Shipping - Article | 3-min. read

How to Work with Your Carrier to Strengthen Your Holiday Shipping Operations

With eCommerce to account for 17% of the total retail sales market by 20221, shipping and logistics managers are facing increasing pressure to orchestrate their fulfillment operations successfully. This is especially true during the holidays, which, for some retailers, accounts for 30% of total retail sales.2

Because of this, planning for the holiday season can be stressful. You might worry that your current shipping options won’t meet your business needs during the holiday rush. However, you can put your mind at ease knowing that there is likely a solution. Read on to learn how establishing a good working relationship with your day-to-day shipping carrier can benefit your business operations leading into the holiday season.

“…shipping and logistics managers are facing increasing pressure to orchestrate their fulfillment operations successfully.”

How a Carrier Can Help Improve Your Operations

By establishing open lines of communication with your shipping carrier, you can:

Proactively create a holiday game plan.

Instead of last minute scrambling around the holidays, set up a tight plan of action with your carrier ahead of time. This plan could include the timing of your holiday shipping needs, when you’ll need shipping materials by, the costs involved and how you and your carrier will tackle issues that arise. You can also ask your carrier how they handle the increase in volume during the holidays, which will enable you to plan, anticipate and avoid setbacks. Ultimately, by connecting person-to-person with your carrier and having these conversations, you’ll be able to improve your working relationship and craft a plan that accounts for your holiday shipping needs while providing you with a greater sense of trust in your carrier.

Confirm your pick-up and delivery schedule.

Rather than adjusting your business model to fit set timeframes, work with your carrier to find a schedule that works best for your business needs. This should specify where, when and how often the carrier should ideally pick up and deliver items.

Adjust quickly to unforeseen events.

The holidays can be a particularly chaotic time, which means you should expect the unexpected. With a close working relationship with your carrier, it is easier to communicate last minute changes or needs on your end, such as additional pick-ups needed due to an influx of express or last minute orders. See if you can establish a local contact and find out the best way to reach them through email or phone, so you can stay in close contact.

How a Company Leveraged a Relationship with their Carrier

Vermont Teddy Bear Company—a company that delivers teddy bears around the country—found that working closely with USPS opened up shipping options, such as free Saturday delivery and flat, regional or Priority Mail Express® services. With these options, the company can be confident that customers will receive products by a specific date. Given the time sensitive nature of their business, as many customers order teddy bears for birthdays and other celebrations, these shipping options are imperative for their business to succeed. With no additional surcharge for Saturday delivery3, they gain an extra delivery day and can even get some of their last minute Friday orders delivered the next day.4,5

In Conclusion

By establishing a strong working relationship with your shipping carrier, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and quickly problem solve, which can ultimately help your business’ productivity.

1Forrester Data: Online Retail Forecast, 2017 to 2022 (US), August 2017.

2“Holiday FAQs,” National Retail Federation.

3Disclaimer: Except when Saturday is a national holiday.

4Disclaimer: Scheduled delivery date and time depend on origin, destination and Post Office™ acceptance time

5“We’re Helping Businesses like Yours Succeed, Vermont Teddy Bear Counts On Our Timely Deliveries,” United States Postal Service.

Get even more. Check out the latest White Paper.

Unwrapping the Holidays: 8 Retail Trends From Holiday 2017

Learn more