Nov 27, 2013

Friendly Holiday Reminders From Online Retailers

During high-volume times like the holiday season, your customers have more questions than usual. We’ve noticed some retailers sending friendly holiday shipping reminders around this time of year. It’s a win-win: your customers save time because they don’t have to go looking for shipping details on your website, and you save time by answering some questions your customers might have later.

At the height of the holiday season, send your customers detailed information about shipping dates and policies. Is shipping free? Do you offer overnight shipping? If so, tell your readers. They’re trying to get gifts wrapped and ready to go, so quick shipping will mean something to them. And free shipping might convince them to order online instead of going to the store.

Customers need to know for sure that their orders will arrive in time. Last year, Pinhole Press sent a series of reminders about order-by dates for Christmas delivery. First, they shared the order deadlines for delivery by December 23.

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Then they sent a reminder at the last minute, to catch all the people who didn’t see—or just plain forgot about—the first email.

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They’re working on a similar series for this year. "Holiday is when the stakes are highest for e-commerce businesses. Therefore, it’s critical for us to have clear and consistent communication with our customers regarding our shipping deadlines," says marketing and product director Alison Dutton. "We’ve found one of the best ways to do this is to include our deadlines in the header of all our email communications within two weeks of our shipping deadlines. This helps encourage our customers to plan ahead."

Later in the season, you could send an email about gift cards and overnight shipping. Last-minute shoppers might not have time to order gifts online. If you have brick-and-mortar stores in addition to your online store, you could also send campaigns about in-store sales and hours, segmented by location.

If you send a shipping reminder, consider letting your customers know about your return policy in the same campaign. Some stores extend their policies from 14 days to 30 or from 30 to 60 during the holiday season. That way, early bird shoppers can rest assured knowing their friends and family will have the option to return their gifts.

Christmas is December 25, and Hanukkah starts today. Keep those dates in mind, so you can give your customers the information they need when they need it.