International Shipping Strategies for the Holiday Season
International shipping during the holiday season can be a competitive advantage. If you’re selling cross-border, it’s especially important to maintain a positive international shipping & shopping experience during the holidays. Here are some tips in addition to international holiday shipping deadlines to leverage your FlavorCloud checkout and shipping experience to attract and convert more cross-border sales.
1. Communicate international holiday shipping deadlines
International holiday shipping deadlines are the last possible dates an order can be shipped for it to be delivered by December 24, 2019.
- Communicate international holiday shipping deadlines to consumers at checkout. Clearly indicate the date by which orders must be placed for standard and express shipping using the table below as a guideline. Make sure to add order processing and fulfillment time to the dates below.
- Communicate holiday forecasts, promotions, and international holiday shipping deadlines to your warehouse/3PL partners so they’re prepared to support your international volumes.
- Encourage express shipping options during the holidays for timely delivery. Express shipping has higher adoption during the holidays.
Ship-by dates for delivery by December 24, 2019
|Ship-to Country||Standard International Holiday Shipping Deadline*||Express International Holiday Shipping Deadline*|
|Australia||December 10||December 17|
|Asia||December 14||December 17|
|Canada||December 12||December 19|
|European Union (excludes UK)||December 12||December 15|
|United Kingdom||December 14||December 17|
*These dates do not include customs clearance. Our data indicates 95% of FlavorCloud shipments clear customs same day but each country’s authorities reserves the right to throttle as necessary. This could be days or weeks – FlavorCloud Support team with proactively reach out to you on any delivery issues and mitigation.
2. Offer free or discounted holiday shipping
Fast international shipping for little or no cost has become a general expectation. Here are a few ideas:
- Offer free shipping only after exceeding a minimum spend. Perhaps consider setting the threshold higher than the average order value. That way, you can increase average order value while delivering optimal consumer experience — at no perceived cost to them.
- Offer discounted flat-rate shipping to increase conversions.
- Offer shipping promotions to encourage international customers to shop early which will also help reduce opportunities for customs delays as volumes increase.
- Offer free or discounted shipping for specific countries based on higher volume/conversions/marketing promos/advertising etc.
3. Minimize opportunities for customs delays
- Make sure to label all packages correctly and include the correct customs documents with all packages (if required).
- Follow process to consolidate shipments if using the various standard FlavorCloud carriers.
- Reduce cost, risk, and customer frustration by shipping DDP (Delivered Duty Paid = collect duties at checkout). FlavorCloud makes DDP easy, and saves the end consumer on customs duties and fees.
4. Prepare returns processes
Prepare yourself for post-holiday returns by familiarizing yourself with FlavorCloud’s return capabilities.
5. Provide shipment tracking information to consumers
FlavorCloud makes door-to-door shipment tracking details and status updates available and easy-to-read.
6. Consider an address verification plug in
Address verification is always a good idea regardless of the holiday season but especially important during the holidays because bad delivery address can cause undeliverable and returned shipments. Consider integrating an automated address verification plugin to your platform to minimize type-os and reduce chances of a failed delivery.
7. Make Phone number required for international
Customer phone numbers are always required for optimal international deliveries and reducing time in customs delays. Phone numbers can be captured easily at checkout and enforced only for international orders if you prefer.
8. Maximize marketing spend
As a FlavorCloud customer, you’re already optimizing checkout for international shipping so why not promote your ability to ship globally via social media channels?
These tips will be noticed and appreciated by international consumers who will also be more likely to repeat shop. If you have any questions as you prepare for a successful year-end, please contact our support team. Happy selling!