Achieving 2019 Holiday Success: Shipping, Packaging, and Fulfillment Guidelines for Ecommerce Brands
Every year, one resounding piece of advice echoes through the ears of every retail brand across the world:
Start early. Plan ahead. Be prepared.
At the same time, a similar mantra is happening among fulfillment centers, delivery drivers, and post offices.
- USPS projects shipping 16 billion packages and pieces of mail during the holiday season in 2019, and return volume is expected to increase nearly 20%.
- UPS hired 100,000 additional hands for the record-high holiday bandwidth in 2018.
All hands are on deck, both at the brand level and the fulfillment level.
When it comes to creating holiday campaigns, brands need to have all of the details sorted out before hitting “go” — after all, too much is on the line for you to run into logistical errors.
“Start early and ramp up using a series of activities rather than a single dose of one activity.
Align your holiday marketing with other aspects of your business such as shipping logistics, customer service, sales, and even site/product design.
If you start early, you’ll have a better chance of attracting more buyers efficiently.”
— David Feng, Co-Founder, Re:amaze
For many ecommerce brands, specifically those with products often purchased as gifts (like clothing, jewelry, and luxury items), the bulk of their yearly revenue comes from the holiday months. According to Adobe Digital Insights, the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday accounted for almost $1 in every $5 spent with online retailers.
Plus, data from Accenture shows that Millennials are likely to be the biggest spenders this holiday season. Millennials are notoriously fond of several things:
- They want their packages shipped quickly and with no hassle.
- They care about the social and environmental impact around their purchases — almost as much as Gen Z.
- Their wallet loyalty leans towards brands that connect with them in as many ways as possible, especially when it comes to high-value purchases.
Think of your holiday campaigns as consisting of two pieces:
- The front-end, customer-facing programs: paid advertising, social media, landing pages, etc., and
- The back-end — where a lot of the customer-delighting magic happens. Here you’re strategizing on your fulfillment (how can we get items to customers as quickly as possible, at the smallest cost?), your packaging, and your follow-up.
Mastering your back-end procedures for the holidays may not seem as shiny as a new landing page, gift guide, or digital advertising, but this is where brands can truly innovate to create a differentiated experience.
The page-to-cart-to-convert pathway sees a lot of attention, because that is where attrition occurs. But what happens when you can connect with customers after they purchase and beyond? That’s where the golden customer return rate occurs — and it’ll save you thousands in customer acquisition costs down the line.
In this guide, we’ll dive into three of the most important facets of the post-purchase experience: shipping, fulfillment, and packaging. You’ll learn key takeaways and best practices from leading ecommerce experts and walk away with a defined view of what improvements you can make to your business — just in time for the 2019 holidays.
Let’s dive in.
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