Shipping selections are an integral segment of your overall business strategy. Even though the tiny business holiday season begins with Halloween, do not let your shipping begin with a scare.
Learn what shipping choices you’ve ahead of time so you could be ready and ease the stress of doing a business while having the holiday season.
In today’s tiny business world, you’ve more shipping choices than ever, whether you use software apps or outsource.
That means the holiday shipping rush does not require to be crazy. Still, whenever it comes to shipping choices, there are 3 primary contenders: United Parcel Service (UPS), The US Postal Service (USPS), and FedEx.
We will explain what services each offers, how much they are costing, and the ideal to utilize for your shipping requirements. Besides that, If none of these fit in your demands. We will also cover the ideal outsourcing options and shipping software.
Are there any opportunities accessible currently?
Are you running late? In the first place, you must have to be aware that carriers. For an example, FedEx, guarantee the last minute deliveries (even, in many cases, as late as Christmas Day).
However, this might carry restrictions and additional fees. Given the service’s uncertainty this year, it might be wise not to rely on these choices.
FedEx provides several shipping choices, which vary depending on how immediately you require your packages to arrive.
- Express Saver®: Rates for the FedEx Express Saver® shipping is based on package size, weight, and destination location. The shipment will arrive within three business days.
- Ground: Rates for Ground shipping is based on package size, weight, and destination location. Shipments would arrive between one to five business days (up to seven days to Hawaii and Alaska). Ground shipping is available just for Monday to Friday delivery.
- 2Day Air®: Rates for FedEx 2Day Air® are based on package size, weight, and destination location. The shipment would arrive by the end of business on the second day.
- You could also buy 2Day® AM to ensure your package is delivered in the morning.
- Priority Overnight®: The package would arrive by mid-morning the further business day. By 8 to 9 a.m., early delivery is available to most places for an additional fee.
- Standard Overnight®: Rates are based on package size, weight, and destination location. The package would arrive by the upcoming business day.
What is the Price of the FedEx Holiday Shipping?
For the holiday season of 2020, FedEx does have surcharge and peak fees. Surcharge fees begin at $4.90. You might also require to pay an additional fee for a package traveling to a remote place.
You could use their rate calculator here and even view a breakdown of their rating details below.
For shipping within the United States:
- 9 December : Final day to ship by FedEx SmartPost.
- 15 December : Final day to ship by FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground.
- 21 December : Final day to ship by FedEx Express Saver.
- 22 December : Final day to ship by FedEx 2Day A.M and FedEx 2Day.
- 23 December : Final day to ship by FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight.
- 25 December 25: Final day to ship by FedEx SameDay City Priority, FedEx SameDay City Direct, and FedEx SameDay.
Shipping deadlines vary for the packages headed to Canada and Puerto Rico, Mexico, and many other international destinations.
See 2020 Holiday Shipping Information of the FedEx page for more details.
When To Utilize FedEx For Holiday Shipping?
If you’re close to a FedEx store or need a very informative tracking provider, this is a reliable option.
Pricing between FedEx and UPS is inconsistent and similar.
many years one is more economical, the upcoming year the other one is; it is impossible to inform you which one is the ideal option.
So, this comes down to your preference. However, This year, FedEx has included surcharge/peak pricing for the holiday season. The pricing differences between FedEx and UPS are negligible.
USPS(The United State Postal Service )
Best for saving money and affordability when packages do not require to arrive immediately.
The US Postal Service, also known as USPS, is the undisputed king of shipping. USPS could be an ideal option for holiday shipping, and it is competitive with individual companies in terms of prices and options.
It’s still the preferred way to ship to PO Boxes or military bases. With free pick-up scheduled at businesses and residences all over the US, small businesses could save a lot of cash on shipping utilizing USPS. Especially if you ship:
- Light and bulky objects
- Heavy and small objects
You might get a commercial shipping rate if you’re a business that qualifies. The USPS has sales reps who could come out to your business to help you make shipping plans.
