Holiday Shipping 101: Tools for Success + 2019 Deadlines

Holiday shipping insights from ShipStation in the Provider Spotlight

ShipStation helps sellers automate and streamline their shipping operations. In this month’s Provider Spotlight, they share insights for making happy, loyal customers during the busy holiday season. Check out their tips and holiday shipping deadlines as you prepare for Black Friday and beyond. Not selling on Walmart Marketplace? Apply now to sell on Walmart.com this holiday season!

Spreading holiday joy

Online shopping has come a long way—even compared to a few years ago. As new technologies and quicker fulfillment options come into play, there are many ways to satisfy a customer. However, one thing remains true: delivering a customer’s order quickly is a sure way to satisfy.

Peeling the packing tape off a shipping box and pulling items from their air cushions can be as thrilling as unwrapping a present. You may not get to see your customers experience this joy first-hand, but you still benefit when their satisfaction makes them loyal, repeat customers.

Quick shipping and delivery is more crucial during the holiday season than at any other time of year. Use this guide to make sure that the recipient—whether giver or receiver—has a happy holiday.

Expedited shipping is a must-have

Holiday shoppers often procrastinate and shop around right up to the last minute. During the holidays, it is important to offer quick, reliable delivery options that customers can trust will arrive on time. More often than not, shipping is the determining factor for a customer who is deciding whether to order online or visit a brick-and-mortar.

Furthermore, ShipStation conducted a study of consumer shipping preferences and found that customers are 75% more likely to opt for more express shipping options when buying gifts. When December comes around, you’ll want a cost-effective, fast shipping option to attract customers to your products. The Walmart TwoDay delivery program lets you capitalize on your quick fulfillment with attention-getting tags.

As the holiday starts ramping up, shoppers are going to be looking for more express options to get their gifts delivered on time. Because Walmart lets customers filter based on delivery speed, customers who use this option will only see the items that offer this service.

One of the main advantages of offering this express service, particularly during the holiday season, is that it increases order volume significantly, as Walmart data shows. Increased order volume—combined with TwoDay tags—increases your chances of winning the buy box. Given that nearly 40% of all Walmart Marketplace orders are already delivered within 2 days, enabling TwoDay tags to get the bump in visibility and buy box preference is a smart and easy way to boost Marketplace sales.

screenshot showing listings with 2-day delivery tags
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3 ways shipping software helps you with holiday shipping

Using a shipping software is a helpful way to stay on top of your order volume, particularly during the holiday season. Whether you sell on Walmart Marketplace alone or have a multi-channel strategy, ShipStation provides a way to efficiently organize, view, and ship your orders. Some key workflow strategies to expedite the fulfillment process that everyone should use are automation rules, batch printing, and scan-based workflows.

1. Automation rules

At ShipStation, we believe that if you have to do something more than once, you should be able to automate it. Automating your shipping process avoids human error—particularly during the holiday rush. If you bring in temporary help or pull marketing or sales agents onto the warehouse floor to meet increased demand, you want to make sure that your picking process is as streamlined as possible. Auto-assigning orders to specific workers and matching requested shipping services with the checkout shipping option customers selected makes for a smoother fulfillment process.

2. Batch printing

Clicking through each order to manually select the shipping service and create each label can quickly overwhelm busy staff. Having automation rules in place to correctly assign the appropriate shipping services lets you batch these orders together and create the labels at the same time. Even if your orders originate from different selling channels, you can bulk print labels and move on to your next task!

quotation marks

Even if your orders originate from different selling channels, you can bulk print labels and move on to your next task!

3. Scan-based verification

Even with the assistance of batch shipping and automation processes, you still want to make sure that everything you’re shipping out is correct. That’s why scan-based features like scan-to-verify help you double-check and confirm that all is good before you ship an order. By scanning each order item’s UPC, you ensure that your customers receive their holiday gifts and you avoid potential customer complaints or returns.

2019 shipping deadlines for receipt by Christmas

As the date on the calendar approaches December 25, you need to know which carrier services will be able to deliver orders in time for gift-giving. Carriers, like everyone else, must adjust their hours for the holiday season to accommodate the increased order volume. Understanding if any of the carriers you use have shortened or extended transit times will help you plan accordingly.

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Download Deadlines

USPS Domestic Services

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25.

Table showing USPS shipping services and the last date someone can ship in order to receive the item before December 25. Visit https://stamps.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4071/~/2019-usps-holiday-mail-by-dates for text version.

FedEx US Services

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25.

Table showing FedEx shipping services and the last date someone can ship in order to receive the item before December 25. Visit https://www.fedex.com/en-us/holiday/last-days-to-ship.html for text version.

UPS US Services

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 25.

Table showing UPS shipping services and the last date someone can ship in order to receive the item before December 25. Visit https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/shipping-support/days-of-operation-us/holiday-shipping-us.page for detailed info.

Partner with ShipStation so you can focus on selling, not shipping

Efficiently shipping orders isn’t what gets you excited about your ecommerce business—but it is key to satisfying your customers. Let ShipStation handle shipping. We’ll even give you discounted USPS and FedEx rates. Import, organize, process, and ship your orders efficiently from any web browser (including iOS and Android mobile devices).

With our automation rules, branded tracking and emails, built-in customer notifications, and wireless printing, you can focus on what you love: creating, selling, marketing. Get started today!

Provider Spotlight

This is a guest post from James Messer, Marketing Copywriter at ShipStation. This specialty solution provider partners with Walmart sellers to help them save time and money with efficient shipping. Sync all your Walmart orders and start printing labels from all the major carriers with a few clicks.

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