For most Americans, July is about Independence Day, family vacations and warm weather. But for those in the e-commerce business, mid-summer signals something entirely different: the impending arrival of the Christmas shopping season.

While we have several more months before Cyber Monday and holiday madness, the time required to get your sales and shipping plans in place should never be underestimated.

The stakes are higher than ever. In 2018, Cyber Monday sales surged to new highs according to Adobe Insights, with $7.9 billion in transactions in one day – an increase of almost 19.3% over 2017.

And the online holiday frenzy is not just a U.S. phenomenon; shoppers across the globe are buying online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. An analysis of 55 countries by Black-Friday.Global revealed that compared to a regular Friday, users in Greece made 2600% more purchases on Black Friday and user activity in Pakistan was higher by enormous 11,525%.

With these powerful statistics in mind, what can your business do to prepare now for success this holiday season? Check out our upcoming complimentary webinar “How to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Shipping Season” on July 24 from 1-2 p.m. ET led by DHL Customs and shipping expert, Alan Majchrzak, to help your e-commerce business plan for a successful holiday season.

Below are some key topics we will discuss in the webinar to get you started:

1. Get Mobile – Fast

If you haven’t already, you need to develop a strong mobile commerce platform. Last holiday season, m-commerce sales set a host of records, according to Adobe Insights. Transactions on mobile devices were up 55.6% on Cyber Monday 2018 vs. 2017, reaching $2.2 billion in sales.

The point is that you should be working with your web developers now to improve and refine your mobile approach to make it easier to reach shoppers, and to make it easier for those shoppers to become buyers – on their phones and tablets. Your mobile site should be easy to navigate and should make shipping options clear from the outset. Like your website, your mobile site should work seamlessly for international shoppers in your target global markets.

2. Focus on Shipping Strategy

Most online retailers offer free shipping and returns on certain orders, especially during the holidays. To remain competitive, you need to map out your shipping offer now. Will you have a minimum offer for free shipping and returns? And as international opportunities grow, will you offer free shipping to your global customers?

You should design your website and mobile site to explain your shipping offer clearly and up front, and you can broadcast your strategy as part of your marketing and promotions.

Deadlines for holiday shipping need to be explained carefully. Let your customers know when they need to place an order to ensure delivery before the holidays. Deadlines for reaching your international customers will differ from those that apply to your domestic buyers. You need to understand these specific international deadlines and convey them clearly to your customers.

Deadlines should be reiterated through every stage of the online purchase process. An experienced shipping partner can help you identify the 2019 deadlines for specific destinations. Taking action now to understand domestic and global requirements will ensure that you are ready when the shopping rush begins.

Take full advantage of this massive opportunity by making sure you have a solid shipping strategy for the holiday season. How?  Register for our webinar on July 24, where we can address your specific questions on holiday shipping and importing and exports goods.

3. Research Shipping Costs

For your international customers, you need to be clear about possible duties that will be charged at the time of import. If you are just beginning to sell cross-border, do your research now to understand the steps involved.

There are also several resources available to help you understand and prepare for required shipping costs such as the DHL Trade Automation Services (TAS). TAS services include:

  • Landed Cost Calculator: estimate duties, taxes and other import fees so you know the costs upfront
  • Product Compliance: ensure your shipment complies with each country’s import and export regulations
  • Comparison of Landed Costs and Product Compliance: compare charges and compliance rules for up to five exporting countries

Another way to improve your international customer’s experience is to include the duty and taxes in your shipping charges. This way, the shipment will clear quickly and efficiently with no hold up for a duty payment from your customer.

It’s never too early to get your holiday sales and shipping plans in gear. To register for our webinar on how to prepare your business for the holiday shipping season, click here and send your questions in advance to us on Twitter @DHLUS.