Can you believe Cyber Week is over? Now, it’s just three weeks until Christmas. Right now—this very instant—is when you should be preparing to ship more than you have all year.
To help you get ready, the folks at ShipStation put together their fifth annual Holiday Shipping Guide, featuring the last possible days to ship domestically using USPS, UPS, and FedEx services. Print out this chart and post it in your shipping area for easy reference.
In addition, here are some tips that might make your shipping process even easier.
Buy supplies now, if you have not already.
Don’t wait to order your branded boxes or tape or extra rolls of labels—stockpile now! If you ship USPS flat-rate priority, call (800-610-8734) and order a ton of boxes in a variety of sizes. Repeat that with UPS and FedEx. What about envelopes or package filler? Make sure that you stock up on those, too.
Transparency is key.
Alleviate your customer’s delivery worries by being transparent about the steps your business takes to make the delivery process smooth. Post a “holiday update” on your listings that detail your own holiday shipping deadlines, purchase cut-off dates, and any changes to your regular delivery policies. Keep your customers in the know.
Depending on the size of your business, hiring extra help for the holidays could be worth it. If you’re expecting a massive uptick in sales, make sure that you’re adequately staffed—with friends and family if need be—to avoid any processing delays. For more tips on hiring part-time staff, see this blog post. Similarly, make sure your shipping station is stocked and ready for action with tape guns, extra rolls of tape, pre-made boxes, and a conveniently located label printer. Make your shipping process seamless and simple so new recruits can move through each order quickly.
Get your calendar ready.
Shipping overseas is a whole different animal because of customs. Each country handles this individually, and their shipping schedules reflect that. So give your overseas parcels plenty of extra transit time. You can view FedEx’s timeframes for Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Canada by clicking here. (For other countries, you’ll want to check their transit times.) USPS’s military installations and international shipping deadlines are here. And finally, UPS has their end-of-year schedule here.
Shipping a teddy bear to Mexico with UPS isn’t the same as shipping one to the UK via FedEx. If you bookmark these pages, you’ll be a step ahead when it comes to each country’s regulations:
Simple, right? Pre-planning—from building boxes, to ordering supplies, to placing your most-purchased product closer to your shipping station—will save you headaches down the line. Keep an eye on all shipping deadlines to ensure that your packages are received in time to make someone’s holiday special.
Got any holiday shipping tips to share? Let us know in the comments.
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