Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2022: December Cutoff Dates (Last Day to Ship) for USPS, FedEx, UPS, & Ohi
Note:This is a live resource, and the table below will be updated as new information is released.
While the holiday shopping season is unequivocally exciting for many merchants because of the outsized revenue they realize in a short period of time, the spike in orders can strain both merchants and their logistics partners. Therefore, it’s imperative that brands plan their holiday fulfillment and shipping strategy ahead of the holidays to avoid costly supply chain disruptions and shipping delays.
To help e-commerce merchants map out their holiday shipping strategy ahead of the peak season, we’ve put together a live guide highlighting the “last day to ship” for major fulfillment/delivery providers for delivery before December 25, 2022.
Holiday shipping deadlines for Christmas 2022
Here are the last days to ship for on-time delivery by Christmas for USPS, UPS, FedEx, and Ohi’s instant delivery platform. These are for U.S. to U.S. shipping only.
Note: We’ve also included 2021’s cutoffs for reference, as it will be interesting to see how the cutoffs change this year.
At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today
Get Sticky: What is Customer Stickiness and How to Achieve it with Your DTC Brand
Acquiring new customers is only half the battle. You have yet to convert the newly acquired lot into second-time buyers and reduce customer churn.
Once you bag that second purchase, your focus should shift to expanding and increasing these customers’ lifetime value (CLV) even more. And to achieve that, you need to ensure you provide a customer experience so good that they want to stick around – a “sticky” experience.
Jes Kirkwood, a content strategist and storyteller, writes that customer experience is one of the two core pillars of customer retention; the thing is, you can’t grow if your customers don’t stick around.
But what exactly is customer stickiness and how is it related to customer retention and customer loyalty?
What is Customer Stickiness?
To define it simply, customer stickiness is when a customer continues to shop at your e-commerce store because something about your online store compels them to keep coming. It could be free and fast shipping, your product quality, your pricing, pre and post-purchase customer experience, emotional appeal, discounts and promotions, etc.
No one sells cold drinks in cold weather better than Coca Cola. Coke remains one of the best known beverage brands, winning hearts and taste buds since well before the classic Coca-Cola days. The beverage brand has successfully created a sticky brand experience centered around ‘émotional appeal,’ via adverts – and it works well.
How is customer stickiness related to customer loyalty and customer retention?
Customer stickiness is the launching pad for customer loyalty and retention both, because sticky customers are easier to turn into lifetime customers who are loyal to the brand. How do you think Coke managed to create a cult-like customer base?
It’s important to remember however, that customer stickiness is a result of a key benefit or value customers derive from a business – something they can’t get elsewhere.
It focuses on fostering new relationships with customers, while customer loyalty strengthens pre-existing relationships and develops after stickiness.
As for retention, that’s when these customers continue to choose your brand because trying out new products or brands is far too inconvenient.
So, how can you make your DTC brand create a sticky brand experience?
Once you get a customer to go from one purchase to two purchases, you increase their chance of making yet another purchase by 95%. Give these customers a reason to come back and stick to your business with these tried and true ways:
Be proactive about your post-purchase customer experience
A report by Salesforce shows that 80% of customers say the experience provided by a company is as important as the products and services they sell. And 42% said they would break up with a brand because they didn’t get customer support.
This shows just how important a winning post-purchase experience is, especially if you want to increase customer stickiness. Here are a few ways your brand can create a sticky brand experience for shoppers:
a) Customer onboarding
The post-purchase period is a crucial time for you and your customers. It’s the most important step in the customer life-cycle – an opportunity to build relationships with shoppers.
In fact, 88% of buyers in a survey said they’re more likely to remain loyal to a business that provides welcoming, educational onboarding content.
Customers who you’ve rolled out the red carpet for are more likely to continue buying your products in the long haul.
b) Spice it up with fast & free delivery
Fast and free delivery has become an essential component of a winning post-purchase experience. Almost all the major retailers, online and offline, are beginning to add the element of speed to their service. Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, Target, etc. leverage fast and free delivery to make their customers stick around.
Ohi helps its partner brands create a sticky brand experience by enabling them to offer customer-pleasing post-purchase experiences such as sustainable and instant delivery.
c) Keep customers in the know with real-time order tracking & on-brand updates
For many brands, the customer experience journey comes to an end when they make a purchase. That sort of attitude is a no-go in today’s fast-paced e-commerce world. The customer journey doesn’t end following the purchase; it continues with shipping, tracking, product updates, returns, reviews, and other post-purchase services.
d) Simplify the returns & refunds process
IKEA is a great example of a company that offers sticky returns and refunds policies. Shoppers have 365 days to exchange or return their products. This makes for a stellar value proposition, because it’s considerably longer than the usual 60 days.
