ShipStation’s SMB Guide to Holiday Shipping

7 October, 2021

E-commerce has changed a lot over the past year and a half. After a massive increase in business owners and customers alike moving over to e-commerce, people are now shopping and selling online at rates no one had anticipated for at least a few more years. With this competitive market, it can be even more difficult to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. ShipStation has spent the last ten years helping e-commerce businesses run more smoothly. To further help e-commerce businesses succeed, the ShipStation team has put together a guide for small-to-medium-sized businesses, to give better insight into what you need to know for shipping success as we move into the holiday shipping rush and beyond.

Below are excerpts from the guide. To read more, download the full SMB Checklist guide.

How to Generate Positive Post-Purchase Feedback

If a consumer is comfortable purchasing your products online, then assume they’re comfortable writing online reviews, too. This consumer may never interact with you in person, so you need to connect with them in a different way. Sendle, an Australian-based company that provides courier services advises that shipped packages are often the most direct connection you’ll have with your customers. How your goods are packaged and delivered forms a lasting impression–one that shapes how they’ll remember you and what kind of review they leave. As more consumers shift to online purchasing, more eyes also shift to online reviews, so product reviews need to make a good impression.

Here is Sendle’s advice on how to get those five-star reviews rolling in:

  • Have a clear and thoughtful shipping policy that sets customers’ expectations for the delivery method, time frame and cost, so there are no surprises.
  • Be proactive and communicate updates on unforeseen delays or disruptions.
  • Appeal to your eco-conscious customers with sustainable packaging and carbon-neutral shipping.
  • Provide a memorable unboxing experience. Delight can lead to long-term loyalty.
  • Simplify returns by declaring your return policy and step-by-step return instructions.

How to Manage Those Holiday Returns

Although they’re not anyone’s favorite part of the holiday shopping season, returns are a reality all brands and retailers must prepare for and manage efficiently. Here are a few ideas to make the return process smoother for everyone involved:

Provide Real-Time Visibility Into Returns

It’s critical to maintain brand relevance and keep your customers in the loop during the entire shipping process. With ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal, you can customize confirmation, tracking and delivery confirmation emails to be sure the returns policy is included in each email you send to update customers.

Visibility is critical for you as well! To plan for inbound returns, make sure you have real-time visibility into where your packages are in the world and the volume of returns in transit at any one time.

Process Your Returns to Minimize Lost Revenue

Examine possible product issues and shipping costs to determine what items to accept as returns. For those worth the trouble, determine whether to proactively provide prepaid return labels in the package or on an as-needed basis via customer service.

Consider Offering Scan-Based Return Labels

Through ShipStation you can print a return label to include in your outbound shipments, which makes returns incredibly easy for your customers. This is perfect for the majority of shoppers who want self-serve returns solutions. Alternatively, you can email the label to your customers at the point when they contact you to initiate a return. This way you know how many returns are coming your way and when to expect them so you can be prepared. To learn more tricks of the trade for e-commerce success, download the SMB Checklist eBook. Get holiday shipping tips and insights from industry leaders like ChannelAdvisor, ShipStation and many more.

About the Author

This blog was provided by ShipStation. ShipStation is a shipping management platform for e-commerce businesses. 

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