The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns across the country have accelerated the trend towards online shopping, and this holiday season will be no exception.

Aussies are expected to spend more than $11 billion on gifts this Christmas, with a significant amount of shopping set to be done online.

In fact, an average of 48% of Christmas presents are likely to be purchased online, with 58% of people saying they’ll purchase more or significantly more items online than they did last year.

And, while this expected online shopping surge is welcomed news for retailers after a tumultuous 12 months, it also brings its own set of challenges.

To help prepare for this year’s peak season, ShipStation, together with Shopify Plus, has released The Ultimate Shipping Guide.

The Ultimate Shipping Guide gives your business the tools to stay in control of the shipping experience during the Christmas rush.

Here’s three ways to turn shipping challenges into conversion-driving solutions at the checkout this holiday season.

Sub: Offer choice and convenience across the entire delivery journey

Consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience of easy returns, customer loyalty programs, pickup points, and other novelty delivery options.

According to The Ultimate Shipping Guide, 70% of consumers say that a poor delivery or shipping experience negatively impacts their impression of the retailer rather than the carrier.

In order to keep customers happy, retailers need to find ways to optimise choice and convenience across the entire shipping and delivery journey.

The ShipStation + Shopify Plus Integration allows special fields to be run via automation.

Refunds, cancellations, and line-item changes can also be synced with every import, so you avoid shipping out unnecessary orders – cutting down both costs and waste.

From there, you can build out the best automation tools to simplify the shipping and returns process for both you and your customers, including perks like loyalty programs and flexible payment options.

Sub: Clearly communicate your shipping policy

When shopping online, shipping visibility is paramount to customers.

Research from The Ultimate Shipping Guide found that more than 85% of Aussie consumers want full visibility into expected shipping timelines before purchase, while 90% want the ability to select rates and speed during checkout.

Retailers who want to optimise their checkout experience should include clear delivery windows and transparent shipping rates. Otherwise, consumers will abandon their cart and shop elsewhere to meet their shipping needs.

ShipStation can help you streamline the shipping experience to include a shipping calculator and live shipping and delivery time frames at the checkout.

The ShipStation + Shopify Plus Integration enables businesses to implement automatic shipping updates after label creation, which transmits the carrier, tracking number, and shipping status both to the customer and back to ShipStation.

Sub: Implement a clear returns policy

A good return experience is integral to being competitive.

In fact, 72% of consumers say a returns policy directly impacts their final purchasing decision.

In addition, a transparent returns policy incentivises customers to follow through with their order.

Ecommerce retailers should carefully manage customer expectations around returns and implement a clear returns policy that they can fall back on when needed.

If you do offer returns, ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal will allow your customers to initiate their returns themselves, all without having to wait in line at the post office.

The Ultimate Shipping Guide explores the three pillars of exceptional shipping, right along with the skills you need to offer world-class shipping. Download The Ultimate Shipping Guide to learn more.