It, however, may not be possible for every brand to follow in IKEA’s footsteps which is why many, if not most, progressive and forward-looking e-commerce brands these days are offering VIP customers membership-styled return options. They reward high-value, loyal customers with a more personalized and flexible shopping experience to keep them coming back for more.
e) Hear your customers out – ask for post-purchase feedback
Nothing shows your customers they are valuable better than asking for feedback about the product or post-purchase experience and actually taking it to heart.
Customer feedback will help offer you insight into what aspects of your product or service are working well and what aspects require improvements.
Think of unhappy customers as an opportunity. They could just leave you bad reviews on your social media channels, or even worse, anonymously put you on blast all over the place. Instead, invite them to contact you privately to share their experiences, trusting that you are sincere about addressing any concerns.
f) Sustainable e-commerce fulfillment
Did you know that 80% of consumers in a survey said that sustainability is important to them? Meanwhile, about 60% said they want to make a change in their shopping habits to be more sustainable.
While value and ease of purchase are still the main drivers of purchase decisions, sustainability is climbing higher on the list. Consider supporting sustainable e-commerce however you can – from carbon-neutral delivery to even more modest approaches like supporting micro-fulfillment services, as they reduce the amount of fuel that is needed per delivery and minimize the need for wasteful exterior packaging.
Differentiate your unique value proposition (UVP) & be consistent with it
We know that customer stickiness is essentially derived from the transactional value that your customers get from your business or product only — your unique value proposition (UVP).
It highlights a unique benefit or feature that differentiates your online brand from every other business in the industry, showcasing the most compelling reasons why a potential buyer should become a lifetime customer.
Whatever that value is, it’s imperative that everyone on your team knows about it. Your unique value proposition should power your sales and marketing messaging, and unlocking it should be a key point of focus for customer support and success teams.
Take Patagonia for instance. Their UVP isn’t a product or a feature, it’s their reason for existing. And their UVP adds value to their die-hard customers by helping them make a difference.
“We’re in business to save our home planet.”
This UVP distinguishes Patagonia from its competitors by defining it as more than a fashion label. It’s a way of life and a movement committed to making a difference. Patagonia epitomizes a number of its distinguishing features in a single sentence:
Fair Trade Certified Clothing – produced from organic cotton ( free of pesticides, herbicides, and GMO seeds)
An exchange program wherein shoppers can trade-in used equipment for store credit
1% of sales is donated to the restoration and preservation of the planet
What we really love about Patagonia’s UVP is that it doesn’t make the customers feel like they are being shoehorned into purchasing. They understand that together with the business they are making a difference.
Having the ingredients alone isn’t enough; mixing them together thoughtfully is what matters most. Whether you have the best price on the market or a key feature your competitors lack, or something else entirely, reminding customers how you’re different and better will help boost customer stickiness.
If practiced the right way, even a unique flavored syrup created by some pharmacist – yes, Coca Cola – can be turned into a world-beating brand that transcends its category.
Yes, that will eventually grow, too, (pun intended) because the stickier your customer is, the easier they are to retain. By making existing customers stickier you take an important first step toward fostering long-term customer loyalty.
7 Ways E-commerce Businesses can Increase their Average Order Value (AOV)
While it’s important for e-commerce businesses to turn visitors into paying customers, how much a customer purchases per order is similarly important. And that’s why average order value (AOV) is a critical metric to improve in e-commerce.
So, what exactly is Average Order Value (AOV)?
AOV is an important metric that helps e-commerce businesses understand the average dollar amount spent each time a customer places an order on a website or mobile app. It’s determined by dividing the total revenue by the number of orders.
Why is it an important metric to monitor for e-commerce businesses?
AOV is an important metric for e-commerce businesses as it represents an integral component of an online store’s top-line revenue and provides actionable insights into customer behavior.
By measuring AOV, e-commerce businesses can then use a variety of best practices to increase the number and/or value of items per order, driving meaningful improvements to overall e-commerce performance.
Now that we’ve established what AOV is and why optimizing (i.e. increasing) it should be a priority, here are several proven ways to boost your website’s average order value:
1. Deliver “Fast and Free” for orders that meet a minimum spend amount
Free shipping is a tried and true way to entice customers into purchasing. Why not spice it up and offer ‘fast and free’ delivery to boost both conversion rates and AOV?
