The holiday season is an incredibly busy time for businesses with customer demand skyrocketing and parcels flying out the door. To aid the craziness, it’s extra important to ensure your shipping process is as smooth as possible. But with so much to consider, it can be overwhelming. To help make your life a little easier this Christmas season, here are 8 tips for making the shipping process simpler and more efficient.

1. Utilise validated addresses

A validated address is a system-verified, well-formatted address. Such formats exist to provide the courier all the address information they need to deliver the parcel to the correct address. This means less missed deliveries due to incorrect or incomplete address information. The best way to validate addresses is through the CoreLogic Address Right API, which is fully subsidised for up to 5,000 addresses per day.

By validating your addresses, you can decrease the time it takes to deliver packages, improve first-time delivery rates and, most importantly, drive up your number of happy customers. Learn more about how address validation works in our systems.

Validated addresses allow courier businesses (like us) to move items swiftly through our network more accurately, reducing the likelihood of double handling and delays.

2. Follow the packaging guidelines provided by the courier company

The courier network becomes increasingly busy during the festive season due to increased sales volumes. To ensure your parcel is treated with care and delivered as quickly as possible, it’s essential to follow the packaging guidelines provided by the courier company. Be sure to double-check that your package meets all of its requirements before your parcels leave the door.

Secure packaging means the courier company can follow any specific delivery instructions, such as being extra careful with fragile goods, or taking precautions to safely move hazardous or dangerous goods. Follow our packaging guidelines for all your parcels to allow for safer and faster processing through our network.

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3. Does your package need a signature?

We’ve found that 88% of shoppers prefer home delivery, but nearly half of those shoppers don’t usually have someone at home to receive the deliveries. One option to combat this is to provide the courier company with ‘authority to leave’. This means the courier can leave the parcel, as opposed to leaving a card and taking the parcel back to the depot.

If you don’t require a signature for your deliveries, it’s more likely that the recipient will get the package on the first attempt. On average, if a delivery fails and the consumer needs to pick up their package from another location, it can take them 20 minutes or more. Save your customers 20 minutes and consider the use of an ‘authority to leave’.

We give you the choice of signature or no signature so that each delivery can be designed to your customer’s needs. If you cannot provide an authority to leave option, be sure to have easy redelivery or collection options available to your customers. If you’re a business, it’s important to keep in mind that 44% of consumers prefer their parcel to be left in a safe place if they aren’t home.

One effective way to boost customer satisfaction is to provide the option for the customer to choose their safe place when they complete their order. This safe place will then appear on the packaging, instructing the courier to leave the parcel in the optimal place.

4. Consider multi-part consignments

Consignments are groups of packages that have the same destination. If you’re sending a large volume of parcels to one place during the busy season, then using multi-part consignments could be beneficial as it allows easy tracking of all parcels and reduces bottlenecks at the delivery end. A multi-part consignment means the courier can more efficiently plan deliveries, so instead of delivering one in the morning and one in the afternoon or on another day entirely, they can deliver all parcels to the one destination in one go.

5. Stay up to date

A study found that 82% of customers would rather shop at a retailer’s website if it showed the delivery estimated time of arrival upon checkout. Being transparent with your customer is vital to providing the best experience possible. Keeping your customers informed on the progress of their order enables them to make better decisions (if a customer knows their parcel is coming ‘this afternoon’ as opposed to ‘some time this week’, it better positions them to be available to receive the order).

Our Network Status Dashboard puts you in the driver’s seat by setting expectations with your customers if network pressures occur. Add our Dashboard and Delivery Updates pages to your browser bookmarks so you can always be in the know about possible network delays.

6. Stock up on delivery materials

Be sure to have plenty of packing materials available to ensure your deliveries are safe and secure (and to ensure you can ship your goods as speedily as possible!). Having an ample supply will mean no more dashing out during peak periods to source more packaging materials. Moreover, investing in quality materials such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and so on will help ensure the safety of your items when they are in transit. Having express packaging ready to go can be beneficial when you need to expedite orders.

7. Take advantage of automated shipping solutions

Automated shipping solutions can save you time and money during the busy holiday season. Automating your shipments can help ensure faster, error-free deliveries while reducing operational costs. Automated shipping solutions like delivery notifications reduce customer calls inquiring about order statuses and helps build trust with your customers.

For some ecommerce businesses, customer calls regarding the status of their order make up an incredible half of all incoming calls. With smart delivery notifications, your customers will always know where their shipment is, and you won’t waste precious time checking up on orders. Unsurprisingly, 69% of customers say tracking is one of their top three buying considerations, and 81% say receiving order notifications strongly influences their decision to shop again.

It’s important to give due consideration to streamlining your customer experience with solutions such as parcel notifications. This way, you can lessen your total workload and reduce the cost of overheads that can ramp up during peak times.

8. Contact your account representative if you need to send orders during the holidays

If you’re sending a large volume of parcels during the festive season, it’s worth reaching out to your courier account representative. They can help you plan and coordinate your shipments so they all arrive on time. Christmas and New Year tends to be one of the busiest time for delivery courier companies, so it’s important to ensure that your package is sent before certain dates. Courier companies will also provide a form where you can indicate what hours your business will be open so that deliveries are not made while you’re closed.

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The holiday season can be a stressful time for shippers. Customer demand is high, and delivery timing is extra important. With the right planning and preparation, you can ensure that your shipments arrive on time and with minimal disruption. Utilise these 8 tips to make sending packages easier this holiday season. Happy shipping!