- Delivers everywhere
- Economical for small businesses
- Free Saturday delivery
- Free pick-up
- Not great for unwieldy, large, or bulky packages
- Poor customer service
You have some shipping choices with USPS. Here is a general rundown of every option :
- First-Class Mail®: This is for necessary size envelopes weighing max 3.5oz or tiny packages that weigh max 13oz. Price is based on size, weight, and location.
- First-Class Mail duration is 1 to 3 days, and it’s just available for buy in-person at a United States postal office.
- United States Retail Ground®: This is a shipping option for packages, tubes, or thick envelopes that don’t exceed 70lbs. Price is based on size, weight, and location of the shipment.
- Retail Ground’s duration is between 2 to 8 days, depending on the distance the package requires to travel. This shipping way is deliverable to military bases and PO Boxes.
- It’s available for buy only in-person at a United States postal office.
- Priority Mail®: This is a shipping option for packages with a regional rate, flat-rate, and retail rate. Priority Mail retail and regional prices are entirely based on size, weight, and zone.
- The flat-rate covers a max of 70lbs without a requirement to weigh. Mail arrives between 1 to 3 days, and you could buy this service online or in-person.
- Media Mail®: If your business sells products that classify as media products, you may utilize Media Mail® to ship products as an economical choice. This is for books, CDs, videos, etc. This is not the ideal choice for time-sensitive materials as it takes anywhere between two to eight days for delivery. It’s available only in-person at the post office.
- Priority Mail Express®: This is the USPS choice for overnight guaranteed shipping packages under 70 lbs. It includes free pick-up at your office or home.
- Overnight shipping is guaranteed, or your cash-back, and comes with insurance.
- For the holiday season: the cash-back guarantee is just applicable if the package has not been delivered after 2 business days if it is mailed between December 22 and 25, due to the amount of mail.
- The price is based on the size, weight, and location of the shipment destination. Besides that, You could buy this service online or in person.
What is the price of the USPS Holiday Shipping?
The United States Postal Service website has an easy-to-navigate shipping calculator. You could use it to get an online estimate for your shipping price.
If your shipping way is available by their Click-N-Ship® service, you could sign in to your account, choose shipping type, then pay, and print your label.
Tiny businesses could utilize Click-N-Ship® to make batch shipments or flat-rate order boxes so it could be delivered to your place of business or home.
Almost all business locations and pick-up at residences are free. For international shipping rates, you must visit the United States Postal Services business prices page.
On December 16, Amazon has updated its deadlines for ordering products to arrive by Christmas.
• December 23 is the final day for one-day delivery inside the country. Prime members get this type of service for free, and there’s no minimum purchase.
• December 24 is the final day to get same-day delivery. Only prime members get free same-day delivery for their orders over $35.
Amazon would deliver holiday orders as a self-service Hub Locker is more than nine hundred towns and cities, including Whole Foods, for no extra cost.
Customers could also select to pick up packages in-store on a Hub Counter partner location, which includes staffed pick-up places at GNC, Rite Aid, and Stage stores, Health Mart independent pharmacies as well.
To find the closest Counter or Locker near you, check out the lookup tool of Amazon.
You will find identical holiday gift-shipping deadlines and ordering information for most primary retailers online. Some examples:
The chain provides free 2-days shipping on “millions of in-demand home enhancement products,” as well as free in-store pick-up.
You can see Home Depot’s online shipping and ordering page for details about limitations and exclusions.
The home enhancement store also provides next-day and same-day deliveries of certain products. Again, check the Delivery Services page of Home Depot for prices and limitations.
Best Buy provides free next-day shipping on “tons of items” available on its official website, including primary appliances and large TVs (51 inches and larger).
The $35 minimum order amount is waived for its My Best Buy Elite and Elite Plus member programs.
Shoppers have a one-hour in-store pick-up choice for online orders. Some places even have contactless curbside pick-up so that consumers do not even have to get out of their vehicle.
