How to Prepare Your Small Business for Holiday Shipping

For small businesses, the holiday season can be an exciting time for big sales and approaching a wider shopping audience, but can be a nail-biting time of year, too.

Over the pandemic, shopping small became crucial for keeping our local economies alive and our favourite stores in business. What’s more, Canadians are more interested in online shopping than ever — according to research firm Insider Intelligence, the pandemic fuelled a 75 percent growth in Canadian retail e-commerce. With this momentum carrying through as things go back to normal, as a small business owner, you’ll want to be as prepared as you can be to get the most out of this epic season. This might look like setting goals, launching a holiday-themed marketing campaign or hiring seasonal employees to lend an extra hand. It can also look like leaning on bigger businesses that want to see you succeed.

Whether you need boxes and tape, business cards, or help figuring out this whole direct-mail advertising thing, Staples Solutionshop is designed to help your small business grow and adapt.

“People are really leaning in to supporting their local favourites, and we love providing a one stop shop for them to get the support they need from packing, shipping and landing in the hands of their customers,” says Joanna Bulatovic, Sr. Program Manager at Staples Solutionshop.

Here are some tips to keep in mind during the busy holiday season.

Prep your packing materials

Whether you need corrugated boxes, bubble or flat mailers, envelopes, void fill materials or even stamps, it’s important to stock up on them ahead of time — the last thing you want is to run out of packing materials and slow down the delivery process during the critical holiday season.

Choose a trusted shipping vendor

Solutionshop offers reliable and affordable delivery services from FedEx, Purolator, DHL Express and Canada Post. Both FedEx and DHL Express ship to more than 220 countries and territories, with FedEx offering domestic services as well. Purolator’s suite of custom business solutions offer shipping within Canada, to the U.S. or internationally to over 210 countries; and Canada Post’s XpresspostTM prepaid envelopes offer the convenience and simplicity of flat rate pricing. 

Have a customer service plan in place

As a small business owner, you already know that the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. As much as your customers want to support you, they will most likely have questions on shipping cost, delivery timelines and returns or exchanges. “Our research shows us that for eight of out every 10 online shoppers we surveyed, the ability to track their shipments was the most important delivery feature for them,” says Lisa Xavier, Managing Director of Marketing at FedEx Express Canada. Even if you have a detailed plan for how to meet product demand, carving in time for customer service or outsourcing if needed is essential. You can also lean on tools like FedEx® Delivery Manager where you can enable tracking updates so your customers can receive up-to-date, detailed notifications on the status of their package.

Be ready for potential setbacks

Shopping locally, especially during the holiday seasons, has become more popular than ever. It’s a wonderful thing for small businesses looking to “make it,” but can pose challenges — such as planning a shipping strategy to customer support — if they’re not prepared properly. “As a small business, adapting to the digital space can take time, but the opportunities for growth are there. Equipping your customers with digital tools like the FedEx® Delivery Manager, can help you keep pace with changing consumer habits,” says Xavier.

To help small businesses grow online, FedEx developed a dedicated E-Commerce Centre to act as a resource and guide decision-making.

With Solutionshop, we provide all the essential services small businesses need to not only overcome challenges posed by peak seasons like holiday, but to succeed during this critical time as well.

“The holidays can be hard,” says Bulatovic. “We help make them easier for small businesses for when their customers need it most.”

By Staples Canada

December 01, 2021

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