How Walmart Sellers Can Prepare for Holiday Shipping

ShipStation’s team of fulfillment experts have prepared valuable holiday tips to help Walmart Marketplace sellers streamline their shipping operations, so that you can deliver the best shopping experience to customers while fulfilling your products efficiently and affordably. In this guest blog, you’ll discover what you need to know to prepare your business for periods of increased order volume and learn how to take a more proactive approach to shipping demands.

We know it can be overwhelming to manage shipping logistics during the busy holiday season– especially when unexpected supply chain constraints or carrier delays can negatively impact the customer’s experience. However, you can help restore confidence in the transaction and improve the customer’s experience by meeting carrier shipping deadlines, offering expedited delivery options like Walmart’s TwoDay and ThreeDay delivery, and utilizing day-definite shipping services.

USPS, FedEx, and UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Each national shipping carrier operates on their own shipping cutoff schedule and may charge additional fees depending on the parcel size or service. Before finalizing your shipping strategy, take note of the carrier holiday deadlines below to better prepare for last-minute shoppers and potential delays that are beyond your control.

USPS Holiday Deadlines

Since the USPS is committed to delivering mail to millions of customers Monday-Saturday, many businesses choose to rely on their services. Plus, unlike other carriers, USPS doesn’t charge more to deliver to commercial addresses.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date for Dec. 25th
Retail Ground™ Wednesday, December 15th, 2021
First Class Mail® Friday, December 17th, 2021
Priority Mail® Saturday, December 18th, 2021
Priority Mail Express® Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

USPS First Class Mail is Now Slower Than Priority Mail

USPS First Class Mail now takes 3–5 business days to reach its final destination. Before this change, the main difference between USPS First Class Mail and USPS Priority Mail was that First Class Mail was broadly available and more affordable for parcels weighing less than 16 oz. Now, First Class Mail may also take a little longer to deliver than Priority Mail.

USPS Holiday Surcharges

From October 3rd through December 26th, the USPS will add additional holiday surcharges to each parcel you ship depending on the service and size of the parcel. This is also the period the Postal Service historically refers to as its holiday peak season.

The planned price changes include:

Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground:

  • $0.75 increase for PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes.
  • $0.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
  • $0.75 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
  • $1.50 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-20 lbs.
  • $3.00 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-20lbs.
  • $2.50 increase for Zones 1-4, 21-70 lbs.
  • $5.00 increase for Zones 5-9, 21-70 lbs.

FedEx Holiday Deadlines

FedEx offers one of the best day-definite express services and is more widely used around December 25th.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date for Dec. 25th
FedEx SmartPost® Thursday, December 9th, 2021 (with exceptions)
FedEx Ground® Wednesday, December 15th, 2021
Home Delivery® Wednesday, December 15th, 2021
Express Saver® Tuesday, December 21st, 2021
2Day® Services Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021
Overnight® Services Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

UPS Holiday Deadlines

UPS offers a more limited list of day-definite express services, but also has great options to ensure delivery by December 25th.

Service Shipping Cutoff Date for Dec. 25th
Ground® Check UPS.com/CTC
3 Day Select® Tuesday, December 21st, 2021
2nd Day Air® Services Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021
Next Day Air® Services Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

Which Shipping Services to Use with Walmart Delivery Options

Walmart Marketplace sellers can create custom ship settings based on their fulfillment network, preferred shipping carriers, and assortment needs using Walmart Shipping Templates. For example, you can offer faster shipping options in regions where you can reach customers in three days or less. And, as we near the peak of the holiday season, items with express shipping options can help you attract more customers. We recommend enabling Walmart’s free TwoDay or ThreeDay delivery options to benefit from increased visibility and a better Buy Box prominence, which can also increase your conversion rate.

Keep in mind, as we get closer to December 25th, carrier delivery timeframes may start to extend. Luckily, FedEx and UPS offer day-definite delivery options for express shipping while Walmart gives sellers an extra day to fulfill express delivery orders. To guarantee on-time delivery using Walmart’s express delivery options, we recommend using the following shipping services for orders placed before 2 p.m. local time:

Walmart ThreeDay Delivery

Walmart ThreeDay orders must reach the customer within 4 days of the order being placed, with a transit time of 2-3 business days.

Shipping Services to Use

  • USPS Priority Mail (with exceptions)
  • FedEx Express Saver® (with exceptions)
  • UPS 3 Day Select®

Walmart TwoDay Delivery

Walmart TwoDay orders must reach the customer within 3 days of the order being placed, with a transit time of 1-2 business days.

Shipping Services to Use

  • Priority Mail Express
  • FedEx 2Day®
  • UPS 2nd Day Air®

Walmart Next Day Delivery

Walmart Next Day orders must reach the customer within 2 days of the order being placed, with a transit time of 0-1 business days.

Shipping Services to Use

  • FedEx Overnight® Services
  • 2nd Day Air® Services

Walmart Free Value Delivery

Free Value orders must reach the customer within 9 days of the order being placed. However, the transit time Walmart recommends is 3-7 business days.

Shipping Services to Use

  • USPS First Class Mail
  • USPS Priority Mail
  • FedEx SmartPost (with exceptions)
  • FedEx Home
  • FedEx Ground
  • UPS SurePost (with exceptions)
  • UPS Ground

Walmart Standard Shipping

Walmart Standard Shipping is a service that requires a maximum window of 9 days from when an order is placed to when it’s delivered with a window of 2–5 business days to be in transit.

Shipping Services to Use

  • USPS First Class Mail
  • USPS Priority Mail
  • FedEx SmartPost (with exceptions)
  • FedEx Home/Ground
  • UPS SurePost (with exceptions)
  • UPS Ground

More Holiday Shipping Tips

During periods of heightened order volume, there becomes a greater need to ship orders quickly. By increasing your fulfillment speed, you can create extra time for delivery and avoid using more expensive express shipping services.

Automatically Apply Shipping Services to Orders

With shipping platforms like ShipStation, you can automatically apply a carrier shipping service to an order based on what the customer selected in checkout. These shipping presets can help you avoid the manual process of opening each order to configure shipping and can help you save time when bulk printing postage.

Batch Print Labels

Batch printing labels for all your orders at once is also a great way to cut down on fulfillment time. As your orders come in throughout the day, you can pick the items and pack them. So, once 2 p.m. rolls around (Walmart’s cutoff time), you can print all the labels and have them ready for pick up.

Provider Spotlight

This is a guest post from 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.