5 shipping tips for Christmas: How online retailers can get through the Christmas season stress-free
Published on: Jan 7, 2019 Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Soon, Christmas will not only be around the corner, but also the big chaos. Children lie screaming on the floor in the department stores', parents wander through the shelves of the shops and the boyfriend searches desperately in the sock department for the right present. To escape this stress, many choose to shop in online shops. Many online retailers have already worked through their Checklist for Christmas. And that is important, because 21 percent of Germans already buy their Christmas presents online. Last year, the share was still 12 percent.
21 percent of Germans buy their Christmas gifts online.
Online retailers do a full 25 percent of their annual business in the run-up to Christmas.
This year's sales in Germany are estimated at 13.4 billion euros.
In 2013, it was still 8 billion euros.
Christmas sales in online retail are steadily increasing.
The number of gifts bought online is therefore steadily increasing. Online retailers must therefore also optimise their strategies every year and respond to their customers' wishes. Through customer surveys and rating systems, they can find out what consumers really want and in which points there is still room for improvement.
1. Learn from experience and fine-tune the checkout process
Before this year's Christmas shopping season, retailers should take another look at last year's results. Where did things go wrong? For example, did packages not arrive in time for Christmas Eve? What went wrong or wrong with Christmas shipping? What feedback did customers give? With this analysis, online retailers can avoid major faux pas during the Christmas shopping season and keep their customers happy all round.
Retailers want customers to buy from them. Logical! But to do that, they also have to make it as easy as possible for their consumers.
The checkout process plays a major role in the completion of a purchase. Unsuitable payment methods, high shipping costs and few to no delivery options lead to the customer bailing out. Most online shoppers have a favourite parcel carrier because he still delivered the necklace for the girlfriend on time or the ordered porcelain bowl arrived in its entirety. If you let the customer choose between different parcel service providers, delivery options and shipping options, you are on the safe side.
2. Communicate with shipping service providers
Sounds simple, but it is very important. The retailer should clearly communicate with the shipping service provider how much rush they expect this year, asking about the service provider's capacity. If the number of orders suddenly increases drastically, the shipping service provider can react quickly if it communicates early enough. As a rule, it should not be a problem for them to increase the delivery volume by 20 percent. In this way, retailers can also tell their customers when they have to send their order at the latest so that it arrives in time before Christmas Eve.
By when do parcels have to be sent so that they arrive on time on Christmas Eve?
Depending on the size of the parcel volume to be handled, it may make sense to involve other shipping companies in addition to the regular shipping partners. This way, in the event of a flood of orders, you can fall back on them. However, test runs with these companies should take place in advance to determine how the cooperation works and to communicate problems in good time.
3. Catch online shoppers with express delivery and discount promotions
They come back every year: the last-minute shoppers. But few want to push their way through crowds of people in search of the perfect gift in retail stores. So they try online. Whichever retailer now offers express delivery is the winner. Same-day delivery is often a tricky issue at this time of year, because often same-day delivery cannot be guaranteed due to the high volume of parcels.
Those who entice customers in advance with discount promotions can also somewhat control the rush and the number of last-minute shoppers. Through promotions, customers often buy their Christmas gifts earlier instead of at the last minute. It is therefore advisable to start early with discount promotions or free shipping for a certain period. Gift-seekers can do their Christmas shopping early and also save money - and the rush in the week before Christmas Eve hopefully stays away.
4. Ensure proactive communication
A wide choice of shipping retailers and shipping options can have a positive impact on customers' purchasing decisions. However, those offering same-day or next-day delivery should deliver on their promise. After all, keeping to the promised time is particularly important to customers. Of course, delays can occur if there are too many orders. In this case, if the retailer contacts the customer early on, service requests and complaints can be averted more easily.
In the stressful pre-Christmas period, too, particular importance should be attached to personalised shipping messages. After all, it is not only the retailers who are under stress, but also the customers. If a positive relationship is created between the two, customers will remain loyal to that shop because they felt particularly looked after there.
###Experience shipping messages in action at Christmas too!
5. Using returns as an opportunity
After all the ordering, there's still a lot of work to be done by retailers. The returns rates are particularly high during and after Christmas. We are talking about returns. However, the offer of free and easy returns is what persuades potential customers to buy. Although online retailers often see a lot of work in returns, it can be a great opportunity for them. The assurance that if the worst comes to the worst, customers can easily return goods increases their willingness to buy.
[tooltip title="Tip for a better returns process" colour="green"]Make the returns process as simple as possible. The easiest way for the customer is to have a return label already created and enclosed with the order. For them, this means simply peel it off, stick it on and return it[/tooltip].
Online retailers can make their Christmas business a little easier with a few tricks. Those who bring additional shipping service providers on board when the rush is particularly high are on the safe side. It is particularly important to be in constant contact with them. Offering potential customers a simple checkout and returns process will encourage them to stay. Last-minute shoppers should also be offered the possibility of receiving their gift on time with appropriate delivery options. However, this promise must also be kept.
In the event of delays, the basic rule is: inform in good time! If the retailer takes shipping communication into his own hands and uses personalised messages, he can win over customers. To alleviate the rush and the number of last-minute shoppers in the last weeks of December, promotions are recommended. Customers then order a little earlier and save money too. With these Christmas shipping tips, online retailers can hopefully relax a little this year.
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