The holiday season is a busy time for sellers throughout the world, as importers and exporters face the many challenges of getting packages from point A to point B. These companies worry about the speed and safety of their packages throughout the year. However, the holiday season adds even more stress to their everyday duties.
There are many challenges to deal with in the holiday season, but most shippers strive to ensure their customers are pleased with the outcome. Here we will take a closer look at ways to overcome the obstacles of the holiday peak shipping season.
Challenges Sellers Face During the Peak Holiday Season
Businesses that have been in the retail industry for decades may know a thing or two about the difficulties of busy seasons. But those new to the trade may find the sudden surge in traffic and volume to be quite overwhelming.
Increase in the Demand for Rush Delivery
Not only do shippers need to get their packages to their buyers safely, but they also need to be sure to get them there on time. There is no stricter schedule than the holiday shipping schedule. No one wants to receive their package in the mail filled with gifts intended for their loved ones on December 26th. And you can be sure that the seller would receive a terrible review if that were to occur.
Unfortunately, things like that happen a lot simply because there are so many packages delivered at the same time. Smart customers often pay a little extra for rush delivery around the holidays. While this helps to guarantee the buyer receives their package on time, it can sometimes add more stress to the seller’s responsibilities. The shippers often have to absorb the extra cost, which can place a strain on their budget. Plus, they also have to be sure to meet the holiday shipping deadlines.
Offer Next Day Delivery at the Expense of the Customer
Offering this option to your customers will help to guarantee their package will arrive at its intended destination on time. While this will increase the price, it will also help cover the additional cost your company has to pay out for faster shipping as well.
Some customers may not choose this service simply because there are more affordable options available. Therefore, it’s a good idea to explain there is less of a guarantee their package will arrive on time if they choose standard shipping options.
Higher Volumes for Shipments and Higher Traffic Mean More Shippers Competing for Space
During the holiday peak season, the cargo loads for freight trucks and airlines exceed the usual average volumes. This excessive cargo can fill up space quickly, and freight companies will start to prioritize their shipments.
These decisions are made based on rates paid by customers, and what type of products are shipped. If something dangerous such as harmful chemicals need to be shipped, they shouldn’t be in a full freight. But if the customer paid more for their shipment, that package will be considered a priority over all the rest.
What does this mean for shippers? If a shipping carrier meets its capacity for a shipment, there could be a delay in delivering your package to the recipient. Sellers may need to pay more for shipping services during this time to guarantee their package is on the truck or plane when intended.
Become a Proactive Shipper
In the sales industry, one of the most important things to focus on is flexibility. It is one of the best qualities that your business can display, especially during the peak holiday season. You can expect last-minute orders to pop up; For those new to the industry, it may seem impossible to get those orders out on time. Ideally, handling the orders as soon as they arrive will minimize bottlenecks and delays.
Surcharges and Ensuring that Packages Arrive on Time Create the Need for Cost Control
Minimize the Impact of Surcharges
Surcharges, also known as accessorials, add up quickly and can blur spend visibility. You will be busy enough processing orders without having to spend the extra time auditing your freight bills line by line. One solution is that you kickstart the season early, before surcharges take effect. Securing as many orders as possible ahead of time will give you the edge.
Partner with Regional Carriers
You can also explore the possibility of working with regional or local carriers. If the location of your customers permits, prefer freight carriers that operate shorter lanes. They tend to offer more transparent contracts and focus on servicing their clients rather than exclusively chasing profit.
Unlike nationals like FedEx and UPS, the postal service doesn’t apply holiday surcharges, which can equate to significant savings. Another benefit is the ability to deliver to mailboxes and P.O. boxes, hereby increasing your reach. The USPS offers more competitive rates for lightweight parcels. If you send many of those around Christmas, say jewelry or small electronics, you can see a neat decrease of your shipping spend.
Re-Examine Your Insurance Contract
Shipping insurance protects your business in many ways, but are you getting the best deal you possibly can? Insuring with carriers is expensive and limited in terms of value and geographic coverage. With the high volume of packages handled and shipped during peak seasons comes increased risks of loss, damage and theft. A third-party shipping insurance provider will work with you and custom draft a policy that will save money and time should you have to file claims.
How Shippers Deal with Package Theft
Loss or theft of packages is a common nuisance that sellers endure throughout the year. The issue increases significantly during the holidays as more expensive and desirable items are left at the front door.
Sellers will often follow a few guidelines that have been known to deter thieves and help prevent porch theft.
By not placing any mark on the package that indicates its value, no one can tell if the large box left behind is worth one dollar or a thousand.
Insisting on delivery signature services can help guarantee the package goes to the intended individual and no one else. It also ensures it will not be left behind at the recipient’s doorstep if no one is home. The seller should encourage their buyers to choose this option, especially when purchasing expensive items or products in bulk quantities.
Other options include drop-off locations equipped with lockers, or “order online, pick up in store” if you have brick-and-mortar retail sites. If not, you may be able to find local businesses that can serve as pick-up spots.
Holiday peak season starts as early as mid-August. Entering into fall means it only intensifies all the way through early January. While this time of year can be a source of great revenue and increased profits, do not take too many chances: plan wisely, insure your goods, lock sound freight contracts and add even more value to your outstanding customer service!
Ask Cabrella how much you can save this merry season and all year round.