Christmas is a manic time for the majority of retailers, but the 2020 festive stretch could be even more intense if you own an Etsy shop. Fears and restrictions due to the coronavirus are causing more and more shoppers to turn to e-commerce over the high street, and Etsy is one of the few businesses to do exceptionally well during the pandemic. By April alone, sales were up 79% year-on-year for the site.
Hopefully, Christmas 2020 will be a profitable time for you as a seller. Your December will be all the more smooth if you start thinking about your delivery strategy right away. Even if you have a backlog of orders to fulfill, formulating a plan will ensure that everything is processed and dispatched as quickly as possible, and that customers are delighted with the service. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Offer competitive postage
Don’t underestimate the power of competitive postage costs, which could be the very thing to help you secure a sale. Research by Sendcloud found that over 60% of UK shoppers will abandon their carts if shipping costs are too high with most shoppers expecting the delivery charge to be at least proportionate to the purchase amount, which means low shipping costs for low-cost purchases.
Even if you can’t afford to scrap delivery charges completely, lowering them over the festive period could give you the edge over a competitor. Keep an eye on their prices and bump yours down as much as possible to make customers feel like they’re getting the best deal on the market.
If you can’t do this, it’s better to try and incorporate part of the postage cost into the product price instead, or offer free delivery on purchases over a certain amount. Sendcloud also found that almost 75% of online shoppers will add extra items to their cart in order to reach the threshold for free shipping.
As well as competitive charges, you could also offer competitive delivery times. For example, your customers will probably appreciate a same-day delivery option, especially for last-minute gifts, so it’s worth considering a swap to a courier service which offers this. If you’re a British business, companies like CitySprint provide a speedy same-day delivery service every day of the year—ideal for even the most last minute of sales.
2. Check Christmas delivery cut-off dates
Christmas delivery times are different from the rest of the year, as increased postal volume and potentially treacherous weather conditions could lead to the process taking longer. Therefore, you will need to check the cut-off dates to ensure that your customers receive their orders before December 25th. You will be able to find this information on the website of the relevant postal service.
3. Review your processing time
You’ll need to work out the last date by which you’ll feasibly be able to send each of your products out before the deadline. This means calculating how much time you need to create and package your items and take them to a post office if applicable. Make this deadline clear on every product listing, and warn customers that any orders placed after this point may not arrive before Christmas Day. If you happen to have any items that are pre-made and pre-packed, it may be worth having a dedicated ‘Ready to Dispatch’ category in your shop to attract customers looking to make last-minute purchases.
4. Be prepared and organized
Organization is key for a seamless Christmas sales period, and running out of resources too soon will mean inevitable delays and angry customers, so make sure you have everything you need to create and pack your products in suitable quantities. You will then need to devise a schedule to make sure every order can be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For example, you may prefer to process orders in batches by blocking out a couple of days a week for packing and dispatching. If you’re worried about not being able to keep up with an influx of seasonal sales, seek a helping hand in a friend or family member, or hire Christmas temps so you have dedicated team members there every step of the way.
5. Keep customers updated
Christmas shopping can be incredibly stressful when there’s so much to buy and keep track of, so customers will appreciate being kept in the loop from the moment they place the order until it’s been delivered. Make sure your Message to Buyers includes all the information they need to know, especially an estimated delivery date, and let customers know that you’re open to questions in case they are concerned about anything.
It’s also helpful to provide tracking information where you can as customers will feel more confident if they can monitor their item’s whereabouts, and this should be emphasized in your product listings as well. And if there is a delay or another problem with the order, let the recipient know as soon as possible. They may be upset and disappointed, but it’s still best to be honest and hopefully ensure there’s enough time for you to fix the problem, or for them to find an alternative solution.