U.S. According to eMarketer research, online sales are expected to increase about 3% this year compared to last year. It's a rather moderate growth. But small e-commerce companies still have to prepare for an influx of orders in the coming months if they want to reap the benefits of the holiday shopping season.
The ShipStation team knows everything about what it takes to prepare an ecommerce business for the holidays. The software company provides automation options specifically for ecommerce companies and works directly with a large number of independent online sellers. The company recently spoke with Small Business Trends to share some tips for preparing your small business for the holiday season.
Preparing an e-commerce business for the holidays
Creating a Fair Return Policy
When they buy Christmas gifts, consumers like to know that the recipient will have the option of returning that gift if they are dissatisfied. And they expect free, convenient return options from major online retailers. So, if you want your small business to compete, you need to consider these factors when developing your own return policy.
Robert Gilbreath, vice president of marketing at ShipStation, said in an email to Small Business Trends: "Small businesses should have a good understanding of the most common reasons for return and what is a reasonable window to return the articles. For example, if your products are often bought as gifts for others, the standard 30 day return period may not be sufficient. Many retailers consider that the holiday season ends in late March. "
Test this policy on people inside your company first
Just because you think your shipping policy is right and easy to understand, it does not really do it. So, Gilbreath suggests to have additional eyes on your policy to make sure that there will be no misunderstanding when the holidays go on.
Gilbreath says, "It's a good idea to test your return policy on employees, friends and family to make sure it's clear to someone who works outside your company. The return policy must be communicated consistently to customers from all channels, including your website or third-party markets. "
Raising Awareness on Social Media
Getting ready for the holidays, it's also making sure you have enough notoriety beforehand for the marketing of your vacation to be effective. For this, Gilbreath recommends focusing on social media in particular because it is a low-cost solution that allows you to connect directly with customers.
Gilbreath states, "Today 's client expects a company to be highly accessible and easily recognizable online. Small businesses are constantly trying to find and win the next sale and social media allows them to connect with a wider audience across a large population. In addition, marketing your business on social media is profitable and can dramatically increase your marketing budget compared to expensive printing, digital ads and other traditional marketing materials. "
Decrease your processes
Once the holiday rush, your team will be busy enough to fill orders. You do not need to add other tasks such as communicating with operators or checking delivery schedules. Instead, do these things now and practice your processes of accomplishment so that you know exactly what to do during the holidays.
Gilbreath explains, "Retailers need to get ready before the holiday season and coordinate details, including pricing and logistics with carriers before the rush, and make sure all the options are good. shipping are clearly communicated to the customer. Online retailers must also know the delivery schedules of carriers. The last thing you want to do as a retailer during the holidays is to ship something too late to arrive on time to their customers. "
Automate where it is possible
You can make the process even easier by using automation tools like ShipStation. If you do not have to worry about some things like sending shipping notifications or printing labels, you can free up your time to focus on tasks. more important.
Gilbreath states, "Companies are facing the strongest demand during the holiday season and on-time delivery is more important than ever. The printing of shipping labels or the notification to customers of shipping their product may seem like minor tasks, but all the little things add up quickly. Ecommerce companies can streamline their shipping and ordering process by using automated tools like ShipStation that integrate with all major carriers, shopping carts, ecommerce sites, and more. , which saves you time. "
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