68% of consumers said their expectations for on time delivery during the Q4 holiday season are higher than any other time of the year. No pressure for your online store fulfillment, but almost 70% of your customers expect you to send the right item, on time.

For more Google Shopping and Holiday tips, check out the Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Series!

8 Ways To Get More Revenue With Your Google Shopping Data Feed This Holiday
Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Checklist
Google Holiday Tips
Q4 Lessons For 2013 [Infographic]
Q4 Sales & Shipping Tips
Q4 Fulfillment tips
Q4 Social Strategy


5 Holiday Fulfillment Blunders That Will Bite You

Ecommerce strategy Holiday 20131. Not displaying inventory on your website

Year round you can encourage purchases by emphasizing urgency with a product count for top selling items, such as “Only 15 left in stock!”

  • Product Availability- Displaying product count is doubly important during the holiday season. Firstly to encourage urgency, and more importantly to avoid a user abandoning the shopping cart because an item is out of stock.

Some major considerations with website inventory are product availability and checkout:l

  • Enhance Checkout- Cart abandonment happens frequently on checkout pages which are confusing or hard to use.

Make sure you checkout page is:

–Easy to use and clear to understand

–Ideally is one page

–Outlines shipping options early on (if possible before the checkout page)

–Highlights related products

2. Not scaling fulfillment operations for the holiday

Q4 holiday fulfillment20-40% of  annual revenue for most online retailers comes from the holiday season. Get prepared for an influx of site orders, and make sure you can handle the volume.

If you have your own warehouse, organize your warehouse for the holiday. For example, you may want to put holiday items and best sellers in places where they are quickly accessible.

3.  Not offering rush shipping for the Holiday.

38% of online shoppers expect free shipping items to arrive within 3-4 days. 

Here are some holiday shipping tips to enhance your ecommerce fulfillment:

  • Free Shipping- If you can offer free shipping on your site, definitely do so.
  • Rush Shipping- Provide different delivery options for your online shoppers. Holiday consumers want the ability to ship items to other addresses, and physical stores in addition to their own homes.
  • Shipping Times- Feature shipping options which vary based on how close to the holiday it is.
  • Delivery Options- Be prepared for order changes. During the holiday consumers will change addresses, or choose different shipping options often following a purchase. Make sure your fulfillment is prepared for changes on the fly.


4. Not living up to delivery estimates.

29% of consumers will not shop at an online store if they’ve had a fulfillment issue with them.

Here are some quick tips for online delivery:

  • Suppliers- Communicate with your supplier to make sure your shipments come in when they should.
  • Delivery Time- Clearly list your delivery time on your site and checkout page.
  • Return Policy- Highlight your return policy on your website to alleviate purchase anxiety.
  • Shipping FAQ- Feature a shipping and fulfillment FAQ page on your site to answer popular holiday and shipping questions.
  • Delivery Confirmation- Make sure to send email confirmations, and delivery notifications to reassure shoppers items are on their way and will arrive on time.


5. Not offering Gift Wrap

Any chance to differentiate your store is a biggie. If you can offer gift wrap, gift message or other packaging options your customers will have a reason to choose your store.

  • Email Notifications- Consider also including notifications or retargeting using mobile and social.
  • Get their email- If you don’t require an email for checkout, try a lightbox or pop-over at exit. Then use that information to retarget and for drip email campaigns to differentiate your brand.

There are many other considerations for Holiday fulfillment, so be sure to talk with your Analytics team, supplier and warehouse manager while outlining your holiday strategy, or testing fulfillment abilities during Q4.


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About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.