Holiday Shipping Cutoff Usability

The holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and while there’s still plenty of time for online shoppers to receive their orders by Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa), not receiving an order on time is a concern for consumers. Great online stores ease the fears by providing holiday shipping cutoff dates and making this information easy to find on home pages and product pages. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Bed Bath and Beyond

Tagline: “Holiday Shipping Cutoff Dates”

Bed Bath and Beyond dedicates some central home page real estate to its holiday shipping information:

Bed Bath and Beyond Screenshot

And it’s not limited to just Christmas, either:

Bed Bath and Beyond Shipping Schedule

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10 Responses to “Holiday Shipping Cutoff Usability”

  1. eCopt says:

    Linda,

    Absolutely awesome!! These are some of the best examples of holiday usability I have seen this year. Very helpful to shoppers, makes customer service a breeze, good all around business practice.

    My only thought is that perhaps a system like this may be difficult for just anybody to implement, unless it came “out of the box” on the merchants platform or was offered as a module of some sort.

    It’s great for the big guys, and certainly is useful for any eCommerce site, but may require technical “savvy-ness” or programming abilities.

    Do you know of any standalone systems that do this?

  2. @ eCopt,

    Love your enthusiasm ;)

    I think this should be fairly easy for anyone to implement as it can be added to the shipping info page and highlighted on the home page – it would take some communication with the shipping company to establish deadlines, then some organization of the information into a table which can be added to your shipping page or created as a new page.

    Then the graphic designer makes a tweak to the home page design to showcase the link.

    I guess it helps in a time crunch to be on a content-management system for non-techie ecommerce managers unless you have your own in-house webbies.

    I imagine Domestications’ map was a bit of work but I don’t think the ecommerce platform is a barrier to doing this as long as it’s its own content page.

  3. KCorreia says:

    Fabulous article! A good review of what I call ‘seasonal usability’. Still surprises me that there are big branded sites out there (generating quite a bit of business) with shipping rates and policies hidden in Help content pages, or homepage banners are hidden below the fold! So annoying! The more obvious the message to the customer, earlier in the journey, the more likely they will convert. I really liked BestBuy’s ‘Easy Gift Return’ – they are really making it easy for the customer to purchase fearlessly! Thanks for the piece!

  4. @KCorreia,

    Thanks for your comment. I wonder if as we get closer to Christmas, more sites make this information prominent.

    Another surprise – Amazon’s US site now shows “8 days left to order to get FREE super saver shipping” (as opposed to what it says in the screenshot above)

    But the Canadian site doesn’t show this at all.

    Another head-scratcher.

  5. [...] The Canadian site is also missing an important holiday usability reminder – shipping deadlines: [...]

  6. [...] var addthis_pub = ‘hotwheel’; At the end of November, I posted about online retailers showing holiday shipping cutoff dates on their home pages. Now more than two weeks later, and with just over a week left before [...]

  7. [...] Plan your shipping offers in advance, make sure your website communicates shipping deadlines clearly on every page of your site. If you can, plan to offer a better shipping offer for the last [...]

  8. [...] email, you can use this for low-stocked items sitting in an abandoned cart. • Detailed post on shipping cutoff dates. • Store locator usability examples and [...]

  9. [...] email, you can use this for low-stocked items sitting in an abandoned cart. • Detailed post on shipping cutoff dates. • Store locator usability examples and [...]

  10. [...] significant homepage real estate to the free-shipping offer, including delivery date cutoff times as the holidays draw nearer, in addition to banners at the top of each individual Web [...]

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