How to Diversify your Shipping in Preparation for the Holidays

Each year, more customers pivot from brick and mortar sales to online sales during the holiday season. But this year we are truly in unprecedented times. And in the world of retail, both online and offline sellers are having to pivot quickly to meet increasing, shifting demand and work hard to deliver orders. With restrictions on what you can sell as well as where you can sell it, and how you can get your products into the hands of your customers, having all your eggs in one basket can negatively impact your business.  

Holiday shopping continues to move online—we all know this. And while there are more opportunities to attract more customers, there’s also a lot of competition. Understanding changing consumer preferences can help you stand out among the competition and it’s your best shot at winning more sales and gaining repeat customers once the holiday season ends. Check out these tips from our friends at ShipStation to help you come out on top this holiday season.

Offer Free Shipping

While customers do have a higher demand for express shipping, there is still a greater emphasis on free shipping among most consumers. According to a ShipStation survey:

  • 96% factor shipping into their purchase decision when shopping online
  • 89% consider shipping speed when making an online purchase decision
  • 94% take shipping cost into consideration when making an online purchase decision

While cart abandonment is an ever-present issue, many customers won’t even place an item in their cart unless they know shipping will be free. As we move into the holiday season—particularly the earlier big shopping days like Black Friday—free shipping can mean the difference between making a sale or not. In fact, ShipStation found that 69% of consumers would rather have free 5-10 day shipping rather than paying for it to arrive quicker. 

What about Express Shipping?

While Amazon Prime has rewired how we think about online delivery, not everyone sees all online purchases as needing express shipping. Express shipping is still important, but it is still viewed as a value-added charge. This is particularly true of items in the following categories: 

  • Medicine 
  • Food
  • Electronics
  • Pet Supplies
  • Personal Care & Hygiene Products

Express shipping is considered 2-day delivery and quicker. The major reason to offer expedited shipping is that it’s often used when buying a gift. 76% of customers said they are more willing to pay for expedited shipping if it’s a gift for someone else. Whether this is seen as part of the gift, or even a fear that cheaper, slower shipping options have a greater possibility of damaging a package is unknown. As we approach the holiday season, with December procrastinators in mind, offering expedited shipping is a great way to increase cart conversions. 

Ship orders the same day they’re placed

Whether you can offer expedited or free shipping is one thing, but quickly shipping products out of the warehouse is a must. The sooner a customer receives their shipping confirmation email with the tracking link, the sooner they breathe a sigh of relief. Staying on top of order fulfillment can be challenging, but it leads to repeat customers. Offering free “Same-Day Shipping” is a great way to incentivize customers to shop with you. This doesn’t mean they’ll receive their order the same day they place it. It just simply means that you’ll ship out an order on the day it’s placed. 

Returns are becoming a selling point

Returns are unenjoyable for everyone involved—except the carrier. However, there is a lot of selling power in doing returns well. According to Allbusiness, 91% of customers factor return policies into their online shopping. During the holiday season, returns are more common and a website that doesn’t offer returns, or offer them well, will likely be sidelined in favor of a company that has a good return policy. 

Shipping is important

Shipping can be a deciding factor in whether or not a customer purchases your products and becomes a repeat buyer. Offering diverse shipping options and having a good return policy is key to whether or not this holiday season is a naughty or nice one!


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