The holidays are around the corner, and ShipBob is committed to bringing you and your customers joy with streamlined fulfillment this holiday season.

While the labor shortage is real and we have to adapt by increasing incentives and wages for our staff, there are no seasonal cost increases for our services including warehousing fees, but carriers have implemented peak surcharges for domestic shipments that will result in a passthrough, some of which we are absorbing as well.

There are a few things we ask you to keep in mind to have the best holiday fulfillment experience for you and your customers. Below, we cover:

  • ShipBob holiday cutoffs and turnaround times

  • ShipBob SLA extensions

  • Sending inventory this holiday season

  • ShipBob holiday schedule

  • And much more

ShipBob holiday cutoffs and turnaround times

Below is our holiday cutoff schedule for shipments as well as our operations. Our team has been making many strides over the past few months to prepare for peak season, including hiring more on our fulfillment, tech support, and Merchant Care teams.

Domestic shipments

While there is no guarantee for delivery by or on a particular day, the below guidance has been provided by our carriers for domestic delivery by Christmas.

Note: Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below:

Standard

Expedited

Overnight

US Domestic

December 13

December 17

December 22

Here are domestic carrier cutoffs for our most commonly used domestic Ship Options:

Ship Option

Cutoff Date

UPS Surepost and FedEx SmartPost

December 9

UPS Ground

December 15

Fedex Ground

December 15

USPS Priority Mail

December 17

USPS First Class

December 17

International shipments

Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below:

Standard

Expedited

US to International

December 2

December 17

Australia Domestic

December 15

December 17

Canada Domestic

December 15

December 17

UK and Ireland Domestic

December 15

December 17

Inventory receiving cutoff

December 7 is the last day your inventory can arrive at our fulfillment centers to ensure delivery to customers by Christmas via Standard Ground processing. Based on our standard turnaround times, it can take up to 3 days for your inventory to be completely received and stored once it arrives.

Without a Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) filled out accurately and included in each package, we are unable to process your inventory and it will be moved to a status of on hold and incur daily Unidentified Receiving Order (URO) fees.

Kitting cutoff

To plan labor and resources accordingly, we need advance notice to kit and ship during the holiday season. The last day to submit a new kitting request to be considered for Christmas is November 19.

Please request a work order for kitting here with the desired date and details (volume, SKUs, etc.) to schedule the project. Any kitting requests that come in after Black Friday (November 26) will likely not be considered but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

B2B order cutoff

The last day to schedule a B2B order to be processed and shipped before Christmas is December 8. The last day to schedule a donation order is November 19.

Internal inventory transfer order cutoff

The last day to schedule an internal inventory transfer order to be processed before Christmas is November 15.

Sharing your holiday forecast with ShipBob

ShipBob uses forecasting data to scale up our workforce so we can ensure your orders are fulfilled on time. To do so, we rely on you telling us when we can expect to fulfill an order volume that is greater than your typical volume.

If you project a large increase in orders, please fill out the Promotional/Bulk Upload Details form at least 72 hours in advance, especially if you plan on starting promotions earlier than Black Friday this year.

ShipBob SLA extensions

Our facilities will hire hundreds of associates to meet the increased demand of the peak season, however, we expect to receive more orders than can physically be processed within our standard SLAs. As such, we will add extensions to our SLAs (in business days), which will go into effect starting on Black Friday (November 26) and remain in effect until November 30.

The SLA extension applies to standard fulfillment for outbound B2C shipments, B2B orders, and kitting. The outbound fulfillment extension does not apply to expedited orders. All Expedited, Overnight, Amazon, Walmart, and ShipBob 2-Day orders will continue to be prioritized and fulfilled the same day as long as the order is imported pre-noon local time.

Please note: This temporary SLA extension does not impact any of our 2021 holiday shipping cutoffs listed above.

Sending inventory this holiday season

We are expecting there to be continued delays across ports with greater amounts of containers being transported. We strongly recommend you order inventory from your manufacturer much earlier for the remainder of the year. Please read the info below on how to send inventory to ShipBob in advance of the holidays.

Reminder: Without a WRO filled out accurately and included in each package, we are unable to process your inventory and it will be moved to a status of on hold and incur daily URO fees.