See the Best purchase’s shipping timing and prices page for more details regarding exceptions and limitations.
After the trial duration, the annual membership charge is $99 for unlimited orders of more than $35.
Members could pay a delivery cost per same-day delivery. But, the retailer notes that in 2020 year, “due to high requirement, some products have extended delivery dates.”
Target offers online business curbside and in-store pick-up.
In markets, the mass retailer provides free NextDay delivery on applicable online orders over $35. A $6 charge applies to orders which don’t meet requirements.
For the United States mainland, Walmart offers free 2-day shipping. Orders of applicable items are identified with a “2-Day Shipping” logo.
It must total more than a minimum of $35 and must be placed by 2 p.m. Orders shipped to Hawaii, Alaska, military mail centers, and many other territories might take 3 days or more.
See Walmart’s Free two-Day shipping page for more details about restrictions.
And like Target, it offers same-day, in-store pick-up of most products ordered on its official website, Walmart.com.
Certain products—such as those weighing more than 350 pounds—are not applicable for in-store pick-up.
See the Store Pick-up help page of Walmart for more details.
We will update this detail as retailers firm up their holiday plans, so you should bookmark this article and check back often o know the updates on this category information.
Set your busy-season shipping strategy
Your operation is set, and you are all stocked up on the supplies. The further step is to figure out the user-facing information—specifically, what are you going to cost for shipping?
The most basic choices are free shipping, flat-rate shipping, and exact price shipping. We have some extraordinary tips to help you figure out which one is correct for your store.
1. Free shipping
Shipping prices are frequently the most-cited point why most users abandon their carts. Providing free shipping is a brilliant way to utilize a compelling offer to enhance conversion rates without solely depending on dollar value or percentage discounts.
That being said, it is not always cheap to offer, even with the discounted prices you get through UPS, USPS, DHL, and Canada Post. Suppose you want to offer free shipping to all the audiences.
In that case, you must understand how it will affect your margins and what prices you are on the hook to cover. Adding what it charges for shipping your heaviest products and shipping to your furthest destinations.
However, it is not all or nothing when it comes to “free shipping.”
You can provide free shipping a few of the Time to some of your users.
Consider sending a free coupon code to your current users to encourage repeat orders. Besides that, you can provide free shipping above a specific order size to increase your average order value contentiously.
However, when offering free shipping, you will need to watch out for dates of shipping cutoff. If you are
only springing for free general shipping, you will be required to make the expected arrival dates clear enough so your customers could order in Time for their holiday of selection.
2. Flat price shipping
If you want to offset a few of your shipping prices and still ignore sticker shock when customers check out, a flat price shipping policy can be the perfect fit.
With flat price shipping, set a rate that would cover most of your shipping charges, a lot of the Time, and be prepared to cover the expenses for individually expensive shipping items or options.
With flat-charge shipping, aim to set a rate that will cover most of your shipping charges, most of the Time.
Your users will always know the shipping charges ahead of time, and you will still recoup most of your shipping charges, which is the ideal of both worlds.
3. Exact charge shipping
With exact charge shipping, users could see what it will cost to ship their order and pay for it when checked out.
They will get the identical discounted UPS, DHL, USPS, and Canada Post prices available to you as a merchant when you fulfill your orders with any Shipping.
Remember, cart abandonment prices tend to go up around BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) and many other holidays. The shipping prices are main reason why it’s not a deal-breaker to provide exact cost shipping. Especially if that is what works ideal for your business.
However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential impact. You must have a certain plan in place to win shoppers who have abandoned their carts.
4. International shipping
You may not be shipping internationally currently because it seems expensive and complicated. However, it is not as tricky as you thought it might be.
Additionally, users are more and more likely to do shopping outside of their borders. If you are considering expanding your customers, an international shipping strategy is one ideal way to do it.
Additionally, 3 carriers with international shipping choices developed directly in the Shopify Shipping to streamline the operation for you: DHL Express, USPS, and UPS.
