Upgrading the Holiday Shopping Experience with Delivery Updates

While planning for holiday typically starts months in advance (now or even earlier) for retailers, most shoppers hold off on purchases until the last minute. Ever-increasing customer expectation and eleventh-hour shopping heightens the need for retailers to assure consumers that their gifts will (hopefully) arrive on time. Here’s why keeping shoppers in the loop about package delivery early and often will promote loyal customers and improve business operations.

Remove arrival date guesswork.

What’s worse than holiday shopping for every single family and friend at the last possible minute? Expecting the packages to arrive just in time, only for them to show up a day too late. All too often, shoppers are left in the dark about their package delivery status, simply hoping that their order will arrive on time.

Adding estimated delivery date (EDD) to product and shopping cart pages can help put customers at ease and narrow down their options in the rush to cross all their loved ones off their list.

In addition to expedited shipping options, retailers can better serve shopper’s last-minute holiday shopping habits by offering clear expected delivery dates up front. Adding estimated delivery date (EDD) to product and shopping cart pages can help put customers at ease and narrow down their options in the rush to cross all their loved ones off their list. At the same time, retailers foster a sense of urgency that will ultimately help increase conversion rates.

Timely notifications foster happy shoppers.

Somewhat surprisingly given that we often hear that consumers are oversaturated with messages, shoppers think that there’s no such thing as too many notifications about their package status. Customers expect to be kept in the loop about their purchase throughout the year, but the holiday season adds extra necessity. Retailers that send consistent package status notifications will help eliminate the stress of not knowing whether their gifts will arrive on time.

Somewhat surprisingly given that we often hear that consumers are oversaturated with messages, shoppers think that there’s no such thing as too many notifications about their package status.

In the worst-case scenario of a package arriving after the promised delivery date, turn this situation into an opportunity to display thoughtful customer support. Retailers should always strive to offer customers a simple, full refund with flexible return options. Beyond returns, retailers that simply learn to communicate the bad news of a delayed package in a more timely manner saw much higher levels of customer satisfaction. This increased transparency gives customers enough knowledge about their package status to decide whether or not they should purchase another gift with an on-time EDD or merely print a picture of the gift and let the recipient know it’s still on the way. If you transform disappointment into delight, you have a better chance of the customer shopping with you again.

Proactive delivery information is good for business.

During the holiday season, “Where Is My Order?” (WISMO) inquiries can generate upwards of 70% of all customer questions. That’s a lot of bandwidth for your customer service team who could be handling more high-value issues instead. Providing a quick and accurate EDD alongside notifications via SMS or email can help retailers combat WISMO questions, especially when considering that online shopping hit an all-time high during last year’s holiday season. In fact, frequent and timely order updates can lead to over a 50% drop in WISMO questions — something that is great for both the shopper and the retailer.


To learn further about how to optimize the post-purchase experience through frequent delivery communication and more, download our ebook, Survive & Thrive Over The Holidays.

Austin is the Marketing intern at Narvar, assisting with content, social media, CRM, and more. He studies at the University of Cincinnati. His marketing dreams were spawned by a love for Taco Bell and how they've transformed their brand over the years.