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8 min read

Increase Cart Conversion During Peak Shipping Season

Increase Cart Conversion During Peak Shipping Season

Peak season can be the one of the most stressful times for brands, warehouses, and fulfillment centers. If this is your first year working at an eCommerce business during peak season or your twentieth, each year is different and there are always new things to learn. The following are changes you can make over the next few weeks to increase your efficiency and effectiveness during peak. In this blog we will discuss:

  • The Basics of Peak Season
  • 2022 Trends
  • Shipping Strategies
  • Cart Conversion Tactics

By following this guide, you will be able to be proactive in your peak shipping season approach. Instead of reacting to problems that may arise, but them out completely before. As you implement these tips you can increase cart conversion, save money on shipping, and decrease the overall friction your brand faces.

Shipping

The Basics of Peak Season

What is peak season?

Peak season is the time of the year, October through December, when brands generally see a spike in sales. This is caused by the number of large US and worldwide holidays during this season. Another factor is the large discounts that customers generally see in this time on days like black Friday and others.

Why should you prepare for peak season?

Peak season brings a lot of revenue but with that steep increase challenges  can also arise. Doing the necessary preparation will  save you a lot of grief later.

There is also a great opportunity for brands during this season. You want to capitalize on sales when there is an increase in demand around you. By using cart conversion tactics and shipping strategies you’ll be able save money and increase sales.  

Important dates to keep in mind

  • Singles’ Day (China 11.11)Singles Day vs Cyber Monday

Singles day, celebrated on the one-filled date of 11/11 started as kind of an anti-Valentine’s

Day where people celebrated being single. It has evolved into a day when people give presents to themselves – a brilliant twist that was not surprisingly engineered by retailers. (Business Insider)

  • Cyber week

Cyber Week is a mega retail event that spans five days, covering five major shopping dates: US Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Super Sunday, and Cyber Monday. Of these special days, consumers look forward to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) the most. (Influencer Marketing)

  • Thanksgiving

American holiday celebrated the 4th Thursday in November every year.

  • Black Friday (4th Friday in November)

The day after thanksgiving companies in the US and now across the world have large discounts which leads to record sales.

  • Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving)

The spending doesn’t stop after Friday. Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday. In recent years Cyber Monday has done more in sales than Black Friday.

  • Hanukkah

This holiday is observed for eight nights and days between November and December. The exact dates vary every year. Although gifts haven’t always been associated with this Holiday, it is common now to see gifts exchanged during this time.

  • Christmas (25th of December)

A lot of the spending done during November and early December is in preparation for Christmas. Once the deals during that week are over companies continue to place products on sale for Christmas. So, all of December is another huge month for sales. It is also an important time to provide priority shipping lanes ensuring consumers packages arrive before Christmas.

2022 Trends

Every peak season is different and will have new possibilities and challenges. This year there are a few things to focus on: eCommerce growth, supply chain, and social media.

eCommerce Growth

“The graph below demonstrates just how fast eCommerce is growing. It shows retail eCommerce sales worldwide from 2014 – 2025. This is a good representation of how quickly this industry can grow and what to expect in the coming years. 

eCommerce Growth

In the span of 12 years it's projected that sales will go from 1,336 billion to 7,391 billion. That’s massive growth! As analytics, AI, and machine learning get more and more advanced, this space will become even more lucrative. These advancements will greatly increase the effectiveness of ads and marketing, thus creating more sales and expanding your audience.” (Click here to learn more about this topic)

Supply Chain

Supply chain has become a massive point of conversation over the years following the 2020 pandemic. There have been massive supply chain issues due to the rise and fall of demand. This has caused congestion within the chain causing massive delays on specific products. COVID also had an impact on the creation of many products causing supply to drop while demand stayed constant or rose in some cases.

“Global shippers should be prepared for volatility in the coming quarters,” said Peter Sand, Chief Shipping Analyst at ocean and air freight research firm Xeneta. “I think patience is required, not only in terms of understanding how market dynamics constantly develop, but certainly also to realize that no two markets are alike.” (CNBC)

CNBC posted an article about supply chain in which the key takeaways were:

  • Port congestion and longer container wait times are resulting in higher ocean shipping spot rates on some trade routes, price increases which ultimately flow through to the consumer.
  • FBX Dry Baltic Index rates for the China/U.S. East Coast route are at $10,000, while the spot rates for China/U.S. West Coast trade are lower.
  • Ocean spot rates for the Europe/U.S. trade route are up 2%, to $8,423.
  • Traditional peak season for ocean shipping begins in August.

Supply Chain US

Supply chain EU

These graphics show how many countries and states are handling supply chain issues and what their efficiency looks like. As peak season starts up these will change and will probably face increased congestion. But this is something that they are all working and preparing for.

Social Media

Retail Social Commerce Sales

“In this graph, you can see just how dominant China is compared to the US in Socialcommerce sales. Meaning purchases off social media such as Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, etc. This has become an extremely popular way of shopping for them. With the new Shopify integration, it is likely that growth in Social Commerce sales will start to increase in the US over the next few years. We will discuss that further in the social media portion of this article. 

This growth will continue as it slowly gains on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Although, as eCommerce grows, many brands also decide to open a physical location. As the world comes back from the pandemic we will, and have already seen, the pendulum swing away from online shopping. Traditional storefronts have been more popular as of late because of the appeal of being out with people doing things that weren't allowed for two years. Eventually things will balance out, but if eCommerce sees a small hit in 2022 that would be the reason why.” (Click here to learn more about this topic)

Shipping Strategies

By implementing various shipping strategies, you can decrease pain points and capitalize on potential sales. Without a strategy for peak season, you won’t realize your full potential as a brand, and you have an increased likelihood for problems related to shipping.

