Holiday Shipping - Quick Read

What Did the Red Queen Say? “Off With Their Heads!”

“Cutoff” is the right word to use when you are looking at what date(s) to tell buyers to complete their online purchases. So your online store can meet holiday shipping schedules. Because, if you pick the wrong dates, well, the Red Queen has words for you.

There are a whole lot of moving parts in shipping, right? You’ve got:

  • Merchandise in the warehouse and on its way to your warehouse
  • Warehouse logistics around the rate your staff can pick, pack, and ship
  • Time for gift-wrapping, personalization, and customization
  • Varying cutoff dates for each carrier you utilize
  • Different rates for non-expedited and expedited shipping
  • The retailer’s costs for shipping, especially if it is free on your site
  • Information updates from your inventory control system to your website so you don’t sell out-of-stocks

Wiggle room?

Talk about moving parts! Pandemic impacts on staffing. Increased online ordering because of (lingering?) fears about COVID. Pent-up consumer demand. Supply-chain issues, from Azusa, California, to Zhangzhou, China. Microprocessors!

You can probably count on there being delays in processes. Remember Shipaggedon of 2020? Make sure your promotions and price discounts are tied into the realities of supply and shipping the best you can.

To be prepared, focus on the cutoff dates for your carriers and set a schedule for when these dates can be posted to your website. And written down and reinforced for order packers. This might be the year for which the phrase “wiggle room” was invented. Hedge your bets, rather than disappoint customers.

Some practical tips to get set for success:

  1. Post this PDF of Fedex holiday shipping cutoffs as fair warning to staffers
  2. Start tracking order pick/pack/ship daily/hourly volume metrics now, to inform later calculations
  3. Look at packing/shipping areas to see if you can fit more staff if need be
  4. Review methods for order packing; can you eliminate any inefficiencies?
  5. Talk to local temporary staffing companies to know your options about add-on staff
  6. Develop content about saving buyers some bucks by shipping early; expedited shipping costs can kill anyone’s holiday spirit
  7. Capture cutoffs from your other carriers; they’ll be posting them soon

Don’t worry too much. You’ve got this! Remember our mantra: planning is calming!