Make sure you are ready for the 2015 holiday shopping-Shipping season. We have gathered together a list of information we think you will find helpful in making sure your store is ready for the increase in sales volume expected between November and Christmas. With the sales, come the shipping and the experience your customers have will determine whether they will be a repeat customer in 2016 or not!
This year make sure your inventory is sufficient to satisfy your customers. It is recommended that your inventory be filled to expected sales by November 20th in anticipation of the expected sales volume. It is forecasted that most shoppers, online and brick and mortar will again be shopping up until the last minute.
Currently FedEx expects to see an increase in holiday shipments up by 12%. This breaks down to 317million packages between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. They anticipate shipping to spike on Cyber Monday, which is November 30th along with the first two Mondays in December, when FedEx expects package volume to be more than double its daily average.
This prediction rests on the steady rise in online shopping, which has seen record growth in recent holiday seasons. This year the National Retail Federation expects e-commerce sales to grow roughly twice as much as overall sales, forecasting an uptick of 6% to 8% in November and December, compared with 3.7% for total sales.
Major retailers are also expecting higher package volume and are placing more seasonal workers in fulfillment centers dedicated to online orders. Macy's plans to hire 85,000 seasonal workers, with 12,000 of them based in "direct-to-consumer fulfillment centers,” which is 2,000 more than last year. Kohl's also plans to put 2,000 more holiday workers in distribution centers compared with last year. Walmart has been opening a fleet of large-scale fulfillment centers this year as it aims to build a more efficient operation for online orders.
Customer experience is a core aspect of the success of any business and failure to deliver a product to a last-minute shopper before the day they need it can produce a negative interaction. We know that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience and that it takes 12 positive brand interactions to make up for one negative one.
In an age of Amazon Prime and same-day delivery, consumer expectations about e-commerce shipping are higher than ever. Any retailer that's selling online needs to think about realistic shipping times and cutoffs throughout the season to make sure customers get their deliveries before the holidays.
With that in mind, the following ship and delivery dates for U.S. carriers are particularly important for gaining customer loyalty during the holiday season. It’s wise to be as upfront as possible to your consumers regarding these dates.
FedEx Shipping Deadline Within the U.S.
Dec. 12: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost Dec. 17: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground
Dec. 20: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver
Dec. 22: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
Dec. 23: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight
Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay
Shipping deadlines for packages headed to Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and other international destinations vary.
UPS Shipping Deadlines Within the U.S.
Dec. 22: Last day to ship via UPS 2nd Day Air
Dec. 23: Last day to ship via UPS Next Day Air
U.S. Postal Service Deadlines Within the U.S.
Dec. 15: Last day to send packages via standard parcel post
Dec. 20: Last day to send packages via First Class Mail & Priority Mail
Dec. 23: Last day to send packages via Priority Express Mail
The deadline for shipping packages internationally varies based on the destination. In some cases, the deadlines are as soon as Dec. 2.
Now that you have the information on when your customers shipments will be sent to them or to their gift recipients. Do everything you can do to meet their expectations so that you can garner that repeat business.