Pictured: The Rajapack UK Packaging Warehouse, ready for Christmas
Partner Article by Rajapack
Christmas is fast approaching and to help your eCommerce business run smoothly over the festive season, the packaging experts at Rajapack have put together these 10 tips:
1. Learn as much as you can from last year
Our top tip for peak season is to prepare your business as much as you can. If you’ve been trading for more than 12 months, then you should have a good record of what happened last year to give you some level of expectation for 2017.
Remind yourself of key figures from last year such as the total orders you took and when, the extra working hours and staff needed, and details of how much packaging, stock and supplies you used. Look over last year’s results for each month and it should give you a starting point for what to expect this year.
2. Make sure you’re using the right packaging
The correct packaging is essential to give your customers a good experience when they receive your parcel, ensuring it arrives safely and well presented. Using the right materials can make a big difference – getting the right postal boxes for your items can reduce the weight of your shipments, cutting delivery costs and increasing space in your warehouse. Ensure you work with a packaging supplier that can provide expert advice on how to package your products.
3. Order your stock & supplies at the right time to suit your business
If you’re one of many small businesses that don’t have the space to store lots of materials or packaging on site, then you can help things run smoothly by ordering from suppliers that offer next day delivery. By only ordering items when you need them from reliable suppliers with short term delivery dates, your business can be more flexible throughout the busier seasons.
4. Review the details of your delivery and returns policy
Gifting at Christmas can result in more returns, exchanges for different products or direct refunds, so ensure that all your returns details are clear, correct and up to date. The same goes for your delivery information too. Ensure that delivery timeframes listed on your site are correct and accurate to avoid confusing your customers and reduce time spent answering customer service queries.
5. Make buying from you easier & improve your ordering process
If you can spare some time before the rush begins, it can pay dividends to make improvements to your website that make ordering easier. Run through your checkout process and see if there’s anything you can remove, add or simplify to make it easier, faster or clearer. Even just a few simple changes could reduce your checkout process fall-off and secure extra orders across the season. Adding simple payment options such as PayPal can also give customers more choice and speed up the ordering process.
6. Check details of your web hosting package
With an expected increase in traffic at Christmas, make sure your hosting gives you enough bandwidth to allow for those extra visitors. If not, you may need to increase your hosting package to account for this and to improve your site speed.
Having a fast loading site is not only essential for a good customer experience, but contributes to your search rankings too. It’s also worth making sure you’ve got contact details to hand in case any downtime occurs from your host; know what the support process is (telephone support number, email ticket system), typical response times and any backup services they may offer just in case.
7. Consider running some seasonal special offers to extend shopping
If you have a good sense of your order patterns over the Christmas period, then running campaigns such as free delivery weekends or discount days during quieter times can help to extend your sales period, particularly in mid-December as we get closer to Christmas. If you have an email marketing database then sending out a festive email blast can be a great way to get clicks through to your site and encourage more orders.
8. Add some festive flair and creativity to your business
Whether it’s sparkling Christmas banners on your website, refreshing your logo with a Christmas feel for your social channels, or sending an animated Christmas card email. With so much competition at Christmas, running some unique and eye-catching marketing can make your business stand out and drum up extra interest. Combine this with Christmas packaging for your products to really get into the Christmas spirit!
9. Make sure your ads are festive too
If you’re running digital advertising through Google AdWords or Bing Ads, then add some seasonal messages to text ads or banner creative to give your ads a little more impact at Christmas. You’ll be surprised how many advertisers leave their standard ads running across the season without any updates, giving you the opportunity to stand out with fun festive messaging.
10. Get up to speed with final posting and delivery dates
To get the most out of the peak season you’ll want to deliver to customers as long as your delivery service allows. With Christmas day on a Monday this year it’ll cost extra to deliver on Christmas eve as companies will charge for a Saturday delivery. Most carriers allow normal posting up to Thursday 21st December, so make sure you can too and inform your customers of your final dates and any additional postage costs in advance.