The Holiday Shipping Deadlines you Need to Meet In 2018

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes | 8 min read

If your brand’s mission this Christmas is to delight your customers (and it should be), there are a number of holiday shipping deadlines you need to plan for.

As more and more products are bought online, there’s more strain put on traditional delivery methods. Therefore, it’s important that you know the shipping deadlines for each and every holiday.

There’s an extra deadline if you’re using custom packaging for your products. You need your custom packaging in-hand before you participate in any holiday marketing campaigns.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • When to order your branded packaging to be ready for the Christmas rush,
  • The holiday shipping deadlines for Q4 2018 holidays,
  • Unique ways to participate in those dates,
  • Frequently asked questions for Q4 2018

2018 christmas timeline

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Getting ready for the Christmas period

The Christmas period is crazy for anyone in the world of ecommerce or traditional retail. You need to:

  • Plan a marketing campaign
  • Purchase product packaging & other consumables
  • Source product
  • Decide which holidays to be a part of
  • Organise shipping

...and all this needs to be done sometime in September. Why?

Because the ‘business’ end of the season starts with the lead up to Halloween at the end of October! Take a look below to see how to plan for Halloween and other popular events around Christmas and their shipping deadlines.

Important holiday shipping deadlines for 2018

31 October - Halloween

This holiday is usually the dam wall that holds back the Christmas onslaught. Predominantly an American holiday, it’s growing in popularity all over the worldIt’s also a good holiday for your brand to leverage in order to get your name out before the Christmas rush. Spooky-themed flash sales are a good way to do this.

halloween boxes

Pro Tip: Order as little as 30 pieces of Halloween-themed custom packaging. Click here to see how.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for a Halloween sale? Order by: October 5th, 2018

2 November – Holiday Shopping Starts

This is the time of year when the big retailers start to go hard. Advertising material starts to appear and window shoppers start to do their thing. This is the best time for you to start bringing attention to your own brand and converting the early birds into customers.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging by November 2? Order by: October 8th, 2018

11 November – Singles’ Day in China

For many Western countries, this date is a day of remembrance. But for many Asian cultures, it’s a day to celebrate people without a significant other - singles. China, in particular, celebrates November 11 with gifts and celebrations for those without a partner. In 2016, the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, set a new Single’s Day record of grossing approximately £14.2b in just 24 hours!

single day in china

So how can you benefit from this?

With many Asian communities all over the world, your brand can be a part of these festivities by offering ‘single’s day discounts’Who knows, this trend may eventually catch up with the rest of the world!

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Singles’ day? Order by: October 16th, 2018

22 November – Grey Thursday

Grey Thursday is a bit of an interesting one. The last day before Black Friday is a good time to get in early with a soft launch. Use time and get in front of people before the explosion and drama associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging by Grey Thursday? Order by: October 30th, 2018

23 November – Black Friday

Like most American events, this one has quickly caught on globally. In 2016, Black Friday hauled in a massive £1.23bn in the United Kingdom. Not bad for an American holiday. Consumers love a bargain and this is the day for that. So much so that Adobe has predicted 11% growth of the event year over year. It should be blatantly obvious that this is the day you go hard with your sales.

Pull out all the stops for your Black Friday ecommerce marketing, and get your brand seen today. Not only discounts but freebies like shipping and social media competitions.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Black Friday? Order by: October 30th, 2018

holiday packaging

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26 November – Cyber Monday

Traditionally, Black Friday has been the day for sales, both retail and online. But with online retailers feeling a little left out, Cyber Monday was born. Well planned Cyber Monday Marketing gets eyes on your discounts and flash sales. This usually means Cyber Monday is all about urgency, cross-platform purchasing and invoking a sense of missing out.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging by Cyber Monday? Order by: October 31st, 2018

27 November – Retargeting Tuesday

If retargeting Tuesday is a new one to you, don’t feel shocked. It’s new and gaining more traction due to advances in marketing technology. The premise is to retarget your potential customers didn’t complete their transactions on your website from the preceding popular shopping days i.e. Black Friday and Cyber Monday

This is a great strategy to cut down on abandoned carts and keep the cash flowing.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Retargeting Tuesday? Order by: November 1st, 2018

1 December – Small Business Saturday

Small businesses are the backbone of any thriving economy. Consumers know that and are more often than not, loyal to ‘ma and pa brands’ in their local area. This is just one more reason why retailers of all shapes and sizes need to have an online presence.

If you fit the description of a small retailer, today is a day where eyes will turn to you. With local media outlets usually getting in on the action, it’s a great chance to use tradition PR to get seen.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Small Business Saturday? Order by: November 6th, 2018

small shop

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6 December – Saint Nicholas’ Day

This day, dedicated to the traditional form of Santa Claus, is an interesting day on your calendar. It marks the official start of holiday shopping in Europe. Be sure to have your Christmas campaign up and running by today.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for by St Nicholas day? Order by: November 12th, 2018

10 December – Green Monday

Back in 2007, eBay experienced their busiest online shopping day ever and decided to give it a name - Green Monday. Ever since then, the second Monday of the month of December has proved to be one of the busiest and highest grossing dates for most e-commerce stores.

The surge in sales can mostly be attributed to online shoppers who want to receive their purchases before Christmas.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Green Monday? Order by: November 15th, 2018

14 December – Free Shipping Day

Free shipping day is pretty self-explanatory - a day where the retailer offers free shipping to that last minute buyers get their gifts in time. With shipping costs being one of the highest causes of abandoned carts, offering free shipping is guaranteed to drive your conversions sky-high.

