No shame here – we’ve all waited till the last minute to complete a task at some point in our lives. In my case, procrastination was a companion of mine throughout most of college. 24-hour Starbucks and sympathetic roommates were my saving grace. If you have waited until now to formulate a shipping strategy to handle the high order volume of the holidays, don’t panic. Here are three simple fixes that will help you breeze through the holiday frenzy.

Give buyers a shipping time table.

Before you are inundated with questions like, “when will my package arrive?” provide shoppers with a chart detailing when they can expect their items to show up. A disclaimer regarding delays due to high volume may be something to include, like Sephora.com did below. If packages show up on time (or even better, early) after you’ve highlighted all possible outcomes, buyers will be pleasantly surprised. Amazon reports that the most common reason its sellers see negative feedback is due to issues with shipment. Set clear expectations, and exceed them where you can.

shipping_time_table

Prevent unnecessary delays.

Once the item is on the plane, train or automobile en route to your buyer, the process is pretty much out of your hands and at the mercy of your shipping carrier. That said, there are some preventative measures you can take to make sure packages arrive on time. Any packages that buzz, tick, beep or emit any kind of electronic sound during transit may cause suspicion. To avoid an item being unnecessarily detained for further inspection, remove all batteries and use proper packaging materials. This includes:

  • Packing tape (2-inch-wide clear, brown, reinforced or paper packing tape)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Bubble envelopes
  • Cardboard backed envelopes
  • Bubble wrap & foam peanuts
Brand your packaging.

For best results, exceptionally branded packages are developed through time, trial, and a consistent commitment to making your brand stand out against competitors. However, there are some small things you can do that can have a big impact on the buyer’s experience. If you have the time, pre-write thank you notes to include in packages. If handwritten notes are just not in the cards, customize your packing slips to include a thank you note for buyers. Be sure to include contact info so that if buyers need to reach you, they know how. Consider throwing in some freebies – like a coupon or sample. The more you can make your buyers’ shopping experience stand out, the better. A 10 year study found that brands that can evoke an emotional connection with buyers can effectively charge 20 to 200% more than competitors. Branding the experience is well worth your (limited) time.

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