Now is the time to gear up for the holiday shipping rush.
Here are a few stats from Adobe Digital Insights and First Data Corporation to get you in the mood for holiday 2017:
- E-commerce transactions in 2016 rose 12% compared to 2015
- Between November 1 and December 31 of last year, US shoppers spent $91.7 billion online
- During that timeframe, all but four days had over $1 billion in E-commerce sales
And analysts have every reason to think Holidays 2017 will only top those numbers. Here are a few shipping tips to help you get through the season:
Remember speed matters: Always ship products as fast as possible. During the holidays, customers have high expectations and low tolerance for delays. The best-case scenario is for you to ship product out the same day the order was placed. To help you get those orders right out the door, keep an up-to-date list of shipping carriers and their pick-up times.
Work with your delivery providers: Give your logistics partners a heads’ up about the timing and volume you expect during the holiday season well in advance. It will help them plan better to meet your needs (and the needs of your customers).
Use downtime to pre-pack commonly shipped items: Now’s the time to pre-pack commonly shipped items. Write the contents and weights on the surface of the box so you’re one step ahead of the rush.
Stock up on packing supplies: This is also the time to check your inventory of shipping supplies. Make sure you have a good supply of corrugated boxes in a variety of sizes; water-activated tape and dispensers and air pillows. You don’t want to be caught short with holiday orders that outrun your ability to pack and ship them fast.
The carton matters: Use a new, unused corrugated box that’s the right size and strength for the contents. In their UPS Compass blog the company cautions against reusing boxes: “Reused boxes lose strength, especially at the corners, and are even more vulnerable if they get wet in the rain or snow."
Package products for a safe trip: Many holiday gifts are fragile, breakable and at risk of being damaged during transit. Take extra care to properly package products so you won’t have to foot the bill for costly replacements and deal with the social media reviews of unhappy customers. Consider double-boxing fragile items, leaving at least a two-inch void for air pillow cushioning for a safe ride.
Leave space around what you are shipping. Ideally, packers should aim for at least two inches of space on all sides around the item being shipped so it can be protected with air pillows on all sides.
Pack heavies at the bottom: If shipping several items, put the heavier ones on the bottom. You don’t want to stack them on top of lightweight, fragile items.
Use the right packaging tape: Make sure your tape is safe, secure and tamper- resistant water-activated tape. If it’s a larger carton, apply it in an “H" pattern at the top and bottom. The idea is to make sure your well-packed box stays secure during shipping so the items arrive safely to the destination.
Bonus Tip: When shipping goods for the holidays, slip in a festive item like a candy cane or small, wrapped candy. That unexpected goodie could bring a smile to a harried gift-giver just trying to keep up with her holiday to-dos.