Shipping deadline:
want your custom packaging for Free Shipping Day? Order by: November 19th, 2018

15 – 16 December – Last Weekend before Christmas

Just like Green Monday and Free Shipping Day, the last weekend before Christmas presents a good opportunity to increase your marketing efforts. Target (or retarget) those warm leads that didn’t complete their transactions on your website recently.

You can do this through a combination of personalized email marketing messages and online retargeting strategies.

Enhance your customers’ unboxing experience this Christmas. 

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21 December – Friday, final call for courier delivery

As the name suggests, this date should act as a final call to prospects that didn’t check out their products on your website. Sending them a friendly reminder to complete their transactions and probably include a discount could be the little difference needed to convert that prospect into a paying customer.

And if your e-commerce strategy is effective, you might even get away with offering an upsell that could help you generate even more revenue.

22 December – Panic Saturday

This is the last Saturday before Christmas and just like the name of the date suggests, it drives a lot of shoppers into a “Panic” state. Those who haven’t bought the perfect gift will be more frantic and those who have already ordered will anxiously be waiting for their products to be delivered.

If you’re in retail, you’re in luck as your store will more than likely be flooded. Be sure to have the stock on hand to keep up with demand! If you’re an online retailer, it may be a bit too late to get purchases to your customer in time. You can, however, still keep the cash flowing by offering online vouchers for your web store.

Note: After today, holiday shipping deadlines are all but done. Unless you send your product express overnight, you may not get a package to a customer before Christmas eve.

24-26 December – Christmas

This is the big moment you’ve been waiting for. Holiday shipping deadlines are gone - no more panic or stress about getting products delivered. It’s time for some down time with your family and friends. This is when all the products you’ve been selling to your customers begin to have real value – they get to be given as gifts.

Nevertheless, just as your customers want to spend Christmas with their loved ones, so will you and your team. So, by setting up your e-commerce strategy in place, you and your team will be prepared for this date.

Packhelp Christmas FAQs

When should I order my packaging to be ready for Christmas?

In order to have your packaging before the start of December (when Christmas shopping usually starts), we have our own holiday shipping deadline - You need to order your packaging by November 2nd

Due to higher production volumes in the lead up to Christmas, there are some factors that may increase the turnaround time. While a delay of more than 24 hours is uncommon, history has shown us that the biggest delay comes in terms of delivery - an increased demand on courier services means that shipping times may blow out. This is something that unfortunately is out of our hands.

Order your branded boxes today and avoid the rush. Start designing.

What is the minimum size of an order?

The minimal size of an order for boxes designed in the box editor is always 30 pieces. In the case of non-standard orders, the minimum size of an order will always be fractionally more. For more info contact us.

Do orders take longer to process during the holidays?

Sometimes. We do everything we possibly can to complete all orders in 21 days, but please keep in mind that during holiday season volumes increase significantly. Our factories operate 24/7, but it is very likely that freight transporters will extend their delivery deadlines.

How can I be sure that my order will be delivered by the day I need it?

Start planning your holiday packaging today, and keep up with our recommended timeline. It is also very crucial to prepare your artwork ahead of time so we can be sure that it is properly formatted for manufacturing.

Is it possible to speed up my order?

Yes, that is a possibility but it does depend on a number of things. Please contact us for more information.

Can I change the quantity of the order?

If the order has not been paid – yes, you can. If your order has been paid for, you can order additional boxes using the same design. You can simply repeat your order or contact us to order more boxes.

This Christmas, post your products in branded mailing boxes. Click here to get started.

How can I check the status of my parcel?

The status of your parcel can be checked via the order number. You receive such number in a mail confirming that your order is ready for shipping. You will also find a direct link to the courier company, which will handle your shipping. However, you can also ask us (if so, please provide us with your order number).

Will I receive a confirmation that my boxes have been sent?

Yes! After placing an order with us, you will receive three emails:

  • Order confirmation
  • Confirmation of payment registration and;
  • Confirmation that your boxes have been produced.

The last email will contain information about the shipment, including the number of the shipping document.

I can't find the costs of shipping anywhere on the website, why is that?

As of January 15 2018, we have introduced a free shipping policy to all countries of the European Union (if you’re in Ceuta, Melilla, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Cyprus or Malta, please contact us before placing an order). The only cost is the cost of your boxes.

Do you ship abroad?

Yes. Shipping to EU countries is taken care via our online app. However, in the case of some territories (Cyprus, Malta, Canary islands, Ceuta, Melilla) contact us before placing an order.

There is also a chance that you will be charged a customs fee by the courier. In cases like this, our customer service department will contact you.

If you are interested in delivery outside the EU, drop us a line as well!

Make your brand standout this Christmas with custom product packaging. Start designing.

Over to you

Now you know the holiday shipping deadlines for 2018, it's time to get working on your Christmas campaign.

Remember that a successful Christmas campaign is about:

  • Satisfying your customers
  • Making your brand memorable
  • Getting them to come back to you in the New Year

And a well design custom box can help your brand do all that.

Head to the Packhelp store to see all the packaging options available for your products. Put your logo on a box and have as little as 30 delivered to you for free, all for as little as €0.26 per piece!

Start designing your branded packaging now!


About the author:

Phil Forbes is a content writer and SEO guru from Melbourne, Australia. When he's not creating content for Packehlp and getting in front of millions, he's fiddling with his blog Expats Poland or helping Australian Football take off in Poland at Futbol Australijski.

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