Many businesses are hesitant to offer free shipping because they think of delivery/fulfillment as a cost, and it doesn’t always seem intuitive to “eat the cost” of shipping. But, that’s exactly why it can make a whole lot of sense to offer “fast and free” delivery, as studies have shown that shoppers don’t want to pay extra for shipping and that fast/reliable shipping is shoppers’ #1 overall consideration when shopping online. By offering “fast and free” delivery, your shoppers can be incentivized to buy at a higher rate and add more to their carts than they normally would, increasing both conversion rates and AOV.
Ujji, a substitute for coffee, offers free 2-hour and same-day delivery with Ohi in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Other brands such as Bathing Culture also offer free 2-hour shipping with Ohi on orders of $50 or more and have seen AOV increase as a result of this tactic.
How to determine the threshold for “fast and free” delivery
You can calculate your cart order minimum using a modal order value or the most common order values. For example, if the majority of your orders are under $35, you could offer free two-hour delivery on orders over $50.
2. Pre & post-purchase upsells & cross-sells
Upselling and cross-selling are tried-and-tested behavioral marketing techniques for increasing average order value (AOV).
Upselling is a technique e-commerce businesses use to persuade their customers into buying an upgrade of the product the customer has added to their cart. Typically, an e-commerce business can do it two ways: (1) offer an upsell pre-purchase, that is, recommend the upsell before customers add the product to their cart. Or, (2) make an offer post-purchase. Many businesses do this via post-purchase emails, which typically have low conversion rates. However, there’s a better way to approach this. Making an offer after checkout — by sandwiching it between checkout and your thank you page — increases the likelihood of your customers accepting it. By utilizing this approach, you mitigate the risk of cart abandonment while still enjoying much of the upside upsells offer.
To optimize even further, you can create a one-click purchase experience for your online store. CartHook enables an easy way for online stores to create post-purchase offers in checkout.
This way, customers are more likely to accept the offer as doing so requires only one click and does not require them to re-enter their payment and shipping info.
In contrast, cross-selling encourages customers to shop for related or complementary products. Similar to a pre and post-purchase upsell, you can offer your customers a pre and post-purchase cross-sell. For instance, if your customer adds a Vitamin C serum to their cart, you can always offer an eye cream to go with it.
Amazon is one of the industry’s biggest users of upsell/cross-sell tactics. Amazon features an entire carousel of related products or products that go well together once you’ve added items to the cart.
3. Provide bundle deals and bulk options
Group relevant products (or items commonly purchased together) as “bundles.” If you want customers to purchase more items, try creating product bundles that cost less than if the same items were purchased individually. Small discounts can entice customers into buying the set. Here’s an example from Dollar shave club.
4. Start a customer loyalty program
A loyalty program is a winning strategy to help build your brand and your share of your wallet. Loyalty programs not only boost customer retention (or loyalty), but they also encourage people to add more items to their carts (increasing AOV) because every additional item added gets them closer to the next reward or tier.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider is one of the best examples of tiered, point-based loyalty programs. Members can win one point for every dollar spent in the store and work their way up the ranks from “insider” to “VIB” to “rouge.”
5. Create limited-time promotions
Limited-time offers work wonders on online shoppers because they create a compelling case for prospects to make a purchase by instilling a sense of urgency.
Understanding this, e-commerce marketers often leverage consumers’ fear of missing out (FOMO), or scarcity marketing, to capture the attention of consumers, get them to load up on products they perceive as rare, driving up AOV. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales work so phenomenally because they stir up FOMO to dramatic effect (e.g. early-morning lines that span several city blocks).
6. Build trust with social proof
89% of consumers worldwide check out reviews before buying a product. (Trustpilot, 2020)
Many customers have grown wary of marketing and instead only give credence to honest, real-life experiences from actual customers.
Social proof – reviews and feedback – has a significant impact on your potential customer’s buying decisions. If your products have received awesome reviews, make sure to showcase them on your store’s website. Doing a great job with customer reviews and social proof can give buyers the confidence they need to skip the obligatory test order (with one unit) — and instead load up their cart, increasing your AOV.
7. Establish a customer-first, flexible return policy
With the intense competition many brands are seeing in the e-commerce space, it’s more important than ever to be as accommodating to your customers as possible. Having a flexible refund policy can help mitigate any serious misgivings potential customers may have about purchasing from you while increasing AOV (by reducing the common fear shoppers have of getting stuck with unwanted merchandise).