You could ship with the identical premium carriers, which global retailers utilize with negotiated shipping rates, guaranteed express service, and service to more than 220 territories and countries.
Whichever choice you utilize, when you buy international shipping labels from Shopify Shipping. Most of the user forms and details you require are automatically generated for you.
The information is electronically transmitted to customs when you are shipping with DHL Express, so you will not be needed to bother with the paperwork.
Once you have planned on a pricing strategy, it’s the right Time to get inside implementation by ensuring every product is shipping-ready, and that begins with including accurate weights.
5. Add weights to your items
Adding an up-to-date weight to every item helps users see accurate shipping prices during checkout based on their selected items.
It’s great for them, but it is also suitable for you: You will immediately print proper labels for every order because you will not be required to correct or update the weight mid-fulfillment.
Require to figure out how much every item weighs? No worries. You’ve plenty of Time to order a shipping measurement ahead of BFCM.
6. Market your shipping prices and options
We know unexpected shipping prices could hurt your conversion price, but “how much would it cost?” is not the only pressing question your users have about shipping during the holiday season.
Equally essential is “would my order get here at the right time?”
Do not be afraid to over-communicate when you answer both questions since the answers are crucial to anyone considering purchasing from you.
This email from The Province of Canada has shown how you could let your users know the time-and-day cutoff to area their orders, so they arrive before any holiday—in this case, Father’s Day.
They have taken the opportunity to send a last reminder about their sale and making their email pull double duty.
7. Prepare your return policy
One more part of shipping you will need to keep in mind while a busy season returns since research indicates sixty-seven percent of eCommerce purchasers would check your return policy before purchasing.
When it comes to deciding, you will need to pay particular attention to return shipping prices.
There are 3 significant ways you could handle the price of return shipping labels:
- You pay the price of return shipping
- Your user pays the price of return shipping
- A combo of the two
The correct strategy for you would depend on your margins, your expected return price as well. However, keep in mind that return charges could be high on gift-giving seasons.
Whatever you choose, ensure that you communicate your return shipping detail as prominently and clearly as you do your shipping prices. It will save you a ton of time and customer support if the audience decides to initiate a return.
8. Provide Shipping Information In Your Meta-Data
It’s the year 2021. We do not quite have those fully automatic flying cars we all were promised. However, we do have a vast robust internet, which is an incredible resource for tiny businesses.
If consumers are looking for your item and a way to ship free or fast, capitalize and advertise on your capability of giving them just what they want.
9. Pay attention to the unboxing experience
After all the tasks needed to fulfill and ship your orders successfully, Besides that, you want to offer an equally great experience when users finally open a package.
With a little bit of planning, you could make a stand-out unboxing experience that drives real business results.
10. Make Shipping Information Clear For Everyone
Consumers who go in a sale with clear expectations are repeatedly the most satisfied.
Whether the shipping takes more than one day, three days, or even 14 days, as long as the consumer has that detail as part of the decision-making process, they could be happy with the results.
Will you offer tracking details? When will the packages arrive? Do you have a ship-by date? Transparency is one of the crucial part of any business.
If you advertise specific shipping speeds, make better on those promises. Whenever you decide to make a promise, then stick with it, and keep consumers informed all the way.
Other Useful Tips to Keep Your Customer Engaged
Your international audience will appreciate the details just as much as your United States users, and you will equip them to make a lot of genuine purchase decisions as well.
Beyond using email, there are some additional ways you could get that details in front of the right audience at the correct times during BFCM.
- Suppose you have got a shipping deadline coming up. In that case, add a popup to ensure shoppers are entirely aware.
- Popups are annoying if they are useless, and ensuring orders get there by the holidays is hands-down useful to your users during BFCM and other holidays.
- You can add a banner promoting shipping rates, timelines, and options to your store. Too much to fit in a banner? Well, link to a dedicated shipping information page or a blog post in your store.
