BFCM and holiday schedule for the Shopify Fulfillment Network

This year, Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) is the weekend over November 27-30, 2020. The Shopify Fulfillment Network team is preparing for a high volume of activity across the network.

Shipping orders to your customers is always the top priority. To account for higher order volumes, certain warehouse services will be paused or reduced during the days before BFCM.

Review the following table to learn the important dates for your business, the Shopify Fulfillment Network, and BFCM.

The important dates for BFCM in 2020.
Date Description
November 2 Last day to submit a new variant for review. Service resumes December 4.
November 9 - December 28 No cycle counts.
November 12 Last day to remove inventory from the Shopify Fulfillment Network. Service resumes on December 21.
November 19 - December 11 Returns processing is paused. Service resumes on December 14.
November 19 - December 11 Special projects are paused. Service resumes on December 14.
November 23 - December 11 Wholesale orders won't be processed. Service resumes on December 14.
November 25 - December 2

Inbound receiving is paused.

November 26 - December 7 Return to Sender (RTS) processing is paused.
November 27 Black Friday
November 30 Cyber Monday

Holiday considerations for the Shopify Fulfillment Network

In addition to the table above, review the following considerations and limitations for the Shopify Fulfillment Network during the BFCM season:

  • Varying shipping carriers - The Shopify Fulfillment Network is carrier agnostic, which means that the shipping carrier chosen for each shipment is based on the least expensive carrier to deliver the package in the intended time frame. Therefore, your shipping rate names should use language that manages customer expectations by accounting for processing time, potential carrier delays, and varying shipping carriers. For more information, refer to Update your shipping rate names.
  • Unavailable services - The following services are unavailable in 2020:

    • gift wrapping
    • pre-paid customs
  • Gift messaging - Gift messages aren't directly supported, but can be added by editing your packing slip template to include gift notes and remove product prices. If you decide to edit your packing slip code, then make sure to schedule a test order ahead of November 2, 2020 to make sure that the changes work.

  • Postcards, flyers, and add-on products - Any additional items added to an order are considered promotional materials, and must be reviewed as a separate variant and approved by the Shopify Fulfillment Network. It's recommended to submit promotional product variants for review ahead November 2, 2020 to allow for receiving of the materials and a test order.

Shipping carrier cut-off dates for holiday delivery

To ensure that your packages are delivered on time for the holiday season (before December 25, 2020), you must ship your package by certain cut-off shipping dates. The Shopify Fulfillment Network will have different cut-off dates than the shipping carriers. The Shopify Fulfillment Network cut-off days will be announced in November, and will most likely be within the week of December 7th.

To learn the current cut-off dates for each individual shipping carrier and service, refer to Holiday shipping dates 2020.

Preparing for BFCM

To ensure that there are no delays in your order processing, review the following best practices.

Inbound transfers

If your inbound transfers don't conform to these guidelines, then you might incur extra costs due to the additional hours needed to process the transfers.

Shipping settings

Store safety and fraud analysis

Note that orders that are opened for fulfillment by the Shopify Fulfillment Network can't be canceled unless Shopify Fulfillment Network support can stop the order before the shipment is shipped. If you don't want a particular order shipped after it's been opened for fulfillment, then contact your Fulfillment Merchant Manager immediately.

Available resources

The standard support resources will be available for merchants during the BFCM holiday season with additional coverage. Refer to the information below to route requests to the appropriate support channel.

Day-to-day needs

For day-to-day needs, such as order fulfillment status, mis-pick notifications, missed injection scans, credit requests, and other general inquiries, contact support at sfn-help@shopify.com. For any mis-shipped orders, contact Shopify Fulfillment Network support and enter urgent as part of the subject line, and submit a replacement order that has a priority processing tag.

  • Regular support hours will be Monday through Friday.
  • Reduced support hours will be available on Saturdays from November 21 - December 5.
  • For quick answers to common questions, review the Shopify Fulfillment Network FAQ page.

Shopify store management

For questions about your Shopify store or account, such as general billing, storefront settings, or customers, contact Shopify Support and a Support Advisor will be able to assist you.

Shipping claims

For claims originating from damages during transit or from lost orders, contact sfn-claims@shopify.com. In the body of your email, you must include the following information:

  • link to the order
  • tracking number
  • description of loss or damage
  • customer first and last name
  • customer phone number (shipping carrier won't process a claim without this)
  • list of impacted products (brief description including the SKU)
  • total product cost
  • shipping cost
  • original packaging including shipping label (required only if the order is damaged, as the carrier might require an inspection and the package must be available for pickup)

Managing customer expectations for fulfillment and delivery

During the BFCM season, there are supply chain realities that should be communicated to customers to help adequately manage their expectations and to help them plan their purchasing. Many shipping carriers update terms of service or suspend delivery timeline guarantees due to heightened volume.

You can use homepage banners, pop-ups, and other pages in your store to highlight some of these considerations. Review the following best practices to ensure that customers have the correct expectations when ordering from your store.

Update your shipping rate names

If you use manual shipping rates, then you can change the names of your shipping rates to set better delivery expectations with your customers. Don't use carrier-specific shipping names, and make sure to include cushions for delivery times, as many shipping carriers historically don't honor typical delivery times during the BFCM season. You can edit your shipping rate names in your shipping settings. For more information, refer to Edit a rate.

Review the following example shipping rate names:

  • Standard Shipping (5 - 7 Days) + 24 hours processing time
  • Standard Shipping (5 - 7 Days) Expect delays due to shipping carrier delays
  • Expedited (3 Days + shipping carrier delays) + 24 hours processing time

Create an FAQ page

Create or update your FAQ page to give your customers extra information about how your store is preparing for BFCM, and what your customers can expect. Consider adding the following information to your FAQ page:

  • explanation of return policies
  • customer service contact information
  • any shipping carrier updates, such as if they suspend their delivery guarantees
  • the last date to order for a shipment to arrive before Christmas

For more information, refer to Add a new webpage to your online store.

Add a homepage banner or pop-ups

You can highlight important information using a banner at the top of your website's homepage, or by displaying it in a pop-up. Consider adding the following messages to your store:

  • The last day to place an order for your package to arrive before Christmas is [X].
  • