’ll purchase from your business.

Trim your tree and your shipping cost with a 30-day free trial of ShippingEasy!

Communicate shipping deadlines

If you need a quick refresher, shipping deadlines are the last possible date an order can ship and arrive in time for Christmas. For example, a certain carrier service might require you to send a package by December 20 in order to account for the higher shipping volume. Communicating these shipping deadlines to last-minute shoppers is crucial. Adding popups on your website or creating email campaigns with reminders will keep shipping deadlines at the front of your customers’ minds. Also, this is a time when you shouldn’t be afraid to over communicate. The more reminders you can give your customers, the better! The last thing you want is for a customer to be grumpy during the most wonderful time of the year because their order won’t arrive in time for Christmas. 

Keep all of the US holiday shipping deadlines in one place with our blog.

Use shipping automation

The holiday shopping season is obviously the busiest time of the year for your business. But it shouldn’t be the most time-consuming! Applying a carrier service to each and every individual label could take until Easter. However, ShippingEasy allows you to batch labels, so you can speed up your shipping process. Batching labels lets you send all of your labels to the Ready to Ship page at the same time, so you can apply the packaging and services you need to all of your shipments instead of having to edit every single shipment individually. 

In addition to batching labels, we’d like to introduce you to Shipping Rules. If you aren’t familiar with Shipping Rules, we’ll give you the rundown. Shipping Rules are If/Then statements that automatically apply certain conditions to your orders. For example, if you have a certain group of orders that will all be shipped with Priority Mail, you could create a Shipping Rule to automatically apply the service to your orders. Santa may have to check his list twice, but your Shipping Rules should apply the first time. 

Learn more about Shipping Rules in our Shipping 301 blog!

How do the rates I get with ShippingEasy help me with my holiday shipping costs?

As we mentioned earlier, our study found that 39% of customers are concerned about higher shipping costs this holiday season globally. This means customers are less likely to buy from your business if your shipping costs are higher. But don’t panic! ShippingEasy merchants can save up to 89% on USPS rates and through UPS on ShippingEasy can save up to 82% off international services, 73% off Next Day Air and 2nd Day Air services, and 78% off UPS Ground services*. Lower shipping rates for your business mean lower shipping rates for your customers. And, a lack of increased shipping rates might be the deal that those last-minute are looking for. 

*Discounts off UPS daily rates. Rates are limited to shipping from the U.S. only. Rates and any applicable discounts are subject to change at any time without notice.

For more information on our new USPSⓇ rates, check out our blog.

What are last-minute shoppers looking for in a holiday returns policy?

When your customers are purchasing gifts later in the season, one of the biggest things they’ll be looking for is an extended returns policy. Consider extending your returns window into mid or late-January. Also, it’s the holiday season, so the person requesting a return might not be the same customer who purchased the item. This gives you the opportunity to create an excellent customer experience for a brand-new potential customer. Read over your returns policy to confirm all of the information is correct and easy to follow. Who knows? You might gain two or more new customers just by extending your returns window and updating your policy wherever it needs to be. 

Find the answers to more of your holiday shipping questions in Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about Holiday Shipping.


Last-minute shoppers can actually be a really good thing. These customers give your business time to shine, so make it count! Communicate shipping deadlines clearly and repeatedly, so your last-minute shoppers know exactly how long they have to order. Use shipping automation and the rates in your ShippingEasy account to avoid any delays in your shipping process and to keep the shipping costs down for your customers. Check your returns policy for any incorrect information and consider extending your returns policy if possible. With all of these things combined, you’ll save the holiday season for your last-minute shoppers and keep everything merry and bright. 

Learn more about customer expectations this holiday season in our blog, Planning for the Holiday Shipping Season!
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Baillee Perkins

Baillee Perkins is a writer of shipping by day and pop culture by night, so her Google search history is an actual nightmare.

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