With the busy holiday season rapidly approaching, the stress is building. Customers are depending on you, the business owner, to get those custom orders shipped and received by Christmas. Trying to meet those demands, prepare for the hectic scheduling, and make all the orders, shipping can be the last thing we think about in the process. Our warehouse team knows the importance of packaging and sending that time-sensitive cargo, so I sat down with our Warehouse Manager, Ryan DeFreitas to help get you prepared in this fast-paced season without ruining your holiday cheer.
What should a business do before the holidays to make shipping their orders easy and manageable?
Ryan DeFreitas-One of the most important things to take into account is time management. Anything that can be done ahead of time that will allow more time to focus on customers and higher priority tasks will create more potential for maximizing profits. Although these tasks are second nature the more spread thin one gets during the busy rush of the holidays the more likely mistakes will happen that will waste money, time and could potentially cause a customer to have a negative experience. Further, products that can be bundled and packaged together as promotions can be big time savers. Most importantly, don’t try and do everything yourself. Developing help that can duplicate your skills is the biggest key to increasing productivity and profitability.
Are there any shipping tips to get ready during the busy holiday season? Best shipping times/dates, shipping options, packaging, etc…
RD-The biggest thing to take into account during the holiday season is the unfortunate reality that it is the time of the year where all carriers are more likely to make mistakes and damage or lose packages. Keeping this in mind, make sure to always purchase the insurance, use adequate packaging and reinforce as much as possible to avoid damage. Always make sure names and addresses are correct and legible. Carriers are much less likely to put extra effort into sorting packages with errors like incorrect zip codes or missing apartment numbers during the holiday season due to volume and these issues will definitely cause delays. The sooner orders can be shipped the better and for priority orders, I recommend upgrading or urging customers to consider expedited shipping methods because they are much less likely to get lost or damaged.
Should customers stock-up on materials, supplies, and products in advance – if so, how do they judge how much?
RD – Stocking up on essentials is a must. Sooner is always better when stocking up to make sure you’re covered. Unexpected obstacles have a way of popping up at the worst time so always expect them to happen instead of getting burned. How much can be the toughest answer. For materials that are always high use make sure you have enough for the holiday season and directly after. It is great to sell all you can but never good to have to turn away or delay futures customers because the time directly after the holidays wasn’t accounted for.
Don’t let shipping mistakes and low-inventory products turn you into a Scrooge and upset loyal customers. No matter the size of your shipping and order processing demands, remember to be prepared and the earlier you start the better.