Christmas songs started playing in retail stores before Halloween (!) and advertisers are doing everything possible to remind consumers of how quickly the holidays are approaching. It seems like the holiday shopping push starts earlier and earlier each year. Shoppers are getting into the buying mindset and you’re likely seeing your sales increase with each passing week (yeah!) Even though shoppers know they need to buy, there are always those who wait for the last minute.
You want to be able to serve those customers, but need to keep your own sanity and production schedule. This is why it’s necessary to set up order/shipping deadlines for your business this holiday season: to give customers as much advanced notice on when they need to place holiday orders and let them know when your business might be closed for the holidays and/or end of year inventory. With plenty of notice (given in multiple ways and locations), customers won’t feel caught off guard and will be able to order their favorite products of yours for their gift list.
Here are links to the shipping deadlines for the 2014 holiday season for the major carriers here in the U.S. Decide how far in advance you need to process orders and prepare them for shipment, look at the carrier’s deadlines, decide if you want to offer expedited/rush shipping services and then work backwards from the carrier’s deadlines to decide on your holiday shipping deadlines for this year.
One thing to note is that the U.S.Postal Service recently announced that they’ll be adding Sunday delivery in major cities and high volume areas during the holiday season, which may or may not affect your deadline dates.
Once you’ve set your order + shipping deadlines, you need to spread the word! Share the dates on:
- social media
- in your newsletter
- on your blog
- on a banner across the top of your website
- in your signature line area of your email
- on customer receipts (both emails and printed copies)
Don’t just tell customers once! Remind them in each weekly newsletter article, pin a post on Facebook with the dates listed, etc. Tell them often and across a number of platforms so that the information is sure to be seen and understood! These tips will help you have a smoother holiday sales season, and your customers will appreciate knowing how long they have to place an order.
Your turn: Have you already set your order/shipping deadlines for your business this year? How are you telling customers and fans about the deadlines? Share in the comments below.