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How To Prepare For Black Friday

This guide is for those using the Legacy version of Intuitive Shipping. If you’re using the New version of the app, go here.

Not sure which version you’re using? Find out here.

We want you to crush it this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we strongly encourage you to start preparing your store now. We know that Intuitive Shipping is a mission-critical app. If our servers go down, you cannot make a sale.

We don’t take this lightly.

We’ve invested heavily in Black Friday/ Cyber Monday to set all of our merchants up for success. As this important time of year quickly approaches, we want you to have the confidence that all of your partners are ready to support you.

Ask Questions

Here are a few questions that you can ask all of your third-party apps providers to make sure that they’ve also completed their own BF/ CM preparation.

  • What hosting company do they use? Cloud hosting is key here – shared/VPS hosting does not scale well and has no proper failover.
  • Has a third-party agency reviewed their server architecture? This is critical for any app like ours that directly impacts checkout.
  • If not, do they have a server architect on their team who has reviewed their setup?
  • Will they offer 24/7 support?
  • Have they performed load testing on their servers to ensure they can handle the rush?
  • Are their servers scalable to ensure your customers don’t bounce due to increased loading times? Every second of loading time contributes to customers abandoning their cart.

Not every app requires this much preparation, but it’s best to do your due diligence to ensure you have a successful and worry-free Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Prepare for Flash Sales and High Sales Volumes

If your Black Friday sales strategy includes having a Flash Sale or if you’re expecting a large increase in sales orders, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared. Shopify recommends that you make special preparations if you expect ‘over ten times your usual daily sales within two hours or less.’

Shopify’s third-party App developers, including Intuitive Shipping, are limited by the number of API requests that can be submitted. That means, if you get an unusually high number of checkouts at the same time, it could cause Intuitive Shipping to stop returning shipping rates.

  • If you’re a Shopify Plus merchant, notify your Merchant Success Manager and ask to have the API request limit temporarily increased.

Following these important steps will help ensure that your customers have a smooth checkout and that your sale is a successful one!

Create a Fallback System

If you’re using Live Rates at checkout, not having access to those rates can be devastating to your Black Friday sales. With Intuitive Shipping, you can create a fallback system to ensure that you always have rates available.

Set Up An Alternative Live Rate Shipping Method

At peak times during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, your preferred carrier’s system may be working overtime. That can lead to rate calls timing out or not getting through at all. To ensure that you always have live rates available for your customer, you can set up an alternative Live Rate Shipping Method.

Let’s say you’re using live rates from UPS. You can set up an alternative Shipping Method with another carrier – e.g. FedEx – and have it on standby in the event that UPS rates go down.

Most carriers do not require an account to access Live Rates.

To create an alternative, backup Shipping Method with another carrier:

1) Click the Shipping menu button, then select Scenarios from the drop-down list.

2) Click on one of your existing Shipping Scenarios – the one with your existing Live Rates Shipping Method.

3) In the Scenario Edit screen, click the Duplicate button. This will create an exact copy of the Scenario, including the Shipping Method(s).

4) Change the Title of your Scenario – e.g. ‘Live Rates Backup’

5) Change Visibility to Off.

6) Leave any Conditions and any other settings as-is, then scroll down to the Shipping Methods section.

7) Click Edit beside the Shipping Method that has your live rates.

8) In Calculate Shipping Based On, select a different carrier – e.g. if it was set to UPS, you could select FedEx as your alternative.

9) In the Delivery Methods section, choose how the Delivery Methods you select will be returned. You have three (3) settings to choose from:

Return ALL selected delivery methods – this setting means that all of the selected Delivery Methods that are available to the customer will be displayed at checkout.

Return only the CHEAPEST delivery method – this setting means that only the selected Delivery Method with the lowest cost that is availble to the customer will be displayed at checkout.

Return only the most EXPENSIVE delivery method – this setting means that only the selected Delivery Method with the highest cost that is available to the customer will be displayed at checkout.

10) Check the box beside each Delivery Method you would like returned at checkout.

We recommend selecting Delivery Methods that are the same as or similar to the methods you have in your primary Shipping Method.

Not all Delivery Methods are available to all shipping destinations. Contact your preferred carrier to discuss any restrictions.

11) Leave the Carrier Settings blank, unless you have an existing account with your backup carrier.

When carrier account credentials are left blank, Intuitive Shipping will display the carriers’ standard retail rates at checkout, if available.

11) If the only difference between your primary Shipping Method and your alternative Shipping Method is the carrier, leave all other settings as-is and click Save.

Toggle Between Live Rates Shipping Methods

In the event that rates from the carrier in your primary Shipping Method are not available, you can quickly toggle between them.

1) Click the Shipping menu button, then select Scenarios from the drop-down list.

2) Click on the Scenario that uses your primary Live Rate Shipping Method.

3) Turn Visibility to Off.

4) Click the Save button.

5) Click on the Scenario you created as a backup.

6) Turn Visibility of your backup Scenario to On.

Once you have confirmation that your primary rates are available again, change the Visibility settings of each Scenario back to their original state.

Add Fallback Cost

If you do not want to set up an alternative Live Rate Shipping Method with a backup carrier, the Carrier Service Fallback Rate allows you to set up a flat, fallback shipping rate that is displayed to your customer in the event that the rate request sent to the carrier times out. This typically occurs when the carrier rates are not returned to Intuitive Shipping within six (6) seconds or when carrier rates are down and not responding at all.

When carrier rates are down, we will update our Status page and you will receive a notification within the app.

The Carrier Service Fallback Rate section will only be displayed if you select a carrier in Step 1 of Select The Shipping Calculation Method.

If you do not want a fallback rate to appear, leave this section blank. If blank, and carrier rates time out, the customer will be shown the default error message at checkout.

1) Create a Title for your Fallback Rate – e.g. ‘Standard Shipping’. The title will be displayed only if the Fallback Rate is required.

2) Enter a Service Code for your Fallback Rate – e.g. ‘Fallback’. The service code will only be sent to your Order Notes if the Fallback Rate is required.

3) Enter a Cost for your Fallback Rate. The cost will only be displayed if the Fallback Rate is required.

The Fallback Rate Cost is multiplied by the number of packages required for the customer order.

Let’s say you’ve set up a Fallback Rate of $15.00, and a customer order results in three (3) packages. If the carrier rates time out and the Fallback Rate is required, the customer will be charged $45.00 for shipping at checkout ($15.00 x 3 packages).

Other Settings Impacted by Carrier Service Fallback Rate

If you entered a custom Delivery Time in Step 8 of Add A Shipping Method, that value will also be displayed with your Fallback Rate.

Let’s say you enter a custom Delivery Time of 4 to 6 business days. That is the Delivery Time that will be displayed with your Fallback Rate.

However, if you leave the Delivery Time fields blank and instead select ‘Use The Carrier Delivery Method Times’, no Delivery Times will be displayed if the Fallback Rate is required.

Similarly, if you are combining a custom Delivery Time with the carrier Delivery Time (see Step 9 of Add A Shipping Method), only the custom portion will be displayed if the Fallback Rate is required.

For example, if you enter a Delivery Time of 4 business days and the live rate typically returns a Delivery Time of 1 business day, the Delivery Time will be displayed to the customer as ‘4’ business days’ at checkout instead of ‘5’ because the carrier’s 1 business day is excluded.

If you entered a Description in Step 10 of Add A Shipping Method, that value will also be displayed with your Fallback Rate.

Check Our Status Page

If we become aware of known issues with carrier rates, we’ll post an update on our Status Page. You’ll also get a notification within the app.

Updated on November 12, 2021

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