Your complete guide to holiday shipping deadlines 2017

December 7, 2017

2017 shipping deadlines

There’s no worse feeling than letting your customers down.

And with 15% of shoppers waiting until well into December to start buying, you'll want to make sure you're doing everything possible to make sure they have their gifts in hand before the big day.

So, to avoid your customers having to blast you on social media while wrapping up a picture of the awesome gift they didn't receive, take a quick look below to find out how to avoid disappointing your customers this holiday season. 

Holiday shipping deadlines: 2017

Let's start by laying out the exact dates you need to know in order to get your customers their orders on time.

Canada Post: Their full schedule can be viewed here, but be prepared to ship out orders between Dec. 11-18th if you want your US & Canadian customers to get their packages on time. 

FedEx: Check out their handy, downloadable PDF for worldwide shipping timelines. 

USP: Their interactive site will make sure your customers stay happy over the holidays.

For a full list, including Amazon.com and the U.S. Postal Service, click here, or check out the handy infographic below from ShipStation.

mailing cutoff dates for 2017
And while it's great for you as a store owner to know these timelines so your customers aren't left disappointed, you can go one step further and use this as an opportunity to get some last minute sales. But first...

 


 

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Make sure you store is up to date

Around the holidays, you'll probably notice an increase in questions like “will my order get to me before Christmas” or “can you send my package overnight?”

cut off dates for holiday orders
While you should be making holiday mailing dates visible on your store, that might not provide all the details a shopper needs to know before ordering. So it's a good idea to update your policies, support pages, FAQ's, as well as your homepage.

You should include:

  • How fast you ship your orders. Be sure to include not only what time period orders ship out (same day, 24 hours, 48 hours, etc.), but what time of day (Ex. orders placed before noon will be shipped same day).
  • Shipping method. Do you offer express or overnight shipping? And if so, to which countries?
  • Cut-off date. Use the above info to clearly outline shipping dates that you'll guarantee your customers will receive your packages by. Bonus points if you do it by holiday like Hickory Farms did above.
  • Return policies. Cover the big stuff, like if your products can be returned, how long a customer has to return, do they have to pay to send it back, and are your dates after a customer receives their package, or after you ship it out.

Putting these details in place will give potential customers all they need to make a purchase with confidence. This may also cut down on the number of questions you receive during the already busy holiday season.

Clearly display your stores cutoff date

Now that your store is set up, you can focus on communicating each shipping deadline as it approaches. 

Holiday shipping deadlines 2017
The best part? These deadlines are an awesome way to send a call-to-action to your customers: When they know they have a limited time to make their decision, they're more motivated to complete their purchase than if they had time to think about it (and potentially forget!). 

Below are some last-minute ideas you can use on your store within the next few minutes to help drive those last-minute conversions through the roof!

  • Update your homepage banner with your store's deadlines. An example of wording: LAST CHANCE: Order before *insert date here* for guaranteed holiday delivery.
  • Use a pop-up to make sure that everyone who lands on your store sees the cutoff dates. We love the one Tory Burch used (see above).
  • Another idea to motivate your customers to buy is to use a high-converting countdown timerThere’s nothing better than a clock ticking down to convince someone to pull the trigger and complete their purchase, and it’s SO easy to set up.

countdown timers to drive sales
Turn the mailing cutoff into a selling opportunity

If it's getting close to the deadline, try running one of the below promotions to encourage your customers to complete their purchases so they're not left disappointed on the big day. 

  • Free shipping = increased sales. Another suggestion would be to offer free shipping to your customers on the last day to order for holiday delivery as that last little push. Because let's face it, everyone loves getting something for free!
  • Offer free gift wrapping. Not everyone is shipping things to themselves! As the shipping deadline is looming and someone is purchasing a gift from your store, a simple idea to increase your sales and lower abandoned carts is to offer/promote free gift wrapping on your store.
  • Upsell at checkout. Upsells have been proven to increase your stores average order value, and it's also the perfect opportunity to leverage that cutoff date. Try something like, "There's only 2 more days to get your gifts before Christmas, so we did your shopping for you! Here's a *insert product here* that anyone on your list would love."
  • Email blast. Send an email to your store's contact list letting them know when your deadlines are, and make sure to let them know about any last minute holiday sales you're running as well! Try offering a percentage off their order if they purchase before the cutoff to give them a little nudge. 

Make sure you set it up TODAY

The Christmas countdown is on! So, log into your store right now, make sure your policies are up to date, and set up a quick promotion to run for the next few days. Post a link to your store in the comment section below and show the world what you're doing for the holidays!

Topics: eCommerce News

Melanie Fatouros-Richardson

Written by Melanie Fatouros-Richardson

Melanie is a Content Marketer at Bold and is a reality tv aficionado.

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