Once you’ve set up your customer-friendly return policy, the next step is to ensure that you make it known to your customers. Your purchase confirmation emails, social media accounts, and website banners are some of the best touchpoints to highlight your (AOV-boosting) return policy.
AOV is important, but it’s not the only growth lever
While it’s true that increasing AOV is one of the best ways to boost revenue and profit, it is just one of many important KPI for your online store. It’s crucial that you track and optimize this metric alongside other equally important metrics such as conversion rate, repeat purchase rate, and customer lifetime value (CLV), if you want to maximize the ROI of your growth/marketing efforts.
At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.
The Best D2C Marketing Strategies to Reach Consumers for Direct Buying
Ashley Scorpio, VP of Partnerships at Hawke Media
Now’s the time to start setting the stage for a successful 2022. For direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, you’ll want to map out your marketing strategies to increase conversion rates, deliver an optimal experience, and reach customers for direct buying.
If you’re considering new marketing channels for your D2C business in 2022, there are plenty of avenues to explore. Lifecycle marketing continues to grow in popularity and effectiveness and includes multiple touchpoints to create brand awareness and build customer loyalty. Deploying strategies such as retargeting through social media and email can help increase conversions and reduce cart abandonment, as well. Additionally, segmenting your audience and personalizing your campaigns can help reach your target audience on the nose each time.
Embrace lifecycle marketing
Lifecycle marketing is a strategy that follows prospective customers through every stage of the marketing funnel; from awareness of your brand to consideration, conversion, and becoming a repeat customer. You can use a variety of tactics and touchpoints — such as email, SMS, and social media marketing — to reach customers.
Lead buyers through the funnel
When you create your D2C marketing strategy around lifecycle marketing, you’ll want to implement different tactics at each stage of the funnel. The stages of the marketing funnel are:
You can achieve brand awareness through social media marketing, search engine marketing (paid search), or search engine optimization (SEO), to name just a few tactics and channels. Once you’ve led people to your website, an easy-to-navigate page with clear, visible calls to action can help turn website visitors into customers.
Every D2C website experiences cart abandonment. But there are ways to get those customers back once they’ve navigated away from your website. You can use retargeting tactics to remind customers of what attracted them to your site or products in the first place, entice them with added savings, or show them related products they might be interested in coming back to take a look at.
Retargeting is effective using paid social or paid search methods, but you can also use email marketing to remind your site visitors about the fabulous deals and products they may have left behind. For brands that also have a brick-and-mortar presence in retail stores, you may consider using SMS marketing that is geo-targeted. For instance, if a website visitor has left a pair of boots in their cart and your SMS marketing software can identify their location at a local shoe store, you might send a coupon via SMS to allow them to save money buying the item online and have it shipped directly to their home.
Deliver value with segmented campaigns
While retargeting is a great way to increase conversions and reduce cart abandonment, you can also use it for brand recognition. You’ll want to make sure to capture an email address from every person that visits your website. Then create segmented campaigns to send your site visitors highly targeted emails chock-full of relevant content.
You don’t always have to distribute emails that advertise sales or promotions. Sending targeted emails that relate to topics your market cares about — such as cooking or travel tips — helps build brand loyalty and can give people a reason to visit your website if you promise more of the same helpful and engaging content.
Track your results and do more of what works
Whatever marketing strategies you deploy for success in the new year, you’ll want to track your results. Every D2C digital marketing strategy should include SMART goals that are:
These goals can relate to site visitors, bounce rates, sales figures, or increased conversion rates if you’re looking at website metrics. If you’re engaged in a social media campaign, you may wish to count new followers, likes, engagement, or clicks and sales.
Set a definitive endpoint for your campaign when you’ll measure the results and make changes to improve your numbers for next time.
Stay true to your brand’s vision and purpose
Today’s consumers look for authenticity from the brands they love. Managing a D2C website to target direct buying gives manufacturers a unique opportunity to control the conversation around their brand. You’ll want to ensure that every element of your marketing campaign reflects your core values.
Today’s consumers also care about sustainability. An IBM report revealed that nearly six in 10 consumers said they were willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Roughly 80% of consumers polled said sustainability is important.
Ohi Announces $19 Million Series A Funding Round
Company will use investment to expand to 25 markets across the US to meet increased consumer demand for instant delivery.
Ohi brand partners see significant ROI, including an average 28% increase in conversion and up to 120% higher repeat purchase rates.
