Will Fulfillment Drive Your Holiday Sales Down the Drain?

by Rakuten | eCommerce Fulfillment, Free Shipping, Holiday Fulfillment

Avoid the biggest holiday fulfillment blunders and compete with any store online.

How much growth have you projected for your online sales this holiday season? Volusion, a leading e-Commerce platform provider and one of our partnershas predicted most smaller to mid-sized sites will average 9% sales growth. However, many of the larger e-Commerce giants are expected to enjoy as much as a 15.5% boost in sales during the 2014 holiday season.

Not bad on either side, but why is there an expected 6.5% difference in sales between the retail giants and the small to mid-sized online businesses? Experts point to advantages like marketing, in-store pick up and better product promotional materials, like videos. While you may not be able to offer in-store pick-up, there are many other opportunities for you to level the playing field and capture your fair share of the projected holiday sales growth.

Your shipping and fulfillment strategy is cornerstone to your ability to compete with the bigger stores and maximize your holiday sales. A few months ago the folks at UPS and comScore released a comprehensive study that delved into the online shopping experiences of nearly 6,000 consumers. Within the results, we’ve identified achievable shipping and fulfillment opportunities to help you grow your business this holiday season.

hfw-mapReach Boston, Greater NYC & New Jersey in 1 Day! This offer includes: free warehouse space, free software, free returns and free customer service through December 31, 2014. Your only costs for holiday order fulfillment will be picking and shipping.

Offer Free Shipping to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

Often when a shopper leaves your site and a full cart behind, it means you lost a sale. In the study, consumers revealed eight reasons for failing to complete online sales. Among the most popular reasons given – .

  • 58% of abandoned carts occured because the shipping costs made the total purchase higher than the customer expected
  • 57% were price shopping against shipping costs on other sites that came in cheaper
  • 50% of customers abandoned carts because their purchase total was not high enough to qualify for the free shipping offer
  • 37% balked when shipping costs were revealed too late in the sales process
  • 28% felt the shipping time was too long for the amount they were asked to pay
  • Key take-away: offer free, low-cost or 2-day shipping to increase sales

Ship the Correct Items and Offer Easy Returns

This year, Thanksgiving will fall on the 27th of November. This creates a short holiday season that puts only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. That means the entire season is crunch time, with a small window available for shopping, fulfillment and delivery of online gifts. And there is no margin for error. Over 55% of customers will never revisit an online store for repeat business, if the order they receive is incorrect.

At Rakuten Super Logistics every order processed in each of our fulfillment centers goes through three unique quality checks. Our system enables us to guarantee 100% accuracy and achieve an actual accuracy rate of over 99.98%. In the rare event that an order is shipped late or incorrectly, we automatically refund your account.

However, every online store should be prepared for a small percentage of orders to be returned for different reasons, such as a poor fit. The Rakuten Super Logistics’ expert customer service staff is ready and able to quickly turn around returns according to your exact specifications. The study also revealed that when it comes to online shopping you can expect your customers to scrutinize your return process before they commit to making a purchase. Key take away: make it easy for your customers to access and print return labels online and clearly communicate your return policies to increase sales and buyer confidence.

The success of the online buyer experience hinges on shipping and fulfillment that is accurate, cost-effective and timely from the customer’s point of view. The predictions for the rise in online shopping revenues can easily be turned to your advantage with the right planning and action on your part.

While other order fulfillment companies are happy to offer a one-size-fits-all approach, Rakuten Super Logistics believes each merchant deserves an order fulfillment company that can help them scale and grow while protecting their reputation. If you have any questions about how you can improve your holiday shipping and logistics you can contact us via email at marketing@webgistix.com or call 1-866-955-7793, and put your 2014 holiday profits in overdrive.