- Add a homepage section or image that clearly communicates all of your shipping details.
- Send a reminder email to audience on your list—and everyone who has abandoned their carts as well—on the final day they could expect a buy to arrive before the holidays.
- You may opt for more email reminders. However, this one is non-negotiable. You will catch a ton of procrastinators who intended to purchase but required one final nudge, which is a sizeable group.
- Update your FAQ page. If you do not have one, now is the right time to write one addressing the most basic shipping questions.
- Your audience would naturally go to this particular page to find the answers they require about shipping if it isn’t apparent elsewhere, so you will save yourself a lot of customer support by setting it up early.
- Share your shipping details on social media. Even if you do not have free shipping, then cutoff dates are an ideal thing to promote utilizing branded images on Facebook and Instagram.
Is repeat business possible?
If you want to drive often business, you should include samples of your new products or add a coupon code on your packing slip.
That will encourage repeat orders, like free shipping on their upcoming purchase or ten percent off if they purchase again in the new year.
Knowing a ton of your buys will be gifted could inform your strategy as well. For example, try adding two coupons—one for the gift-giver and one for the recipient-to get 2 customers for the rate of one potentially.
If you add samples, your items might end up in the hands of someone who will never have tried your item otherwise—that’s a good win.
No matter the unboxing experience you are trying to make, you will require to ensure you have got the supplies to make it happen even before you are sitting down to ship your orders out.
That is why it’s essential to plan well ahead of a rush to have your supplies in Time. Your well-laid decisions would only be realized if you could implement them.
As a tiny business gearing up to get a piece of the holiday sales action, it is essential to get your logistics on a reason well ahead of the busy shopping season.
What to do for social shares?
Consider your branded packaging, a little gift, or a call-to-action asking audience to share their experience to encourage your social shares.
This could be as basic as a bit of a business card with your social handles, a (polite!) request, and a hashtag they post on the social media platform if they appreciate your items.
Posts from happy consumers are also some of the most important user-generated content available to you. However, remember to secure permission before you repurpose any content made by your customers.
Asking for social shares is an ideal way to get a ton of user-generated content to fill up your social feeds for the upcoming months.
Since there is a substantial opportunity for at least some of your holiday orders to be gifts, adding social media prompts in the packaging itself is one method to ensure the intended recipient sees them.
Dad and Mom are probably not going to Instagram your unicorn highlighter, mainly since it would ruin the surprise.
Any recommendation to stand out from the competitors?
As a tiny business, one benefit you’ve over big-box competitors is the capability (and willingness) of doing things that do not necessarily scale.
If you want to create a strong impression during primary sales seasons like BFCM. You must remind your audience that they are supporting a real audience with their buy by adding a personalized touch like a hand-written welcome and thank you note.
What is the ideal Shipping Software For The Holidays?
The top-rated shipping software of Merchant Maverick is a great place to begin to find shipping software that would work for you. Here are some of the top merchants we suggest:
- ShipStation: ShipStation is excellent in eCommerce shipping, and it provides integrations for UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
- Shipping Easy: Shipping Easy is, yes you are right, pretty easy to use, and its rating is excellent. That makes it one of our unique at Merchant Maverick. A bonus of partnering with Shipping-Easy is its partnership with USPS, making it a comfortable option for low-volume merchants.
- Stamps.com: Stamps.com works directly with the USPS. This is a flat-rate service. You pay a flat fee each month no matter how many packages you ship. Stamps.com is an ideal choice for companies looking for a dependable, economical option with free pick-up from the USPS at almost all businesses and residences.
- Ordoro: Ordoro has excellent dropshipping options where you could send packages directly from a supplier, which might be a spectacular step for the holiday rush.
Is utilizing Shipping Software For Holiday Shipping good?
Yes, its the ideal for streamlining your shipping operation and integrating with your eCommerce website. As your holiday sales increase and shipping requirements become cumbersome. It may be time to utilize shipping software to help with tons of the details.
