For many businesses, shipping can either make or break their holiday season. Customer satisfaction depends just as much on the shipping experience, just as much as it does on the quality or affordability of your product or service. Amid the chaos of the holiday season, advanced planning will go along way in covering all the bases of efficient and affordable shipping. To help you pull off seamless holiday shipping that will make your customers happy and your margins healthy, here's a simple and easy holiday shipping planning timeline. Don't worry, if you're a little behind, as you still have time to catch up.
Let's help you jumpstart your holiday shipping plans!
JULY/AUGUST - Look Back
To avoid repeating mistakes, examine last year’s season. Summer is perfect to start planning as you have enough time to fix what was broken. Look at what went well, what didn’t and what had potential if given enough attention.
SEPTEMBER - Shop Around
The shipping industry is always changing, so keep abreast and broaden your options. Your business may have evolved since last year and other carriers and solutions may be better suited. Research shipping solutions and compare the suitability of each carrier against each product or shipping scenario.
OCTOBER - Stock Up
Restock enough of your best sellers, stock up on packaging and invest in software that saves fees such as an address correction software. Find out the latest seasonal delivery deadlines and carriers' rates.
NOVEMBER - Fine-Tune
Finalize details such as return policy, seasonal delivery changes, hiring and training, and an outbound shipping solution. Test your supply chain for a seamless fit and develop a contingency plan for weak areas. Finalize your reverse logistics and customer relationship management plans.
DECEMBER - Delivery Time
Remain vigilant about breakdowns in plans and be ready to put your contingency plans into place. Your concern should be about managing customer retention through your customer delivery experience and quick crisis response.
JANUARY - Handling Returns
Your customer retention is also influenced by your returns process. Also, don’t forget to follow-up with your new customers.
Did we miss anything? How far along are you with your holiday shipping plans?