It’s not just about feedback though, it’s more about reassuring your customers that if they purchase from you then their item will arrive when they need it, and that if it’s a Christmas present it will be delivered in time to be unwrapped on Christmas morning.
Many retailers actually shut up shop days before Christmas simply to avoid disappointing customers. The findings of a study by Royal Mail suggests that two thirds of retailers are failing to take advantage of the extra sales on offer by accepting orders until 23rd December and posting them out using guaranteed next day services to ensure delivery by Christmas. Worryingly, approximately one in six retailers are calling time on their Christmas delivery operation fully five days before final posting date.
David Smith, Managing Director of IMRG advises “Smaller retailers and those in their infancy would do well to pay heed to the research findings which identify the importance of their sales and delivery capabilities, and the value of getting it right. This hugely busy and valuable time of year is certainly not the time to shut up shop early”
Shutting up shop early for Christmas is the easy way out, but getting your customers buying right up to Christmas is the way to maximise your profits and don’t forget shoppers who are late to the high street will undoubtedly turn to online retailers for those must have presents when the shops have sold out. If you can reassure your customers that you can delivery then they’re not likely to worry about paying a couple of extra pounds to ensure delivery before Christmas.
“It’s not just about feedback though, it’s more about reassuring your customers that if they purchase from you then their item will arrive when they need it, and that if it’s a Christmas present it will be delivered in time to be unwrapped on Christmas morning.”
So what should you do as a retailer to make sure you attract sales right up to the last possible minute of Christmas shopping? Firstly you should make sure that all of your items have an express shipping option available. This should be a next day service such as Royal Mail Special Delivery, Parcelforce24 or any other 24 hour courier. In your shipping policies you should clearly state your cut off times for Christmas deliveries, make sure that you highlight that customers can purchase right up to your last day of trading, especially if they can purchase on 23rd December and you can deliver on Christmas Eve.
Don’t forget to include your final cut off times, once your customer has paid you need to make sure they have time to pay and you have time to process, pick and pack their order before your courier or Royal Mail collect from you.
The most important thing that you can do is to make sure customer understand handling times. If you’ve added a one or two day handling time to your order this is the one time of year that it needs to be highlighted to customers. There’s nothing worse than leaving your online shop open to accept orders, offer a 24 hour delivery service but have a two day handling time meaning that items won’t even ship before Christmas.
The next few weeks should be the most profitable weeks of the year for many sellers. Make the most of it and make sure your customers know exactly what day they can order up to for Christmas. Offer express shipping, cut your handling times to the minimum and highlight exactly what your shipping times are and exactly when your cut off date and time is to ensure items will be received for Christmas.
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