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Christmas in September

Small Business advice · 3 min read

Christmas in September

When is too early to start preparing your e-commerce business for the Christmas rush? The truth is, there is no such thing as too early when it comes to the busiest time of the year – after all, you want to cash in on every opportunity. Follow these 9 steps to ensure you have a very merry sales period.

This year, the cost-of-living crisis is having an impact on consumers’ holiday behavior. eBay’s Christmas Spend Trends 2022 report1 found that almost a third of consumers are planning to start their festive shopping earlier than they did last year – with 30% attributing this to the economic circumstances and the need to “spread out” their spending.

At DHL Express, the peak holiday season runs from Black Friday (late November) until Christmas, when delivery volumes will be over 40% higher than the average daily volume in our third quarter. But for e-commerce businesses, the work begins earlier…Fortunately, we’ve got some tips to help you get ready. 

1. Know the shipping cut-off time for pre-Christmas Day delivery

This should be engraved in your mind; if you miss the deadline, you’ll have some extremely disappointed – and angry – customers on your hands. Make sure the cut-off date for Christmas delivery is clear on your website too so that customers place their orders in time.

2. Give your website a polish

Speaking of your e-commerce website, the lead up to a busy period is the perfect time to check everything is in order. Does it load quickly? Is navigation fast and intuitive? Is it optimized for mobile? Check out our complete 22 golden rules of e-commerce to ensure your customers have the best experience possible. Remember, happy browsing leads to greater purchasing!

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3. Plan what deals you can offer

Consumers are watching their spending closer than ever at the moment – in fact, a survey by Numerator found that nearly 9 in 10 consumers (89%) expect inflation to affect their 2022 holiday shopping2. With tighter budgets, consumers will be on the hunt for bargains, so consider what deals and discounts you can offer, and put your best promotions front and center of your homepage.

4. Create some buzz!

Running a Christmas campaign? Great – now you just need to let everyone know! Shout about it across your social media channels and involve your followers in the fun with a competition or two. Come mid-December, there’s still plenty of time to nab some last-minute shoppers – in fact, it’s the perfect time to send your email subscribers a special discount code.

5. Keep a close watch on your inventory

You probably placed your Christmas orders with suppliers months ago. However, with global supply chains so temperamental now, it’s important to maintain regular communication with your suppliers so that you can react quickly to any delays and minimize the impact on your end customers.

stationery on a table

6. Shipping: think fast and free

Consumers love free shipping. In fact, 9 out of 10 said it is the leading incentive to shop online more3. It may seem an expensive cost to your business at first, but as online orders with free shipping average around 30% higher in value4, it’ll be a worthwhile investment.

7. Deliver unboxing magic

There’s a reason “unboxing” videos are a big hit on YouTube. Online shoppers are increasingly seeing the packaging of their purchases as a big part of the experience. Christmas is the perfect time to go all out and really wow your customers: invest in some beautiful festive packaging for your products, offer gift wrapping at checkout, and include a thank you note with orders. These personal touches will be appreciated by customers and increase the likelihood of them posting about your brand on social media. Bonus points for keeping it green – check out our guide to sustainable packaging.

DHL courier holding a DHL parcel

8. Consider free returns and exchanges

67% of online consumers will check a brand’s returns policy before committing to buy5, so a “free returns for the holidays” offer can help you win customers. Furthermore, research shows that offering free online returns encourages a higher average basket spend amongst shoppers6.

9. Don’t forget the final mile!

You’ve smashed your Christmas campaign, shifted all your stock, and wrapped your orders beautifully – now you just need to get them to your customers’ doors on time and in one piece. And for that, there’s no better logistics partner than DHL. As e-commerce experts, we can help you manage the rush and keep those all-important customer promises. Start your journey here.

1 - Christmas Spend Trends 2022, eBay

2 - Numerator, 2022

3 & 4 – Invespcro, May 2022

5 - Invespcro, May 2022

6 - Klarna report, Ecommerce News, March 2019

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