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The holidays are right around the corner – scratch that, they’re here! If you sell your products online or over the phone, your shipping volume probably really spikes this time of year. Making the sale often seems like the hard part, but it’s actually often what happens afterward that determines if that customer will return to make another purchase next year. We’re talking about shipping – perhaps an afterthought for you but a critically important piece of the experience for your customers. Check out our four-step holiday shipping guide.



1. Lay the Groundwork



Nothing is worse for a consumer than to load up an online shopping cart only to be hit with a monster shipping charge at checkout. Chances are that cart will be abandoned and the sale lost. Build shipping costs into your prices if you can (this also allows you to advertise the ever-popular free shipping) or, at the very least, show shipping charges in the customer’s cart so they can see what they’re up against. You can also choose to absorb shipping costs yourself, if your bottom line will allow it. Offer multiple shipping speeds as well, at varying price points. Finally, to put the cherry on top, provide estimated arrival times for each shipping speed if you can. That way customers can decide if they have enough time to select regular shipping or if they need to spring for something faster but more expensive.



2. Make Sure Your Packaging is On Point



You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to upgrade your packaging from the plain brown box and packing peanuts. You can of course go all out with custom containers and wrapping, but a little goes a long way. Even just adding tissue paper in your brand colors or throwing in a sticker or a few small extras can create a memorable experience from the moment the customer opens the box. They’re already excited to receive their purchase, you’re just celebrating with them!



3. Personalization is Key



Another way to make sure your customer remembers their shopping experience with you till next year is to add a short note thanking them for their purchase and telling them how much you hope they enjoy it. You can also include customer service or social media information so they always know where to go to interact with your brand. Handwritten notes are the best since they are the most authentic and heartfelt, but a typed note is fine as well. As long as it is personalized with the customer’s name and a few relevant details about their purchase, you’re well on your way to providing a memorable shipping experience that will keep your customers coming back for holiday seasons to come.



4. Nobody Likes to Be Kept in the Dark



Communication is critical to a successful online or phone shopping experience. Provide on-screen or verbal confirmation as soon as the order has been successfully completed, and also send an email with the order number, order contents, shipping details, and pricing. Follow up with a tracking number as soon as the order has shipped, and make sure you’re letting the customer know if there will be any unexpected delays. Depending on your product, you may opt for more frequent shipping notifications – perhaps when the product is out for delivery. Text message notifications can also be useful for some customer bases – just make sure you get permission before you start sending alerts!



Here’s to a Great Holiday Season!



Armed with our holiday shipping guide, you’re ready to make the most of this festive season. We wish you all the best, no matter what holiday you’re celebrating this time of year. We know you’re probably not thinking too much about credit card processing right now, but if you are please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can always call us at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. Happy holidays!



PS – Check out our holiday shopping guide from last year – lots of great tips in here!



PPS – Thinking about adding a surcharge to your credit card transactions during the holiday season? Read this first.