[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Holiday shipping tables create e-commerce gold especially this year. With Christmas falling on a Sunday alerting customers order and shipping deadlines is critical. Most Small to Medium Sized online stores have a single warehouse or distribution point. You’re located here and your customers may be there or over here or some place else.

Creating a graphical shipping deadline calendar is a favorite tactic. Time is a funny thing. No matter where you are “your time” is significant to you, but things change when there’s a warehouse, pickers, and packers involved.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

Sharing feedback loops with visitors who may become customers is an important idea. Customers want to benchmark and they need to know how to make important deadlines such as Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays that may be important to your business. Clear communication prevents anger and frustration when deadlines are missed.

And deadlines may be missed. “Weather Permitting” is a good caveat to include if you’re warehouse is subject to weather delays. One January North Carolina received 22 inches of snow in a day. That much snow shut the state down for three weeks. FedEx won’t attempt pickups or deliveries if road conditions are dangerous and that much snow in North Carolina was DANGEROUS.

Creating Contingencies

Does your website do more than $1M in annual sales but less than $10M? The toughest place to live in online commerce is annual sales below $10M. Finding support that cares can be TOUGH, and twenty inches of snow could kill your business. We suggest developing a multi-channel strategy if you haven’t already done so.

Sell some products on Amazon and use Amazon fulfillment. We just heard an explosion. Most SMBs we work with work HARD to carve a niche, a niche Amazon can’t invade and own. We’re suggesting using the “enemy” because Amazon’s logistics are impressive. We wouldn’t put more than 10% of any branded business on the Big A since they are vampires.

Amazon will find a way to undercut your price and destroy your brand, but hedging your ability to pack and ship is a great use of the giant’s logistic scale and power. If you’re using Amazon to ship some orders ramping in an emergency is possible. What you DO NOT want to do in an emergency is try to establish the Amazon fulfillment account. You’ll have other fish to fry.

If Amazon is a bridge too far find a fulfillment center and negotiate an emergency deal where they can ship for you in a pinch. Most of our SMBs can’t afford to buy two full compliments of products. Know your 80:20 Rule. Twenty percent of your products make eighty percent of your money. Calculate how long you may need help (in a pinch) then multiply by two.

Putting 10% of your best sellers in a secondary location could just save your business. Don’t do the convenient thing. Find a fulfillment center at least 1,000 miles from you. Use Google Analytics to discover what states really matter to your business the most and put your backup shipping center in the state that matters the most the furthest away.

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Amazon’s Holiday Shipping Schedule

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Tom’s Holiday Shipping Schedule
(Good job but not up-to-date for 2016 yet)

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Great Shipping Calendars Alert
We’ll keep an eye out for great shipping calendars this year and create a List.ly to share.
If you see a great shipping calendar please email martin(at)Curagami.com

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