Get Your Business Ready for the E-Commerce Rush This Christmas

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According to recent research, 77 percent of Australian retailers feel they are not well prepared for the Christmas season in terms of their ability to provide multiple shipping options. In addition, 83 percent of all retailers said they were not well prepared to handle shipping delays and uncertainty.

Here are a few tips to get your e-commerce ready for the online Christmas shopping surge to make it as successful as possible:

1. As a starting point, estimate your online sales volume for the season by looking at last year’s results and any changes that might influence this year’s figures. Having an estimate of the overall volume will help you plan for the supplies and resources you will need.

2. Based on your forecasts, order shipping supplies, such as boxes, envelopes, tape, labels and packing material. This will prevent getting caught off guard by not having enough supplies to pack what you have sold.

3. Get extra staff on board if needed. Hire casual or part-time staff based on the estimated sales volume and hours needed to pick, pack and ship orders as they come in.

4. Choose the best carriers for your requirements based comparisons of delivery times and rates.

5. Implement automated solutions to improve efficiency, increase speed and reduce costs. For example, a Magento plug-in can automate areas of your business such as orders, shipments, sales, accounts and marketing.

6. Determine the order turnaround time to set a benchmark for improvement. Knowing how long it takes to get orders out will help you look for ways to increase your speed and efficiency. Discuss ideas for improvement with staff and praise them for improvements that they implement.

7. Find out cut-off times to get packages delivered before Christmas Day. Knowing the cut-off times for the shipping options you offer will help your customers understand what’s possible in limited timeframes. You also need to keep in mind that service delays are possible due to peak volumes in the lead-up to Christmas.

8. Opt-in for additional services such as SMS notifications and call on approach. This will give your customers additional peace of mind in ensuring that someone will be around to receive packages when they are delivered.

9. Arrange alternative delivery points for Authority to Leave items. Although leaving an item outside if no one is home seems like a simple solution, it creates the risk of theft. In order to avoid this, provide the option for a nearby alternative delivery point. Customers who are not home during normal business hours can pick up packages when it’s convenient for them.

Not sure about your readiness for the online Christmas shopping rush this year? Follow the steps outlined to get prepared and ring in a successful new year.

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