NEW YORK–Ohi, the next-generation instant commerce platform that enables brands to meet their customers’ expectations of superfast delivery in under two hours, today announced the completion of a $19 million Series A funding round. Ohi will use the funds to expand its US operations to enable near-instant delivery of everything from CPG products to luxury goods in 25 markets. The funding round was led by Palm Drive Capital, a New York-based venture capital and growth equity fund, with participation from JAM Fund, a Los Angeles–based venture capital firm led by internet entrepreneur Justin Mateen. Health-Ade, SolaWave, and Untuckit are among the beverage, CPG, beauty, and DTC brands using Ohi’s platform to increase conversion, customer satisfaction, and repeat purchases.
“At Ohi, we believe that ‘instant’ is the future of commerce, and we are building a world in which consumers can get anything from their favorite brands in less than an hour,” said Ben Jones, Founder and CEO of Ohi.“COVID-19 has accelerated this shift in consumers’ expectations of immediacy to the point that many now view two-day delivery as unacceptably slow. We want to provide all brands, regardless of size, with a best-in-class instant commerce experience while selling through their own website, allowing them to retain control of their brand story, data, and customer relationships.”
Additional investors in the round included Flybridge Capital; Afore Capital; RiverPark Ventures; Ryder Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Ryder System, Inc.; Peter Rahal, Founder of RXBAR; Edward Shenderovich, Founder of Knotel; and Electric Feel.
Ohi’s network of micro-warehouses enables midmarket DTC and enterprise brands to offer powerful post-purchase experiences from their own websites, with Amazon Prime–level delivery speeds of under two hours. Brands that partner with Ohi realize significant ROI via improved customer satisfaction, an average increase in conversion of 28%, and increases of up to 120% in repeat purchase rates. Consumers who order with Ohi have up to 35% higher LTV for brands than those who choose a UPS/FedEx shipping option.
Ohi’s growing network of micro fulfillment centers has quickly become the go-to solution for brands across the beverage, CPG, and beauty categories, among others. Currently serving New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Ohi will use the new investment to expand throughout the US, with a near-term goal of operating in 25 cities by the end of 2022. Ohi will also use the funding to expand its product offering to include an option for delivery in under 20 minutes.
“In the last year, the e-commerce market has seen significant growth driven mainly by small and medium-sized companies, despite them making up just 32% of the market,” said Nick Hsu, Partner at Palm Drive Capital. “We are starting to see a major shift towards instant delivery play out more broadly across the DTC market space, and Ohi has effectively captured the post-purchase customer experience the same way that Shopify has created a renowned pre-purchase one.”
“It’s no secret that the future is instant,” said Justin Mateen, Principal at JAM Fund. “Ohi has the vision to completely transform the post-purchase space, enabling instant commerce for everyone, everywhere, without depending on large marketplaces. Ohi is led by an inspired and driven leader, and I’m proud to have invested in the team shaping the future of commerce.”
Since closing the funding round in April, Ohi has been building a team of experts from across the e-commerce and fulfillment industries. Russ Griffin, formerly VP of Sales at BigCommerce and ShipStation, joined as CRO; Rodrigo Silveira, a veteran of Dematic and Flexport, joined as Head of Engineering; and Jarrod Lovell, who ran network development at Flexe, joined as Head of Platform. The team has grown to more than 55 people, with many Amazon and Uber alumni filling out the ranks.
Ohi is the leading instant commerce solution for direct-to-consumer brands looking to grow their business by enabling powerful post-purchase experiences. Leveraging its proprietary, data-driven inventory management technology and robust micro warehouse platform to forward position inventory within city centers, Ohi enables brands to offer a premium, environmentally responsible, instant delivery experience to their customers.
About Palm Drive Capital:
Palm Drive Capital is a New York-based venture capital and growth equity fund that invests in leading software and internet companies with a US focus. Since their launch in 2014, they’ve espoused the notion that innovators are everywhere. They also believe that the most successful founders are visionary and principled. Palm Drive has a unique combination of strong Silicon Valley roots and New York financial discipline. In addition to its investments on the West Coast, Palm Drive has a presence in emerging US tech centers including the Northeast, the Midwest, and the South. With backing from top entrepreneurs and institutions, Palm Drive also has an expansive and differentiated network that spans across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.palmdrive.vc.
About JAM Fund:
JAM Fund is a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm investing in visionary founders who are focused on disrupting large spaces, redefining products and services that are core to our lives. For more information, please visit https://justinmateen.com/