Christmas Countdown: 3 Essential Survival Tips For E-commerce Businesses

Delivery man on street carrying packages

As we near the end of November, the reality that Christmas is just a matter of weeks away - rather than months - is a startling thought. And for those in the e-commerce sector who are reliant on shipping their goods to consumers, it further emphasises the need for forward planning to ensure things run smoothly during this busy period.

While most online retailers will have their Christmas strategies finalised and in place, this may not be the case for everyone and if your business falls into this category then we have just the thing to help you on your way. In today’s post, we’ll be sharing some of our top survival tips for e-commerce setups - leaving you with actionable advice to get organised and pull off a seamless operation throughout the festivities.

Formulate a shipping plan

Regardless of the size of your operations, it’s essential to lay out a stringent shipping strategy leading up to the holidays, ensuring items arrive on time to avoid any consumer disappointment that could be damaging to your business reputation.

First and foremost, be realistic with your shipping strategy - formulating your deadlines based on how and where you ship, as well your available resources to process orders will help you do this. For instance, a large operation with internal logistics and plenty of manpower to turnaround a lot of orders quickly and to their own timetable, will inevitably have greater flexibility on transportation deadlines. While smaller online retailers relying on standard postal services or couriers may find they have less leeway for guaranteed delivery before the 24th December.

With this in mind, do your research to accurately calculate final shipping dates either internally or with external vendors. It also goes without saying that you should clarify any shipping restrictions with your own product suppliers, too. With a shipping schedule nailed down, be sure to communicate this both internally to staff and more importantly, to your customers when browsing your site or placing orders.

Pre-order your packaging

One often overlooked aspect of pre-Christmas planning for e-commerce businesses is their packaging requirements. Naturally, with consumers, it’s hard to predict definite numbers of sales, but for peace of mind, it’s often savvy to be prepared when it comes to packaging and order plenty in reserve. You never know when there might be a spike in sales and the last thing you need is to run out of packing labels or shipping boxes during a busy buying period that could result in delivery delays.

Bulk buying packaging supplies in advance is a great way to be organised and can also offer significant savings for e-commerce businesses, too - especially if you opt for evergreen styles rather than seasonal, as leftover can still be used later in the year.

Streamline your order processing and packing strategy

Whether you ship items from your front room or you have an expansive warehouse and distribution centre, take the time to reassess and refine your entire order process ahead of the rush.

From reducing the number of packaging products used to save time and money to automate processes like labelling and shrink wrapping where possible, there are often ways you can streamline and hone your operations to make things run like clockwork - even with minor adjustments.

If you’re expecting an unscalable rush of orders over the coming weeks it may also be time to enlist some additional help to manage the logistics, whether that’s roping in friends and family or employing some temporary seasonal workers.

Two paper-wrapped Christmas packages

Although Christmas isn’t far away, we hope these handy survival tips will help you get organised when it comes to getting your online business ready for the season. And, to ensure you have everything covered when it comes to packaging, always choose reliable packaging suppliers.

Take a look at our full range of products today and get in contact, either by calling us on 01992 702470 or filling out our email form here to place your order - our expert sales team are always on hand to help.