2021 International Holiday Shipping Deadlines: All You Need to Know | FlavorCloud

By Trilby Rajna

October 20, 2021

Consumers are counting down the weeks to the holiday season. That means they’re getting ready to shop for holiday décor, gifts and outfits.

The bottom line? Merchants need to plan ahead and prepare customers to buy early.

Will COVID-19 Impact the 2021 Holiday Season?

eMarketer forecasts ecommerce sales to grow by 16.8% in 2021, representing a huge opportunity for retailers. Distribution is on the uptake, but the coronavirus is still impacting shipping for retailers.

This holiday season comes with complexity – but we are here to help you prepare and avoid delays where possible.

Market Lockdowns and Supply Chain Bottlenecks

Certain countries are implementing strict COVID-19 measures and may be more affected than others.
Countries around the world have had to reduce shipping due to coronavirus outbreaks among staff and local lockdowns, leading to bottlenecks at rail hubs and ports, customs, and a shortage of delivery personnel for last mile delivery.

FlavorCloud automatically calculates the best available shipping rates at checkout and optimizes the carrier network to minimize impact and delays, but with COVID-19 uncertainties still lingering, shipping deadlines are more important than ever this holiday season.

What is the Latest Date I can Ship?

The best guidance this holiday season is to plan ahead, encourage customers to buy early and ship quickly. Don’t wait until the deadline as these are only the best estimates carriers can provide for delivering goods in time for Christmas and New Year’s Day. These can’t account for Covid or weather impact.

The below are guidelines for DDP shipping. DDU shipping will typically take longer due to the time goods take to clear customs. It is critical to stay on top of product HS codes, weight, and country of origin. Missing HS codes are the primary reason goods are shipped DDU outside of a select few DDU-only countries. DDP is recommended and provides the best customer experience.

Here is the 2021 international shipping guidance for this holiday season.

Start Planning Early

We have a few tips to keep your shipments on track this holiday season:

Shipping implementation:

  • Leverage the FlavorCloud shipping deadlines to increase the probability that items get delivered before Christmas or New Year’s Day.
  • Add a few extra business days to accommodate for order processing and customs clearance.

Customer communication:

  • Clearly communicate holiday deadlines and shipping timelines to your customers. Shipping times will vary across countries and service levels.
  • To avoid a bad customer experience, share any dates you are closed for business.
  • Let customers know how to reach you for support.

Warehouse and 3PL Partner communication:

  • Share your holiday shipping schedule with your warehouse or 3PL partner.
  • Make note of shipping dates and order volumes with your partners.
  • Support your partners by alerting them to your most popular items so they can position them in the warehouse for efficient fulfillment.

Choose Express Shipping

Given an unpredictable shipping environment and increasing demand from holiday shoppers, more retailers are opting for fast delivery. Why should you choose express shipping?

  • Consumers procrastinate when buying gifts for the holiday – express shipping allows them more time to shop from your store.
  • Express has less hand-offs and is an added insurance for a pre-holiday order arrival.

Always Include a Shipping Disclaimer

In today’s unpredictable world, shipping disclaimers are no longer a nice-to-have. Ensure you include a disclaimer on your website and within your order communications.

Your disclaimer should include:

  • That your priority is to make your customers’ holiday season the best possible, by getting their products to them on time.
  • Delivery timelines are an estimate.
  • Guaranteed delivery times are a challenge based on current global factors, so the earlier they order the better. Delivery can be impacted by extreme weather conditions, increased seasonal shipper volume, local customs clearance, or COVID-19 pandemic related delays.

International Shipping Deadlines: To Sum Up

There are certain factors impacting shipping which are out of our control. But you can plan ahead to minimize delivery disruptions. Dispatch orders early and use express shipping whenever possible.

We wish you luck with your 2021 holiday season. Happy shipping!

If you have any questions or need any help with your international shipping please get in touch at: contact@flavorcloud.com.

Trilby Rajna

Head of Content & PR at FlavorCloud, with a passion for combining creativity and data. Please get in touch with any PR requests, relevant guest post pitches, and collaboration ideas at trilby.rajna[at]favorcloud[dot]com.

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FlavorCloud Team

Making international shipping easy