Holiday Shipping Tips for 2011

It is that time of the year again. The weather is getting colder, festivity is in the air, and the holiday shipping season is among us. If you are an internet retailer or retail shipper, this is the time of year to buckle-down and show your customers what you are made of.
As always, we have some tips that you should keep in mind when dealing with your holiday shipping rush. You may recognize some of these tips from past years but they need to be repeated.

  1. Verify Your Shipping Labels and Addresses
    Is the shipping destination clear and correct on the label? Is the street address an “Avenue” or a “Place”? Make sure to verify the address with an address verification service. Also, if you are shipping overseas and double boxing, add another address label to the inner box. You can never take too many precautions.
  2. Add the Signature Confirmation Service
    Signing for a package may inconvenience some buyers, but if you are shipping a package with a value, it is the safest way to verify delivery. During this very busy time of the year packages that the carriers normally stick around and get a signature on are left at doorsteps or driveways so the carriers can quickly move on to their next delivery. Requesting a signature confirmation from the shipping carriers for higher dollar shipments shows your buyers you are committed to making sure they get their packages in time for the holidays.
    If requesting a signature is not an option (or too costly), make sure to ship your packages with a tracking number so delivery can be confirmed!

  3.  Understand the Carrier Schedules
    The shipping  carriers also take time off. Be wary of the holidays that they close their entire shipping operation. Visit the carrier websites for exact dates and last minute shipping options.
    1. FedEx Last Days To Ship
    2. UPS Year End Holiday Schedule
    3. USPS Holiday Shipping and Mailing Dates

  4. Packing Tips
    1. Boxing
      Use a strong, new shipping box. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton and make sure your items are not pressed against the side of the box. Use ample padding of newspaper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or fitted InstaPak inside your packaging. Ample padding is a minimum of 2-3 inches.
    2. Double Box Fragile or Valuable Items
      If you are shipping anything breakable or valuable, adding another shipping box can make a world of difference. Even if you are using bubble wrap or packing peanuts, an additional box can protect you in 2 ways. (1) The additional box and accompanying packing material adds strength and padding to the package. (2) If someone along the mail stream decides to poke a hole in the box to see what falls out, they only poke through the outside box. Also, place another shipping label on the inner box in the case that it gets separated from the outer box. This can happen when it gets opened by customs or the outer box gets damaged in transit.
    3. Weather-Proof Your Shipments
      Winter brings cold, rain, sleet, and snow to many parts of the world. If your shipments can be damaged by the elements, make sure to wrap them in a plastic or weatherproof bag. This way, they will have some protection if they are left out in the elements.
    4. Use Proper Shipping Tape
      Scotch tape is not meant to secure a box for shipping. Use pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, or paper tape. 
  5. Insure Your Shipments
    No, this is not a shameless plug for our service. With the tremendous influx of packages being shipped during the holidays, accidents do happen and packages do go missing. Make sure you protect your bottom line with shipping insurance coverage for your packages.  Cover your shipments with Shipsurance and pay less for more coverage.

1 Comment+ Add Comment

  • Paying for signature confirmation with the USPS is not a guarantee that they will actually get a signature. I highly recommend insuring high priced items in addition to signature confirmation. I shipped a $300 item with signature confirmation last month, and the item not only didn’t get scanned as delivered, there was no signature proof either.

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