ShipBob’s fulfillment center scheduling appointment tool

We require that you create an OpenDock account to manage appointments easily and to schedule an appointment for any inventory drop-offs or outbound pickups. Note: We reserve the right to refuse deliveries if no appointment is scheduled. For an explanation on how to create, cancel, and edit appointments, please refer to this Help Center article.

WRO dropoff policy

As per our COVID-19 policies, individuals will NOT be allowed to drop off inventory at any of our fulfillment centers. You are still able to send us inventory, but it must be from an authorized carrier. UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and other trucking companies and LTL/FTL carriers that meet our dock height requirements and can be offloaded from our dock.

ShipBob holiday schedule

Our ShipBob fulfillment centers will observe the holidays below and be CLOSED on the following dates:

  • Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 25

  • Christmas: Saturday, December 25

  • New Year's Day: Saturday, January 1

  • Boxing Day: Sunday, December 26 (Ottawa, Canada only) and Tuesday, December 28 (Feltham/Heywood, UK only)

  • St. Stephen's Day: Sunday, December 26 (Kilkenny, Ireland only)

Notes:

  • ShipBob’s Merchant Care team will be mostly off on both Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31) with limited phone support on those days (chat and email will be available).

  • Our fulfillment centers will close early on Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31).

  • The last full day of normal carrier operations before the Christmas holiday will be December 23. We will resume normal operations on December 27.

  • The last full day of normal carrier operations before the New Year holiday will be December 30. We will resume normal operations on January 3.

Tracking packages

As a reminder, our carriers do NOT scan packages at our facilities upon pickup. However, ShipBob has internal processes to monitor package status to ensure carrier pickup.

During the holidays, our carriers experience an increase in volume that can cause a delay in tracking scans and updates, especially USPS Media Mail. We highly encourage our clients to consider alternatives to USPS Media Mail during the holiday season as it is a subsidized service and therefore takes the lowest priority in the USPS network. When the network is very busy, you may see transit delays in excess of 3 weeks with the Media Mail service.

Because lost or damaged packages can happen while in our carriers' hands, we have an insurance policy that will reimburse you up to $100 of the retail value when you fill out this form, email claims@shipbob.com, and provide the proper documentation based on the claim type.

Setting tariffs for international shipping

If you ship internationally, you must add tariff codes at the product-level to improve deliverability and prevent issues at customs. If this information is missing, international orders will be put on-hold and not fulfilled until resolved.

You can update your products individually or in bulk. We highly recommend that you update all customs-related fields for each of your products to avoid international orders getting held up, including:

  • Tariff Code (valid HS code is 6-10 digits, not including periods)

  • Value (cannot be 0)

  • Description

  • Weight (Basic Product Information panel)

Learn how to add tariff codes via the Customs Information Panel of the Product Details page here.

Preparing for returns

For each inventory item, you can set a default action for returned items: we can restock, quarantine, dispose, or inspect a return. If you need to add inspection steps to products, there will be an additional per-touch fee. If you have more complex return steps you would like us to complete upon arrival, please reach out to your Merchant Success Manager or our Merchant Care team at support@shipbob.com. Learn more about our returns process here.

Adding gift notes to orders

New from last holiday season, ShipBob now lets you add gift notes to order (including for your customers to do at checkout when giving gifts). Learn more here.


Getting in touch with ShipBob

We remain committed to providing fast response times this season. While we do offer phone support, the best way to get in touch with us is by logging into your dashboard and selecting the Chat option or submitting an email ticket to support@shipbob.com.

To file a claim for lost or damaged orders, you can email claims@shipbob.com. All tickets are responded to in the order in which they are received. Our average turnaround time is one business day or less.

Our regular support hours are currently 9:00 am - 5:00 pm CST Monday-Friday, but as of October 1, we will be expanding our chat and email support hours to 6:00 am - 6:00 pm CST, 7 days a week to better serve our merchants. Our phone support will remain from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm CST Monday-Friday at (312) 313-1104. We can still be reached outside of these times by emailing support@shipbob.com.

For any questions, please contact your Merchant Success Manager or ShipBob’s Merchant Care team.

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