It’s no secret the holiday season is reliably the busiest of them all — which is why we’re here to help you get ahead of the shipping peak season. By reviewing our handy tips, you’ll be well-equipped and, on your way, to not just surviving, but thriving and delighting your customers at every step this holiday season, from goal setting and planning to strategy and the inevitable returns rush. 

shiprush peak season tips


Reflect on previous peak seasons

The best way to prepare for the future is to review peak season performance in years past.   It is important to understand what went well with peak seasons as well as what areas need to be improved to make the best decisions about which strategies and processes to implement this upcoming season. While the 2021 peak season presented specific challenges that may have impacted the numbers, you will likely still identify valuable insights that you can leverage to help you get ahead of this year’s consumer and industry trends.  This is a huge step in setting your goals for the upcoming peak season.  

Make sure you are well stocked and ready for customer demand

Due to ongoing supply chain obstacles, prepare for peak season by forecasting demand at the SKU level and ordering inventory earlier.  As an e-commerce merchant, being well-prepared to meet a peak season spike at the outset allows you to deliver more of your most popular products to more customers with more speed, driving better end-to-end fulfillment experiences and — ultimately — more loyalty. It’s crucial to consider that once volume reaches and then surpasses a certain point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the fulfillment process.  Proactively measuring, planning for, and managing inventory ebbs and flows will allow you to efficiently address spikes in demand before your business becomes overwhelmed. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Communication is critical for peak season success.  Make sure your plans are clear across the company.  Everyone should understand your peak strategy as well as your goals and objectives. Once peak season starts, setting up weekly meetings with key groups to review any issues, changes or updates is important.  This can help avoid any bottlenecks.   

Communication with potential customers is critical as well.  Set shipping and delivery expectations upfront: Include clear language about what your shipping process looks like and what options are available — and make sure the messaging is front and center. For example, while not all merchants can offer free and fast shipping, if you’re clear about the stipulations (e.g., free shipping comes with a few extra days tacked on, or is only available after a certain threshold) it’s still very much a selling point. 

Get ahead of returns

We all know after the holiday e-commerce purchasing rush comes an influx of holiday returns. Returns increased by 6% in 2021 from the previous year, totaling $761 billion worth of returned merchandise. We can only expect that trend to continue as we move toward the end of 2022 and into 2023’s post-holiday returns season.  Get ahead of those returns by planning for storage space and how to get inventory back in stock now.  Set up reason codes for returns so you understand why customers are returning your product.   

With the increase in e-commerce adoption, hassle-free returns and exchanges are more important than ever. A complicated, restrictive, or expensive returns experience can instantly influence a consumer’s brand perception, so it’s crucial to simplify the process as much as possible and communicate openly and often.  You can keep customers at ease from the get-go by providing a clear policy upfront, calling out any seasonally specific restrictions or special instructions for gift returns and exchanges. 

Wrapping Up Peak Season with a Bow

Preparing your e-commerce business for the upcoming holiday shopping and shipping season doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By reviewing our tips and tailoring them to your specific fulfillment needs — you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your end-to end fulfillment operations streamlined, increased seasonal revenue, and (most important of all!) happy customers Let ShipRush help you with  peak-season shipping.