Q4 is rapidly approaching and customer expectations will reach an all time high during the holidays. Stay ahead of the curve in Q4 and avoid the top 5 fulfillment mistakes listed below.

1.Not Displaying Product Availability

Year round, retailers can encourage purchases with a product count for top selling items, such as “Only 15 left in stock!” Additionally, retailers can enhance their check out process and minimize cart abandonment.

Shopping cart abandonmentProduct Availability- Displaying product count is critical during the holiday season. First to encourage urgency, and to avoid shoppers abandoning the shopping cart due to an out of stock item.

Enhance Checkout- Cart abandonment occurs frequently on checkout pages which are confusing or hard to use.

Make sure you checkout page is:

  • Easy to use and clear to understand
  • Ideally is one page
  • Outlines shipping options early on (if possible before the checkout page)
  • Highlights related products


2. Not Scaling Fulfillment Operations For The Holiday

20-40% of  annual revenue for most online retailers comes from the holiday season. Be prepared for a rapid increase of site orders and staff accordingly for the holidays.

If you have your own warehouse, organize your warehouse for the holiday and put the best selling products in easily accessible locations.

3.  Not Offering Rush Shipping For The Holiday.

free-shipping-infographic-feature38% of online shoppers expect free shipping items to arrive within 3-4 days. 

Here are some holiday shipping tips to enhance your ecommerce fulfillment:

  • Free Shipping- If you can offer free shipping on your site, however, consumers still expect timely shipping.
  • Rush Shipping- Provide different delivery options for your online shoppers. Holiday consumers want the ability to ship items to other addresses, and physical stores in addition to their own homes.
  • Shipping Times- Feature shipping options which vary based on how close to the holiday it is.
  • Order Changes- Be prepared for order changes. During the holiday consumers will change addresses, or choose different shipping options often following a purchase. Make sure your fulfillment is prepared for changes on the fly.


4. Incorrect Delivery Estimates

29% of consumers will not shop at an online store if they’ve had a fulfillment issue with them.

Here are some quick tips for online delivery:

  • Suppliers- Communicate with your supplier to verify shipments will come in when they should.
  • Delivery Time- Clearly list your delivery time on your site and checkout page.
  • Return Policy- Highlight the return policy on your website to alleviate purchase anxiety.
  • Shipping FAQ- Feature a shipping and fulfillment FAQ page on your site to answer popular holiday and shipping questions.
  • Delivery Confirmation- Make sure to send email confirmations, and delivery notifications to reassure shoppers items are on their way and will arrive on time.


5. Not Offering Gift Wrap

If you can offer gift wrap, gift message, or other packaging options your customers will have another reason to choose your store versus a competitor.

Other considerations:

  • Email Notifications- Consider including notifications or retargeting using mobile and social.
  • Get their email- If you don’t require an email for checkout, try a lightbox or pop-over at exit. Then use that information to retarget and for drip email campaigns to differentiate your brand.

There are many considerations for Holiday fulfillment, be sure to talk with your Analytics team, suppliers, and warehouse manager while outlining your holiday strategy.


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