Shipping software is a quite helpful tool to streamline the shipping part of your business. If the points above on shipping options and prices made your head hurt a little, that is entirely okay.
If you do not having the time or inclination to do your shipping calculations by yourself. Then, finding a shipping software that works for you could cut Time off your precious holiday work hours.
What could shipping software do? It could give accurate prices, manage shipments, print labels in bulk, and work with your eCommerce website. However, are some of the top options you should look into?
How Can Shipping Software Help For The Holidays?
Shipping software takes a few of the labor of shipping and then moves it in a streamlined process. Time is limited, and Time is money.
If you could assign dedicated people to work on shipping, that’s incredible. Still, human error is bound to happen, no human is perfect, and shipping software helps take a few of the uncertainty out of your shipping operation.
Here are the top points you must invest in shipping software:
- Reduces chances for error.
- Saves you Time.
- Simplifies your shipping craziness.
- Keeps shipping information in a single location.
- Streamlines your shipping process.
These software companies are specially prepared for the holiday rush. They could help you as well. Anytime you could economically outsource, you must.
Is it worth the price? Keep on reading!
How Much Does Shipping Software Cost?
Shipping software is an expense, which rates vary.
Some of these shipping software companies offer shipping discounts and a lot cheaper prices for their clients, which makes the differences in quality negligible compared to not utilizing shipping software.
If you acquire help by a shipping application that saves you up to forty percent on shipping charges, it is worth paying a monthly fee for that kind of discount – savings absorb that charge on shipping charges.
When you look at the bottom line, you could not go wrong with a shipping company if your software company ships enough items to benefit.
What are the ideal Options To Outsource Holiday Shipping?
Finding a method to keep yourself as hands-off as possible is a tiny business owner’s dream. Fortunately, you’ve multiple choices to outsource your holiday shipping. There are some options for holiday outsourcing:
- Fulfillrite: Ideal for businesses that sell bundles or kits of products commonly sold together.
- Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA): It is ideal for companies selling on the Amazon Platform as one segment of their eCommerce strategy.
- FedEx Fulfillment: Best for companies that have already determined it is a competitive selection for your shipping requirements.
- Shipwire: shipwire is best for businesses that ship orders around the globe.
How Much Does Outsourcing Shipping Cost?
To set up outsourcing for your company, you’ll need to find an outsourcing shipping company and set up an account by them. There are initial set-up charges and charges based on utilize and inventory.
Prices for outsourcing vary. The average industry charge for outsourcing shipping is $3 per order, with negotiated prices.
How Can Outsourcing Shipping Help For The Holidays?
Outsource shipping, and you can gain the independence to focus on all other essential business problems on the holidays. After all, timely user service is a considerable segment of consumer decisions.
When selecting whether to outsource, ask yourself:
- What are my plans for refunds/returns?
- Can I respond to situations quickly?
- How immediately am I able to fulfill every order?
If the answer to these questions is adding a heart attack, then stop right now. Outsourcing might be the cure you highly required.
When To Outsource Your Holiday Shipping?
If you’re struggling with only the thought of shipping holiday orders, outsourcing might be a no-brainer. Here is an excellent method to assess if you require to outsource.
Just close your eyes. Imagine that you do not have to worry about inventory space, fulfillment regulations, training staff to ship, the Time spend on shipping, or where you will keep holiday inventory.
If this vision gives you chills for the First time since the Back To School supplies then hit the shelves, you must find a method to outsource.
Remember: in basics, if you send out more than twenty-five shipments a day, you might find it cost-effective to outsource.
As a tiny business gearing up to get a piece of the holiday sales, it’s essential to get your logistics on a point well ahead of the shopping season. It will help make a fantastic experience for your consumers.
On top of that, It will help make for a more effortless experience for you, also for those people who was involved in helping you get those orders out of the door.
To begin with that in mind: What do you want the outcome of your unboxing experience to be?