November and December are the busiest months of the year for retail with each week leading up the last Saturday before Christmas busier than the previous one. Almost one in three Australians do their shopping on the last pre-Christmas Saturday, and with Christmas falling on a Monday this year, we anticipate peak days for business this year to the weekend of 16 and 17 December.
And with Amazon’s arrival, the eCommerce space is bound to heat up more than ever this Christmas. During the busy gifting season, it’s especially important to ensure your customers’ parcels arrive safely and on time. Having the right courier partner will help you deliver the best experience for customers – saving them a trip to the post office, and giving you the chance to turn a one-time shopper into a loyal customer in the new year.
We have the following advice on helping small businesses with an online presence get their products to their customers without issues this Christmas:
Have a holiday-specific shipping and returns policy ready – Shipping times and returns policies are critical in the November to January period. 70 per cent of customers look at return policies before they make a purchase during the Christmas rush, up from a normal 10 per cent during the rest of the year, usually because they are buying gifts for others. Make sure you have a returns policy with the gifting season in mind.
Validate addresses before shipping – One in five Australians make address errors when ordering online. To avoid sending parcels to the wrong address, double check the address is valid before you organise shipping and make sure your courier service does the same.
Know your courier cut-off dates for Christmas deliveries – Cut-off dates vary between carriers and some stop taking new orders as early as a week out from Christmas due to high demand. Advertise “last order” dates on your website to help your customers avoid disappointment. For those selling internationally, factor in time for weather related delays in the EU & US, it could be snowing!
James Chin Moody, CEO and co-founder, Sendle