It’s just a month to Christmas Eve, which unless you’re planning on hand delivering parcels to your customers means just 30 days until you shut up shop for Christmas. That is if you’re planning to close for a break, unlike the high street the Internet never sleeps – I’ve yet to have a Christmas Day on eBay where I didn’t get some questions from potential customers and didn’t make a sale.
If you are closing your on line shops for Christmas when do you plan to do so? A recent study by Royal Mail shows two thirds of on line retailers plan to close early, with one in six closing their shops five days before Christmas. This is the busiest time of year for most retailers and if the high street shops sell out of that must have purchase, then the Internet is where many customers will be doing their last minute purchases.
“Christmas represents a pivotal time for many retailers, so it’s surprising to see that such a large proportion of them close their websites to orders earlier than they need to. Those retailers looking to match customers’ needs fully and capitalise on December sales opportunities should carefully consider whether this year they’re shutting up shop too early.”
– Gary Winter, Head of Fulfilment at Royal Mail
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to accept orders right up to December 23rd for delivery on Christmas Eve, if you do then you need to make sure your customers know exactly when their item will arrive. Make sure you offer Royal Mail Special Delivery or a 24 hour courier option on all your listings. If you need a couple of days handling time make sure that your customers know your last posting date. Most important of all make sure you postage information is highlighted on your listings and customers are aware that they need to select a priority delivery service if they’re to get their items before the holiday starts.
To maximise sales you could take orders up until 23 December and have them delivered on Christmas Eve using priority services, but the latest recommended posting date for Second Class items is Saturday 18th December and Tuesday 21st December for First Class mail and packets. Also don’t forget if you’re going to use courier services such as ParcelForce24 you’ll need to book a collection well in advance unless you have a regular daily pick up. It’s unlikely that most couriers will be doing ad hoc collections on the 23rd December, so now is the time to plan how you’re going to deliver your last sales before Christmas.
Disclosure – Royal Mail advertise with TameBay