E-commerce: logistics, your secret boost for Christmas!

2020: a flourishing year for e-commerce! The Covid pandemic and the related lockdowns have changed the way French people consume and have turned to e-commerce, with a 39% increase in sales during the entire lockdown period. Sales during the Christmas holidays should then explode because of the most recent announcements. This article will give you all the tips to make your logistics a success at Christmas!

By
Julie Ribeiro
Created
November 6, 2020
Modified
November 9, 2020

At Christmas, the delivery issues are different than in normal times: peak orders, customer impatience in terms of packaging, express delivery times, shipping costs, and delivery options. There are many elements on which to rely to improve your conversion rate. A real marketing asset, logistics can have a direct positive impact on your business: improved conversion rates, increased sales and customers …

How to optimize your e-commerce logistics for Christmas?

For this article, let's imagine that you are an e-commerce brand that sells animal-shaped slippers, and Christmas is your biggest month of the year, especially for your bestseller: unicorn slippers!

A) Delivery policy:

Delivery requirements increase during the Christmas holidays. We know that delivery is usually one of the first selection criteria for e-commerce purchases for 62% of consumers. Adapting your delivery policy will, therefore, help to build customer loyalty and attract more customers.

How to use the delivery policy to boost your Christmas sales?

1. Delivery times:

The delivery time is the time between the order and the delivery of the package. It can be extended with the peak of orders at Christmas.

Informing your customers of these new delays will allow them to anticipate when their Christmas gifts will arrive.For example, if you indicate in your special Christmas policy that the delivery takes between 5 and 7 working days, send a newsletter or publish a post on your social networks: "Order now and receive your slippers in time to put them under the tree!”

This communication will have two effects: reassure your customers, and allow you to win new ones

2. The shipping costs:


Shipping costs are the costs that may apply to the delivery of a package.

Let's imagine that a mother buys unicorn slippers for her 16-year-old son on your online store. Several options are available to you: to offer delivery with or without minimum purchase or not to offer it.

- Free shipping costs:

If you choose this option, your customer will surely buy her slippers from you if your direct competitor does not offer delivery. According to a study conducted by Metapack, free shipping is a priority for 62% of online shoppers.

You can also simply offer free shipping costs during a particular period, such as Christmas, to boost yours ales!

- Shipping costs with a minimum purchase:

Let's imagine that the slippers cost 15 € and that the minimum is 20 € to benefit from the free shipping. Your customer then may also be tempted by the matching unicorn socks at 7,5 €! And yes, Metapack has shown that 75% of consumers have bought more items to benefit from free shipping with a minimum purchase. So, this can be a great trick to make additional sales.

- The shipping costs will be charged:

You may not be able to offer shipping charges. On the other hand, you can create the illusion of it; you just have to increase the product’s price significantly.

Let us imagine that you want to sell your unicorn slippers for 15 € and that the delivery costs you 3,5 €. The price displayed on your site will be 18,5 €. You will thus be able to use the marketing tool of the "free delivery."

Bigblue tips: create a specific page

The best way to reassure your customers and boost your sales is to create a page with all available information about your Christmas delivery policy.

B) Follow-up emails:

Once the unicorn slippers are ordered, your customer will be waiting impatiently for his parcel!  

During the holidays, your after-sales service is likely to be overwhelmed by emails and calls from your customers with these well-known questions: "Where is my package?" and"Will my order arrive on time to put under the tree?"


1. How to reassure your customers about the state of preparation of your orders?

email notification

The tracking email!

"What's this?" you ask me?These are personalized emails, which inform your customers about the status of their order (being prepared, sent, delivered, etc.)

Let's go back to our example. Imagine that our e-commerce brand is at Bigblue and benefits from our personalized tracking emails. The customer will receive emails stating:

- Order in preparation: it informs customers that the order has been received and is processing.

- Order sent: "your order is on its way" is the most satisfying sentence to read!And yes, it will soon be under the tree.

- Order being delivered: it informs that the order has been picked up by the delivery man and is on its way.

It also exists if the delivery does not go as planned:

- Delayed order: this can happen during the busy Christmas period when several people order on the e-commerce site, and the product is out of stock in just a few minutes.Your customer will receive an email indicating that his order will be sent when it is back in stock.

- Failure of delivery: let’s imagine that the unicorn slippers arrived at the customer’s residence but that the customer is not home. They will then receive an email that will notify the customer of the attempted delivery. The delivery man will be able to make the delivery again at a later date, or the customer can go pick up her parcel directly from a post office close to her home.

Bigblue tips: Personalizing your tracking emails with Christmas colors is a great way to get your customers in the holiday mood. 

2. How can you use these tracking emails to boost your sales?  

Tracking emails are not only used to inform your customers about the status of the order. They can also be used for many other purposes.

- Re-engage your current customers: by advertising discount codes in your emails, invitations to private sales, etc.

- Gain new customers: by creating referral programs with discounts or by asking for customer feedback on products.

- Reassure future customers: by asking for customer reviews/returns on certain products. 95% of consumers read reviews before buying a product.

- Create a new community: by adding your social network pages so that your customers or potential customers follow your brand on a daily basis.

