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How to Handle Holiday Shipping Issues

This year's massive shift to the e-commerce scene has brought about severe challenges for retail businesses worldwide.

With the coming holidays and fast-rising customer demands, many more issues may arise. However, holiday shipping has always been a challenge for e-commerce and retail brands. In normal periods, brands had to ship lots of holiday orders in a very short time-frame. With the pandemic, the orders will be enormous. Already, the pandemic caused unprecedented growth in e-Commerce. However, shipping had been severely disrupted by the pandemic, and more challenges are expected in shipping during the holidays.

 

Carriers like United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS have been forced to turn away new customers as they have too many packages to deliver. There is also a widespread fear online orders in December might reach their customers in January.

 

Some brands are already stretching out their holiday sales to accommodate carriers and make pickups and deliveries easier.

 

However, the holidays are far from over, and customer demands are still expected to rise. Therefore, brands must think out of the box to meet the expected holiday shipping challenges. Nevertheless, finding solutions begins with awareness.

 

This article will explore the most common holiday shipping challenges you should expect and ways to handle them. With great care and planning, your brand can overcome these challenges and emerge victorious long after the holiday shopping season.

 

Holiday Shipping: Challenges and Solutions

 

1. Inadequate Inventory to Meet Customers' Demands

 

A small change in customer demand can cause ripples of inefficiencies in the supply chain. This was the effect witnessed at the onset of the pandemic, which caused massive shortages of essential products. At the same time, there was a surplus of other products. Naturally, avoiding low inventory is important, and experts already predict that some items will be inexplicably more popular than others. So, the big question is – how do you know what products to store or not?

 

Solution:

 

You need to build a resilient supply chain by gaining transparency and real-time insight on all aspects of logistics. Real-time visibility helps you achieve control at all stages of the product lifecycle.

 

Real-time visibility will also help you accurately forecast demands on products, so you never have to encounter low inventory issues. What's more, consider technological tools that can help you harness insights on underlying trends and customer behavior. That way, you can make better and smarter decisions to handle the demands of holiday shopping.

 

2. Reduced Staff In Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers

 

Normally, during the holidays, companies require all hands on deck to meet customer demands. However, the present pandemic comes with quarantine, and social distancing regulations that makes such measures impossible. Businesses face the challenge of keeping their supply chain running while protecting their workforce.

 

Solution:

 

Consider technological solutions that drive seamless collaboration between carriers and suppliers. With real-time communication between carriers and suppliers, you can be in better positions to take action quicker in events of disruptions. A free flow of information, to your customers, through tracking can also help them achieve the right expectations, especially during these holidays.

 

With that in mind, keep track of the cut-off dates (last day to ship) for the couriers you want to work with. Furthermore, it is also considered the best practice to set cut-offs for expected delivery by December 25. This should also include days for fulfillment and packaging, delivery lead time, and shipping delays that might occur.

 

3. Cart Abandonment

 

Rising shipping costs and lengthy delivery times may cause some customers to abandon their cart. Therefore, you need to focus on opportunities that will ramp up holiday orders and reduce card abandonment.

 

Solutions:

 

  1. Leverage the Buy Online, Pick-up in Store: BOPUS is fast becoming a great option that most customers covert. It also presents a unique opportunity to offer positive and memorable experiences. Luckily, even if you don't have a brick-and-mortar location, companies like DeliverOL brings you BOPUS services.
  1. Last-Mile Delivery: Consider multiple options for last-mile delivery to spread out the volume of your holiday shipping needs. This will help you reduce the chances of shipping delays and boost customer satisfaction.
  2. Expand Carrier Options: If you rely on major shipping carriers like the USPS before now, you need to consider other options such as a private postal carrier or multiple carriers. By leveraging more carrier options, you can reduce shipping costs. It will also help you provide different delivery times and costs for your customers, giving them the power over their holiday shopping. Using multiple carriers is an excellent way to circumvent the current shipping delays.
  1. Low Focus on Customer Experience: The pandemic has made many businesses unconsciously shift from delivering great customer services to struggling with making deliveries. It's no wonder that Forbes's survey shows that 1 in 4 consumers say they had a negative online shopping experience in the past few months. The reasons given ranged from the poor user experience on e-commerce websites to undesirable fulfillment options.

Achieving your customer's loyalties should always be at the forefront of your e-commerce strategies. It is impossible to achieve that without making customers your main focus. As businesses progress, many e-commerce trends can be cost-effective to help you improve customer service.

Focus on strategies that can help retain loyal customers while providing positive, trustworthy, and memorable experiences.

According to experts, if you provide great service during this holiday, you will likely gain tremendous market share and retain your customers. In other words, you can achieve massive growth, if your holiday shopping strategies are excellent.

 

4. Delay in Shipping

 

This is perhaps the biggest holiday shipping challenge to expect. The coronavirus has drastically reduced efficiency across supply chains, so you must expect and prepare adequately for them.

 

Solution:

 

Pad your delivery timelines and set reasonable expectations for your customers. Also, consider using fulfillment solutions (such as micro-fulfillment) to store your inventory closer to your customers. If you are not sure how this works for you, talk to our experts at DeliverOL, to uncover the right shipping solutions tailored to your business needs.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

Holiday shopping will be nothing like we have ever seen before. Not only will there be numerous holiday orders, but the conditions and circumstances around them will also be entirely different from previous years. Already, it has been a strange year all around. However, being proactive is the best way to avoid the worst of the holiday shipping challenges this year. That way, you can meet your customers' needs, on-time, and enjoy massive growth long after the season.

 

Schedule a call with one of our team members today.

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