When customers start placing holiday orders — and especially as deadlines loom — you need all the help you can get in ensuring their purchases arrive safely.
There’s a few ways that orders can go wrong and the last thing you want are unhappy customers.
Here are a few suggestions to share with your customers via a “Tips for Your Holidays Orders” email, landing page, or pop-up on your website.
1. Shared email addresses
If your customer shares the same email address as his or her partner, friend, or child, and your customer orders her gift using it, the surprise will be no more once your email confirmation arrives.
Suggestion: Customers use a work email address, or set up a free one at Live, Yahoo or Gmail purely for holiday gift purchases.
2. Home deliveries
There are very few people who can wait at home all day for a delivery. Even fewer appreciate missing the courier by sheer minutes returning from an errand.
Suggestion: Customers get their gift sent to their work address, or to a friend’s or parent’s address to hold it for them.
3. Where do they live?
Houses and apartments differ wildly in how safe it could be to leave an unattended item. Some of the older houses in our city face directly onto the street, with only a doorstep separating them from the pavement. Other people have small porches while others live up a long driveway. Some apartment blocks have doormen, others an unlocked lobby, and yet others, a door grille with a wall of mailboxes.
Suggestion: Let your customers know whether you’ll leave a card for redelivery, charge for redelivery, and so on.
4. Hotel deliveries
I’ve been caught out on this one. Recently I sent a gift to a woman care of the hotel with “- Guest” beside her name. Unfortunately her partner had made the booking under his name, and since the hotel front desk had no record of her surname, they refused delivery and sent it back to me.
Suggestion: Make sure that your customer confirms that the gift recipient at the hotel has booked the accommodation under his or her name.
5. Hospital deliveries
Unless the patient receiving the gift will be there over several days or weeks, you need overnight, if not same day, delivery. I know of women who have been discharged only 36 hours after giving birth. If you do sell flowers online, it is a great opportunity to up-sell them to a vase. Most hospitals won’t have vases for your friend’s flowers.
Suggestions: Ask your customers to check if the patient is in a private room or has several people sharing the ward; some of them may be allergic to flowers, for example. You may even suggest it would be kinder to wait to send them something once they’re home, giving them something to look forward to.
A wrapped gift in a box from a department store still retains some mystery on Christmas day. Boutique retailers may be more overt with logos and so on. Most companies use branded wrapping paper and/or ribbons, cards and stickers.
Suggestion: Your customer may appreciate plain gift wrapping that will leave your recipient none the wiser.
Do you usually ship your items with the receipt on the outside of the cardboard box, in a plastic sleeve? Inside with the contents? Or do you include brochures or catalogs which list prices?
Suggestion: Ask your customers to tick a gift-version option on your shopping cart so their gifts arrive with no payment details inside. It ruins the surprise when they know how much the customer spent.
8. Credit card statements
If your customer and his partner go through their finances together, seeing “Mary’s Red-Hot Lingerie” or similar on the statement is either a giveaway that she is getting lingerie, the customer’s other partner is getting lingerie, or that, hey, he likes to wear lingerie. None of these results is particularly palatable.
Suggestion: Consider accepting money orders for the holidays.