Don’t wait to make changes

Be prepared for the first waves of peak season to hit earlier than you think. You can start to see the early effects of peak season starting as soon as October. Depending on your brand Halloween can also be a holiday to keep an eye out for.

By this time, you should have briefed your employees on your plan and what you expect from them during this crucial time. Look at the historical data. What went well and what didn’t during past peak seasons? Talk with your employees to see what their experience was like and if they saw any major bottlenecks that can be improved.

Work with a 3PL

Working with a good 3PL can be a shipping game changer. A 3PL should be able to help you increase visibility throughout the shipping process. This gives you better insights and abilities to locate and address problems. The right 3PL should the amount of shipping concerns and work you have to do. This way you can focus on the parts of business you enjoy and leave shipping to an expert. Every situation is different but in many cases you can save money on transportation while working with a 3PL.

Dynamic Rate Shopping (Package prioritization)

Many companies offer flat rate shipping. This can cause brands to lose thousands of dollars every month because their flat rate does not account for fluctuating shipping costs. BUKU's app, IntelliRate, allows you to dynamically rate shop giving you and your customer the best price possible.

Instantaneously search through various carriers and find the lowest rate for your delivery destination. Once selected, this rate is displayed in the shopping cart.

Dynamic Rate Shopping

BUKU offers the ability to dynamically rate shop all of its customers.

Empirical Data (Historical data)

“One of the best ways to prepare for peak season is to learn from previous peak seasons. If you have data from past peak seasons, take a look and see what worked well and what didn't. This will help you identify areas that need improvement so you can build out forecasts and make changes accordingly. It’s also helpful to talk to employees who have been with the company for a while and see what they remember about previous peak seasons. They may have some great insights that you didn't consider. Don't forget to talk to your customers either. They're the ones who will be directly impacted by any changes you make, so it's important to get their input and feedback through surveys, one-on-one outreach, and monitoring social media and online activity.” (EasyPost)

 Cart Conversion Tactics

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest problems that any brand faces. Cart abandonment is when: a consumer  visits your site selects a product(s), and right before buying… they decided to leave and not finish the purchase.

Increasing your cart conversion by even a small percent is a big deal. Luckily, there are a few tactics you can implement that can improve the effectiveness of your cart and give your customers the best experience.

Free Shipping

“Offering free shipping is a must in 2022. But it can be done in two different and effective ways. The first way is by offering it in one of your lanes automatically. This is similar to Amazon’s checkout with prime. You almost never have to pay for shipping. But can every brand afford to do this? No.

Offering free shipping when a certain cart value is met is an easy way to incentivize a higher average cart value. This helps brands use the appeal of free shipping to their advantage. Setting it at a correct amount can be difficult, but when done right, it can yield great results.” (Click here to learn more about this topic)

Multiple Lanes (Amazon-like checkout)

Amazon changed the way that checkouts look for good. Many brands just offer a single lane with a flat rate. This limits  the customer. They don’t have the power of choice or control over the speed at which it will arrive. And they also don’t have the ability to choose the a cheap option if price is mor important than a rush delivery. So, they are stuck with whatever speed and price you give them. This is frustrating to the customer and can cause cart abandonment.

If you’re able to display 3-4 lanes with different speeds and prices you give transparency and choice back to the customer. This allows them to focus on speed rather than the price of the product. This is best demonstrated with the following situation.

Christmas is coming up, but I forgot to buy my brother his present. I need it shipped to me as soon as possible and I’m willing to pay extra for shipping. I expect the brand that I am purchasing from to offer that to me.

If I arrive at the shopping cart and don’t see multiple shipping speeds, I will immediately abandon my cart and visit another online store that provides expedited shipping. Waiting those extra days isn’t an option for me, even if the shipping is free. I need the product physically in front of me as soon as possible. Consumer's satisfaction is increased when they are given choices

Delivery Dates

Delivery Dates

“Customers want to know exactly when to expect their order to arrive. By adding accurate delivery dates, you are being transparent with the customer and allowing them to pick which dates work best for them. It makes the decision less about the price of shipping and more about the speed at which it will arrive. This gives them the power of choice. 

With IntelliRate BUKU is able to calculate ultra-accurate delivery dates by taking into consideration fulfillment, packaging and traveling times. This way brands don't mislead their customers with inaccurate delivery times. Each shipment has been calculated and displayed correctly for the customer to choose from. Displaying accurate delivery dates helps build trust with brands as well as demonstrates a willingness for transparency and accuracy. Both of those attributes are highly sought out by customers. 

All of this goes back to the scenario where the person purchasing needs the product by a certain day. First off, you need to have the option available for expedited shipping. And then it all comes down to displaying delivery dates and the accuracy of them. If no dates are provided then you leave the customer guessing. And if the dates are inaccurate then you leave them with a poor impression of the brand. If this happens they are far less likely to make another purchase from that store again.” (Click here to learn more about this topic)

Takeaways

Peak season can be a lot to handle. But there is a huge opportunity for every brand to increase customer size, sales, and to start thinking more strategically about shipping and cart conversion. Over the next few weeks all brands need to be preparing and strategizing for the first waves of peak.

In this guide we went over what exactly peak season is and what holidays it covers. This includes:

  • Singles’ day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Hanukkah
  • And Christmas

Next the 2022 eCommerce trends were covered. Some of these trends are the rise of social media sales, supply chain problems, and the overall eCommerce growth. This growth has been massive over the last few years and demand continues to rise.

Shipping and cart conversion strategies can be implemented to increase sales and decrease shipping bottlenecks.

All of these tips are possible for your brand to achieve by with BUKU, a good 3PL, and great planning from the brand. Together we can have a great peak season.

 

Sources:

CNBC, Business Insider, Influencer Marketing Hub, EasyPost

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