Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Shipping

December 8, 2023

Holiday shipping is a critical aspect of the peak season for online merchants, often determining the success or failure of their sales performance. As the end-of-year holidays approach, the volume of online shopping increases dramatically, leading to challenges and opportunities for businesses.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on the do’s and don’ts for a successful holiday shipping season:

Understanding the Importance of Holiday Shipping

Revenue Impact

Peak Season Sales: The holiday season often accounts for a significant portion of annual sales for online merchants. Efficient shipping plays a pivotal role in maximizing revenue.
Customer Satisfaction: Timely delivery enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Logistical Challenges

Increased Volume: The spike in orders can strain logistics and supply chains.
Delivery Delays: Carriers face their own challenges, with increased package volumes often leading to delays.

Do’s for Successful Holiday Shipping

Plan Ahead

Forecast Demand: Analyze previous years’ data to predict the volume of orders.
Inventory Management: Stock up on popular items to avoid stockouts.

Choose the Right Shipping Partners

Reliability Over Cost: Opt for carriers known for reliable holiday service, even if they cost a bit more.
Multiple Carriers: Diversify your shipping options to avoid dependency on a single carrier.

Communicate Clearly with Customers

Shipping Deadlines: Clearly communicate the last dates for standard and expedited shipping.
Order Status Updates: Provide regular updates on order and shipping status.

Offer Promotions and Deals

Free Shipping: Consider offering free shipping to incentivize purchases.
Expedited Shipping Deals: Offer discounted expedited shipping closer to the holidays.

Ensure Robust Packaging

Durable Packaging: Use high-quality materials to prevent damage during transit.
Holiday-Themed Packaging: Consider festive packaging to enhance the unboxing experience.

Don’ts for Holiday Shipping

Avoid Underestimating Shipping Volume

Understaffing: Don’t be caught understaffed during peak times.
Insufficient Inventory: Avoid running out of popular items.

Don’t Ignore Customer Service

Inadequate Support: Ensure your customer service team is well-staffed and trained to handle increased queries and issues.
Lack of Transparency: Avoid keeping customers in the dark about delays or problems.

Don’t Overlook Returns Management

Complicated Returns: Simplify the return process to build customer trust.
Ignoring Return Costs: Factor in the cost and logistics of returns in your pricing and policies.

Avoid Relying on a Single Carrier

Carrier Delays: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; carrier-specific delays can be catastrophic.
Limited Options: Offering multiple shipping options caters to different customer needs.

Don’t Forget Post-Holiday Opportunities

After-Holiday Sales: Plan for post-holiday sales to clear inventory and continue revenue flow.
Feedback Collection: Use the post-holiday period to collect customer feedback for improvement next year.


Successful holiday shipping requires meticulous planning, strong partnerships, clear communication, and exceptional customer service. By focusing on these areas and avoiding common pitfalls, online merchants can capitalize on the peak season to maximize revenue and build lasting customer relationships. Remember, the holiday season is not just a sales opportunity; it’s a chance to create memorable experiences for customers that can pay dividends throughout the year.

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