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Holiday Shipping Tips

The busiest time of the ecommerce year is here. You’ve crunched the data, assessed the trends, and listened to customers to discover what they want and expect. Your store has been optimized, your product selection has grown and you are ready to welcome a surge of new and repeat holiday shoppers. 

Now to ensure that the shipping process becomes both a selling point and a reliable tool for ensuring repeat customers. Here are some of our best tips to get the holiday shipping season started right:Preparation is everything, and luckily there is ample time to nail the fundamentals to ensure that the 2022 holiday season is lucrative and (relatively) stress-free!

We’ve asked members of the Gelato team and a number of our customers to share their tips and advice on best practices:

Communicate order deadlines and place orders early

Something that is fundamental to success during holiday sales is the clear communication of order deadlines to customers.

By helping your customers prepare their shopping and ensure successful delivery of their orders ahead of the holidays, we recommend clearly communicating and updating  the last date by which an order can be placed, which can help entice both sales, profits, and goodwill.  

Here’s a checklist which we hope will help preempt and solve any issues around last order dates, and leave you to focus on your customers, safe in the knowledge that they know exactly what they should.

1. Encourage your customers to place their orders early

This year the world is facing an increased level of uncertainty when it comes to shipping times. The most effective way for your customers to ensure they get their orders on time is to place them as early as possible. Not only will it help them get their shopping done early (goodbye crunch time stress and hello holiday bliss!) but it will greatly reduce the worries of packages not arriving to their loved ones on time. Encourage your customers by informing them early on, inspire them with your beautiful products and gift ideas, and entice early shopping through your social media channels, your website, and customer emails.

2. Are your holiday order deadlines easy to understand?

Customers making a purchasing decision shouldn’t need a manual or a PhD to understand your last order dates. 

The ecommerce convention is to present a sentence on a product page which leaves no room for doubt in your customer’s minds e.g. ‘To receive this by [date]; place orders by [date]’. However, being crystal clear can also be challenging in the world of global shipping and supply chains. While producing locally with Gelato, and as close to your end-customer as possible, helps speed up your deliveries, we strongly recommend you also make it clear to your customers that last order dates will always be subject to changes.

3. Be transparent and open in your communication

If you are experiencing changes to your last order dates, or delays from any of your partners or suppliers that may affect your customers - tell them. Being open and proactive in your communication with customers can help build trust and a relationship that lasts for many holiday seasons to come.

4. How to set your holiday order deadlines

At Gelato we will provide order deadlines for all products and the destinations we deliver to, which will help give you an idea of when your customers will need to place their orders by. However, keep in mind that the order deadlines may change, and to check back often for updates. When you decide which dates to pass on in your communication to your customers, you want to strike the right balance between remaining competitive and setting those last order dates as late as possible - and at the same time giving your customers peace of mind that their products will arrive on time, and not be subject to changes.

5. Is your shipping information visible?

Communicating last order dates by social or email channels is important, but these will not be seen by many, and besides, these are considered mediums for updates rather than a permanent point of reference.

As such, be sure that information about holiday shipping and last order dates is permanently - and prominently - within your homepage, but also on the individual product pages. This removes any room for doubt.

6. Are you emphasizing the importance of order deadlines?

You don’t want to panic customers, but last order dates, if effectively communicated, can serve as a sales tool. 

FOMO and a desire to avoid missing a shipping deadline can focus the mind of a purchaser.

Consider having the last order dates as standing out from the rest of the site. Make them clear and distinct. 

If you really want to gently increase the pressure, display them in the form of a countdown, to remind customers of the need to get the order placed in good time.

As the dates for order deadlines nears, use this as a legitimate theme for email reminders, social posts, and other forms of advertising - and make sure to communicate any changes. By managing your customers’ expectations you can increase customer satisfaction.

Holiday preparations

You can find last order dates and more information for holiday preparations here: