During the holiday season, many consumers press the ‘pause’ button on their shopping only to dive back in during the last weeks. But with the delay in purchases until the very week, these shoppers are focused and undeterred in choosing to buy products online despite the looming delivery deadlines.
For eCommerce entrepreneurs, if you’re looking to harness this vast wave of ready-to-spend consumers, understanding the intricacies of last-minute holiday shipping is non-negotiable. Mastery in this domain ensures you stay afloat during the festive rush.
In this blog, let’s discuss the strategies of last-minute holiday shipping, ensuring your business is perfectly poised to seize the holiday spirit.
What is Last-minute Holiday Shipping?
Last-minute holiday shipping revolves around catering to a unique yet substantial subset of shoppers who, by choice or circumstance, delay their festive purchases until the very last moments leading up to the holidays.
While procrastination might be a common human trait, the numbers tied to this trend are astounding. A study reveals that 79% of consumers wait until the final two weeks before Christmas to wrap up their holiday shopping.
So, last-minute holiday shipping is a testament to today’s digital era, where brands are tasked with not just fulfilling late orders but doing so in a manner that exceeds customer expectations, ensuring festive spirits remain high and shopping carts remain full. It’s about understanding, adapting, and thriving in a marketplace where timing, trust, and delivery converge.
Here are the Seven Strategies for Last-minute Holiday Shipping
Offer Tempting Shipping Deals
When it comes to those countdown-clock-ticking moments leading up to the holidays, the way a business approaches its shipping promotions can be the difference between a sale and a lost sale.
Your audience, particularly the last-minute shoppers, are in a race against time, searching for the best deals, and when they find an additional shipping cost tacked on at the checkout stage, it acts as a deterrent. It’s here that offering irresistible shipping deals emerges as a game-changing strategy.
By eliminating this obstacle, businesses enhance the value proposition for their customers and significantly reduce the friction leading to cart abandonment. The proposition of a “fast and free” shipping deal is the strategy to attract these last-minute shoppers.
Refine and Ramp Your Fulfillment and Shipping Process
Last-minute shoppers do get stressed by the ticking holiday clock. Therefore, the anticipation and expectation of timely delivery are natural. Now, if this order gets caught in slow packing, mislabeling, or delayed dispatching, not only is the promise of timely delivery broken but the very credibility of your brand gets jeopardized.
In order to avoid any issues, businesses should simplify and accelerate all aspects of their fulfilment process. An effective solution for this is the implementation of automation tools that can manage order processing seamlessly. This ensures that package delivery times are reduced and no orders are overlooked. Additionally, integrations can link your eCommerce platform with shipping carriers, enabling the automation of shipping label generation, tracking number generation, and real-time updates.
You can also leverage the expertise of shipping aggregators like NimbusPost to streamline your order fulfilment process. Through their advanced technology and mechanism, you can transform your fulfillment centers into well-oiled machines primed to handle the surge of last-minute holiday orders.
Accommodate Order Changes
During the holiday season, many shoppers often make snap purchasing decisions. And just as swiftly, they reconsider and ask for changes like changing an incorrect address or even a product swap. This is unpredictable yet entirely foreseeable in last-minute holiday shopping.
For online stores, the ability to accommodate these changes can spell the difference between customer-friendly services. Therefore, setting up systems that intuitively allow these modifications is crucial. Integrating agile eCommerce platforms, utilising dynamic shopping cart software, or even ensuring that the backend order management systems are flexible can all contribute to these seamless order changes.
Prepare for an Influx of Returns
The weeks following the festive season can witness a surge in customers eager to return products that weren’t quite right. This can be due to various factors converging during the holiday season, such as impulsive buying decisions, gifts that missed the mark, or human error.
However, the key for eCommerce businesses isn’t to complain about this but to thoughtfully solve the influx of product returns.
An efficient return process and a clear return policy are paramount. Returns shouldn’t feel like a chore for the customer but rather a continuation of their expected seamless shopping experience. Also, your return policy should be transparent about timelines, conditions for returns, associated costs, and refund methods.
For the business, this means organising a dedicated returns team, streamlining restocking processes, and integrating software that swiftly processes refunds or exchanges.
Advance Package Tracking
Real-time tracking is the gold standard in today’s eCommerce landscape. The thrill of watching a package through its way, city by city, hub by hub, right to one’s doorstep, cannot be overstated. A system sends out timely notifications at critical junctures: when the product leaves the warehouse, crosses state lines, reaches the local hub, and is out for delivery. These updates don’t merely serve to inform but act as bridges of communication, subtly reinforcing to the customer, “We’ve got this.”
Through API integrations with shipping carriers, businesses can embed real-time tracking on their websites, allowing customers to check the status without visiting external links.
Include a Free Delivery Option
Customers hold shopping till the end of the festive season just to have the privilege of getting more for less. And the mere mention of free shipping can become the decisive factor nudging them from contemplation to conversion.
The notion of ‘free’ may be alluring, but it can cut into profits, especially with additional holiday shipping expenses. So, how do brands strike that delicate balance? Simply by absorbing a fraction of shipping costs or incorporating it subtly into product prices, businesses can create a perception of added value. Moreover, setting minimum purchase thresholds for free shipping can encourage customers to buy more, effectively offsetting the cost of the free delivery offer.
Offer Multiple Shipping Options
Offering multiple courier services in peak season is a powerful strategy that nods to a customer base’s diverse temperaments, urgencies, and pockets. By providing a spectrum of shipping options, eCommerce businesses ensure that early and last-minute shoppers feel catered to, valued, and understood.
However, it’s more about creating a shopping experience that is as frictionless as possible. By giving the choice of express next-day delivery, standard 3–5-day shipping, or even click-and-collect, businesses empower customers to make choices based on their circumstances. For some, paying a premium for speed is worth it. For others, saving a few bucks and waiting longer is the preferred path.
The festive season’s clock ticks faster, making every second count. And last-minute holiday shipping is the art of swift deliveries, catering to the different emotions of your customers.
But here’s the golden strategy: no strategy is one-size-fits-all. The success lies in execution, in moulding these proven tactics to resonate with your brand’s voice and customers’ unique needs. That’s where most eCommerce businesses fail because of a lack of expertise and the right knowledge. Partnering with NimbusPost can give you the expertise required for last-minute shipping. We provide the added advantage of managing multiple shipping through a single platform, advanced package tracking, cheap shipping rates, automated order fulfilment, reduced RTO, and much more.
What is a holiday shipping deadline?
A holiday shipping deadline refers to the date orders must be placed to ensure delivery in time for a particular holiday. These deadlines are crucial for consumers who want timely deliveries for occasions like Halloween or Christmas and businesses that use them for sales strategies and to manage shipping logistics. Knowing these dates, especially during peak holiday seasons, is vital to ensure timely arrivals and enhance customer satisfaction.
What is the last day to ship in time for Christmas?
The last day to ship in time for Christmas depends on shipping carriers and their terms and regulations. These deadlines usually lie between 17th December to 22nd December.
Who to buy for Christmas?
A list of people to consider adding to your Christmas gift list could be: