With the holiday shopping frenzy beginning earlier each year (yes, we're talking about those Black Friday sales in October), one thing remains constant: all packages must be delivered before the holiday arrives.
Read on for a breakdown of key dates to remember to ensure that packages reach their destination well before the holiday arrives. Plus, gain some handy tips to help you sail through the holiday season without breaking a sweat (or a bauble).
Here's a sneak peak at what's we'll be covering:
- USPS holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- USPS Christmas deadlines for shipping to military destinations
- FedEx holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- UPS holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- Shipping deadlines for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
- Tips to help you this holiday season
2023 holiday season: carrier deadlines
No matter which holiday your customers are celebrating, whether it's Hanukkah (December 7 - 15), Christmas (December 25), Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1), or any other special occasion, being aware of the shipping deadlines for this year can help ensure that their gifts arrive in time for the festivities.
It is also important to note that while Hanukkah and Kwanzaa span over multiple days, Christmas is a one-day event. This means that even the slightest delay in delivery could have a significant impact on your customer's Christmas celebration, and could potentially affect your reviews as well.
USPS holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- USPS Ground Advantage: Dec. 16 (Dec. 16 for AK / Dec. 16 for HI)
- USPS First-Class Mail: Dec. 16 (Dec. 16 for AK / Dec. 16 for HI)
- USPS Priority Mail: Dec. 18 (Dec. 18 for AK / Dec. 16 for HI)
- USPS Priority Mail Express: Dec. 20 (Dec. 20 for AK / Dec. 20 for HI)
USPS Christmas deadlines for shipping to military destinations
For those that are sending holiday packages to Air or Army Post Offices, Fleet Post Offices or Diplomatic Post Offices, here are the shipping deadlines to ensure those packages arrive in time:
- USPS Ground Advantage: Nov. 6
- USPS First-Class Mail: Dec. 9
- USPS Priority Mail: Dec. 9
- Priority Mail Express Military Service: Dec. 15
Quick note about Priority Mail Express Military Service: it is not available for APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 093.
FedEx holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- Ground Economy: Dec. 13
- Express Saver: Dec. 19
- Express 2Day: Dec. 20
- SameDay: Dec. 22
UPS holiday deadlines for delivery before December 25
- UPS Ground: Check the website - http://ups.com/ctc - for deadlines
- UPS 3 Day Select: Dec. 19
- UPS 2nd Day Air: Dec. 20
- UPS Next Day Air: Dec. 21
Shipping deadlines for Hanukkah & Kwanzaa in 2023
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins on December 7 and ends on December 15 this year. It offers a unique advantage during the holiday season as it is less affected by the Christmas shipping rush. By providing the expected delivery dates for your shipping options, you can help your customers make the best shipping choice for their Hanukkah shipping needs.
Kwanzaa this year starts on December 26 and ends on January 1. So, if you want your package to be delivered before Kwanzaa, you can use the shipping deadlines above. Or, if you don't mind your gifts arriving on December 26 or later, you can use the expected delivery dates to pick the perfect shipping option for you.
Tips to help you this season
The holiday season is not only a lucrative time for businesses, but it is also a period where things can easily go wrong, resulting in negative reviews. It is crucial to prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure that orders are delivered on time, so that no one is left without their gift. To assist you in this endeavor, we have compiled a list of tips to make this season merry and bright.
Add a buffer
To reduce unnecessary stress and headaches during the holiday season, it's wise to include a buffer when communicating shipping deadlines to your customers. By incorporating a buffer, you can guarantee that the promised packages will arrive on time, bringing joy to your customers' holiday celebrations.
Evaluate last year to plan for this year
To ensure that you don't underestimate delivery times, it's important to consider past trends and anticipate the level of order fulfillment activity your team will experience in the days leading up to December 25. By doing so, you can determine the optimal expected delivery date to share with your customers and avoid any potential delays.
Mark the cutoff date and time for holiday delivery
To effectively plan for this holiday season, it's valuable to consider the previous years' warehouse and team activity. This will allow you to calculate the time it takes to fulfill an order and determine when you should notify customers that their package might not arrive in time. Additionally, running corresponding promotions can inform potential customers of the expected timeframe for delivery. For example, sending out engaging email campaigns like "Only 2 Days Left to Receive Your Holiday Gift" can prompt action and serve as a gentle reminder to individuals who may be overwhelmed by the holiday season and end-of-year activities.
Pivot to gift cards or run a "treat yourself" promotion after holiday shipping deadlines
Even though packages will no longer arrive in time for the holidays, there are still opportunities to boost sales before the festivities begin. Take advantage of the post-deadline period by running two enticing promotions:
1. Promote digital gift cards to your email subscribers and website visitors, offering a convenient solution for last-minute shoppers to find the perfect gift just in time for the holiday.
2. Run a promotion that encourages customers to treat themselves instead of buying gifts for others. Pair this with a tempting sale to entice individuals to indulge in some well-deserved self-care.
Remember, there are always creative ways to keep the holiday sales momentum going, even if shipping deadlines have passed.
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Remember: Nothing Is Guaranteed
The deadlines in this blog are the carriers' recommendations and do not account for storms and other challenges that might arise during peak season. By shipping out earlier, you can avoid any potential mishaps.