C) The preparation of Christmas orders:

During the festive season, your packages will not look the same as those you send out every other day of the year. Including new packaging, coupon codes, or a little word for the Christmas period will shake up the preparation of packages and should be taken into account in your Christmas preparation!

The time between the order and the delivery to the customer depends mainly on the preparation time. At Christmas, the peak of orders can highlight many malfunctions and make this step long and tedious. This will have a negative impact on the customer’s experience.

Let's take our example. Your e-commerce brand has decided for Christmas to personalize the inside of its packages with "Merry Christmas" and to add a flyer for the winter sales, as well as a small card that your customers will be able to personalize and slide under the tree.

How to not forget an element in this new arrangement of parcels?

Bigblue Tips: Create a specification

Prepare all the elements as well asa detailed description of how to prepare a package well in advance of the Christmas period.

For example:  

Step 1: Collect the unicorn slipper, the packaging, the flyer, and the little note.

Step 2: Arrange the products in the following order: flyer, slipper, small word

Step 3: Packing the packaging in a neutral packaging without a logo

Step 4: Stamp the package according to its weight and size

D) Return policy:

At Christmas, the return policy is essential! Why is it essential? What if unicorn shoes don't please customers and llama-shaped slippers are more appealing? You must be able to exchange post-wrapping gifts from the evening of December 24th or the morning of December 25th.

Your returns policy can make all the difference when buying a Christmas gift. According to WBR insight, 55% of consumers will abandon their basket if the return policy is not flexible. So, what are you waiting for?

How can you change your return policy to boost your Christmas sales?

It is possible to work on several elements:

1. Return costs:  

This is what the customer will pay if he decides to return his product. There are two options: free or paid return fees.

The choice of most e-commerce brands is to offer return fees on a limited number of products. Let's imagine that your customer ordered the unicorn slippers and the pair of socks. You can very well offer the return fees on only one of the two products and charge for the second one if it is returned.

During the Christmas period, returns may be more frequent, and your policy will be decisive in your customer's buying process. You must therefore be very clear about the return costs.

2. The return time frame:

Return

The return time is 14 days. AtChristmas time, you can push these deadlines to guarantee peace of mind to your customers. In addition, extending the return time will smooth your orders over the month of December and avoid a peak a few days before the 25th.

Bigblue Christmas tips: keep your customers informed.

If you change your shipping policy, let your customers know what's new so that you haven't made all this effort for nothing!

E) Inventories:

lama-shaped slippers

Let's imagine that on December 10th, your customer decides to order the unicorn slippers, but if they are out of stock, two options are offered to her: go to your competitors or choose another animal.

How to avoid this situation so as not to miss sales at Christmas? 

1. Get real-time data:  

Out of stock can be linked to a discrepancy between the actual stock and the counted stock. It is important to set up automatic data feedback, so it is no longer the employees who are hand-pulling the data. Indeed, WASP conducted a study that revealed that out of 1000 cells filled by hand, 20 were wrong. During the Christmas season, a mismatch of 20 unicorn slippers on a stock of 1000 is a waste of time and money.

How to reduce stock errors?

- Set up barcodes and scan your products at each order. In addition to being faster, your data will go up in real-time at each scan.

- Work with a logistician as the Bigblue. For example, you have access to your stocks in real-time without any intervention on your part.  

2. Anticipate demand:

For e-merchants who have a sales history, you can take into account different elements:

- Your bestsellers from the previous year: last year's sales will give you an indicator on which products will go like hotcakes and which ones to order in priority.

- The marketing strategy: if you put a product forward, it will sell more than the others (which will allow you to compensate for an overflow of stock).

For e-merchants with only a few months of hindsight:

- Best-sellers: order stock on the products that sell best on your site so that you don't runout on December 11th.

- Marketing strategy: if you realize that you have a lot of stock on a product and it is not selling, it is up to you to adapt your strategy to highlight it. For example, if panda slippers sell better than unicorn slippers, communicate this on your networks using post, ads, NL, or make offers "bought slippers offered socks".

3. Create stock alerts:  

If unicorns are your bestseller, you don't want to risk losing part of your turnover because of a stockout.

The stock alert is a notification that informs you how many unicorn socks are left in stock before they are out of stock. It is with you to choose when you wish to be warned: 5 unicorns remaining, 10 unicorns, 20 unicorns, etc. It all depends on the volume of your sales. The idea being to be able to restock at the right time to avoid missing future sales.

To not have to permanently look at your stock, setting up a stock alert will free your mind!

 For more stock management tips, read our article on how to avoid going out of stock for your e-commerce site.

In brief ...

Christmas logistics can be a real asset for your e-commerce. From your communication to the delivery to your customers through the preparation of orders, it is possible to act according to your stage of evolution.

The peak of orders can shake your logistics and, consequently, your brand image with your customers if it is not solid. Indeed, inefficient logistics lead to a lengthy delivery, a negative customer experience, and, finally, the loss of the customer.

Don't panic! It's November, and you still have some time to prepare!

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Julie Ribeiro
Marketing specialist and content writer at Bigblue.
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