The last thing online shoppers want to worry about is their gifts making it to their loved ones on time and intact. It's up to eCommerce retailers to alleviate online shopping fears, and make the fulfillment process as smooth as possible. Here are seven typical mistakes and how to avoid them:

    1. Not using down time efficiently. When you have time between the rush of orders, put your best-selling items in easy-to-access locations. You can even pre-package those products and other items that you are heavily promoting. If you're offering gift-wrapping, consider creating a temporary area for that purpose. 

    2.Not hiring enough people. For most online retailers, 20-40% of annual revenues come during the holiday season. Amazon just announced that this year it will add 80,000 temporary workers to its fulfillment centers. While you won't have to add 80,000 workers, there's no question that adding seasonal workers to help fulfill orders during this time is a strategic move in handling the increase in sales. 

    3. Not offering multiple shipping options. Shipping delivery times are critical during the holidays. The ShipStation team has put together a handy infographic to make sure our eCommerce customers and friends know the ship-by dates for shipping carrier holiday deliveries:

    Here are some examples of useful holiday shipping options:

    • Free Shipping with a Minimum Order Amount. This is the most commonly used promotion because it motivates consumers to buy more, increasing your average revenue per order.

    • Free Shipping on Select Items. This type of promotion is useful to increase sales on overstock items, close-outs, or those items with a large profit margin. It also allows retailers to offer free shipping on lightweight items that are less expensive to ship. 

    • Flat Rate Shipping. Knowing the cost of shipping, regardless of how many items you buy or what they weigh, is motivating to a customer.

    • Rush Shipping. Last-minute shoppers aren't as price-sensitive, don't expect free shipping, and love to shop online. Offer them what they want: last-minute shipping options that are expensive, but will still get gifts to their loved ones by Christmas.

    4. Not offering delivery estimates. Take the uncertainty out of online shopping by posting delivery estimates throughout the buying process, on a Shipping FAQ page on your website, in the shopping cart before payment information is entered, and via an email confirmation after purchase. In addition, most shipping software can be set up to send an automatic notification with tracking information when the item ships.

    5. Not enhancing customer service. Customers have questions, and sometimes they want to talk or chat with a live person. During the holidays make sure you have a live chat and/or extended telephone customer service hours. This can make the difference between getting and losing a sale. Accessible and knowledgeable customer service can also ensure repeat business.

    6. Not offering gift-wrapping. This not only makes customers happy by saving time, but it also differentiates you from competitors. Offering free gift-wrapping is an even better incentive to purchase.

    7. Not making returns easy. There's no guarantee that someone will like the gift you send. For online shoppers, it's important to know that if the recipient doesn't want to keep the gift or needs to swap it out, it's easy to return or exchange the item. A recent survey of online shoppers conducted by comScore and UPS ( offers some surprising facts about the importance of online returns:

    • 67% would shop more with an online retailer who offered a hassle-free returns policy.
    • 65% would like free returns shipping options.
    • 53% would like a return label right in the box of the original purchase.

    Make sure you share your return policy on your site and in customer emails. This will alleviate your customers' concerns as well as limiting the amount of customer service inquiries.

    While some of these options require changes to your online store or internal processes, many—such as return labels, tracking, and shipping options—are available through shipping software partners, and can be set up in a matter of minutes. 

    These tips should take the focus off worrying about fulfillment, so you can focus on sales. ShipStation wishes you the best holiday selling season yet!

    About ShipStation 

    ShipStation is the leading web-based shipping software that is built to help online retailers organize and process their orders, while fulfilling and shipping them quickly and easily. With automatic order importing from over 50 shopping carts and marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, Shopify and more, and automation features like custom hierarchical rules and product types, ShipStation helps online retailers ship out their orders from wherever they sell, however they ship. ShipStation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of (Nasdaq: STMP). For more information, visit