As we head into another holiday season of navigating COVID-19 restrictions, we want to share some tips to help you prepare. Just like last year, it’s a good idea to prepare sooner rather than later. We recommend encouraging your customers to shop early as shipping delays are still the norm with most carriers and particularly for certain destinations. High shipping volumes are expected again this year so follow our tips below to stay ahead of the madness.
Start Holiday Sales Early
Like last year, shoppers are predicted to start buying earlier this holiday season. As an ecommerce business, that means planning your sales sooner. Many retailers will likely move their holiday promotions as early as October. Last year Google shared some interesting seasonal insights given the pandemic and what it could mean for holiday shopping. It’s likely that these same trends will continue this year.
We all know that Black Friday is the kickoff to a lot of holiday buying. But due to the pandemic, this major shopping event is still expected to be slightly scaled down as businesses deal with the challenges of proper physical distancing. However, predictions for Cyber Monday spending show 2021 will once again be a record-breaking year with many more consumers becoming familiar with online shopping during the pandemic.
Although there will always be last-minute shoppers, try to encourage early shopping with your customers. With the combination of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, carriers will likely experience backlogs of shipments, extending transit times. And to complicate matters, due to COVID-19, many carriers are experiencing delays and longer transit times because of:
- Limited transportation available (particularity air capacity)
- Reduced staff
- Increased safety measures
With these longer shipping times, it is even more important to manage customer expectations this holiday season. Clear policies on your website and communication with your buyers can reduce customer complaints and minimize any potential refund requests.
Service Alerts & Useful Carrier Resources
Be sure to bookmark our blog and carrier pages so that you can keep up to date on any service alerts that affect your shipments. This is a great way to keep you and your customers informed especially as winter weather comes into play.
Keys to Holiday Customer Happiness
- Run a promotion or timed sale to get your customers to buy early instead of waiting until the last minute.
- Set earlier cut-off dates for shipping deadlines.
- Display and communicate your shipping policies clearly.
- Provide estimated timelines for delivery as many carriers removed service guarantees.
With more people shopping online, shipping volumes have drastically increased. This has caused strain to many carriers as they navigate their safety protocols and reduced transportation capacity. USPS has once again announced temporary peak surcharges joining other carriers like UPS and FedEx. These temporary surcharges go into effect from October 3 through December 26 and are attributed to increased expenses and package volumes from the pandemic and the upcoming holiday season.
Reach Out for Support
As most online businesses see a spike in sales over the next few months we know that even in a typical year, this can be a stressful and busy time. And given the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, many businesses have had the additional burden of rethinking and pivoting their approach. But, support is available! Find tips and tools for retailers in the Retail Council of Canada’s holiday resources. Google has also published a handy guide for retailers and businesses.
And through it all, we will always be here to support in any way we can. From the latest updates from our partner carriers on holiday deadlines, to providing excellent client support for your inquiries. Rest assured that we are here to support you and help you reach success. Our mission remains unchanged: to help Canadian entrepreneurs live their dreams!