5 Steps to a stress-free Christmas this year The festive season is one of the most wonderful times of year – not only because of its gifts and greetings cards, but also because it produces great business opportunities. And as you’ll be only too well aware, this is also one of the most challenging times for businesses. Research shows that in 2020 online sales sky-rocketed by 50% year on year and total spending increased by more than $300 billion compared to 2019. Impressive, huh? Now it’s easy to understand how managing online orders, printing a gift card, or shipping and receiving products might become even more complicated at this time of year. Luckily at Mail Boxes Etc. we know how to handle peak season sales. That’s why we’ve come up with some tips to share with you to avoid any headaches with online orders, shipments, printing or logistics during the festive season and optimise your business while keeping your customers happy!1. Ship in advanceSending and receiving products and gifts is great… except when they don’t arrive on time. Avoiding last-minute logistical nightmares is obviously a key goal, not only to minimise stress but also to keep costs down. Research states that parcels shipped during last year’s festive period, from the week before Cyber Week to 26th December, exceeded capacity by 5% globally. This means that potentially more than 500 million gifts did not reach their final destination before Christmas. That’s why it’s crucial to plan ahead. Considering the longer-than-average delivery times, full warehouses and very busy couriers, it’s essential to identify the right resources to manage your logistics efficiently and help you avoid any difficult situations. Discover our innovative logistics solutions, even at the busiest time of year.2. Get yourself a tracking codeDuring the festive season, logistics and shipping services are under pressure like never before. For this reason, it’s important not only that your packages and orders are delivered on time but also that they arrive at the correct address. So how do you achieve this? Adding a tracking number to your shipments is essential if you want to stay in control, monitor the progress of your shipment in real time and know exactly the day and time of arrival. Your MBE centre provides one code for each parcel, along with tools for easy tracking of your national and international shipments.3. Keep your items safeEach item has unique features that must be considered if you want your parcels to arrive safely and in one piece. According to research from CNBC, in the post-pandemic era consumers are more likely to spend on fitness equipment, home décor and luxury products to improve their home environment and as gifts for others. If you have to ship fragile, unusually shaped or valuable items, you will need packaging that can sustain shocks, while if you have something bulky you will need to find a sufficiently large box or container. There are plenty of solutions to keep your consignments safe – our in-store teams at MBE will pack each item securely using the best materials, including custom boxing where required, while our generous MBE CoverProtect compensation solution offers you peace of mind in the unlikely event of loss or damage in transit. If you plan to ship fragile gifts, luxury products, antiques or artwork, ask our MBE experts for their help and advice on our dedicated solutions.4. Don’t forget online buyersIt’s no secret that customers are rapidly switching from offline to online channels. Research shows that 58% of consumers expected to do more online shopping after the pandemic than before. Over 60% of US customers said they would actually prefer to buy their gifts online rather than in-store.It’s also important to consider that new channels are on the rise. To tackle these new challenges, you should optimise your online presence – especially if you run an e-commerce business. Optimising the management of your online orders and logistics is a key success factor. Be sure to select tools and platforms that allow you to monitor, manage and adjust each aspect easily.5. Think outside the box – literally!The festive season is the perfect time to nurture your relationships with clients, suppliers, key accounts, business partners and employees. Choosing the right way to communicate your brand values and strengthen brand awareness means boosting the probability that your target customers will think of your products or services when they’re ready to buy.When it comes to branded items, you should also think carefully about what’s outside the box. Personalised gadgets, greetings cards, innovative branded packaging solutions and sustainable options put the finishing touches to your seasonal marketing strategy – think of them as an integral part of your brand message.Start thinking about how you can add value to your business with printed materials, samples, gadgets and giveaways. If you need inspiration, just ask our print and marketing experts.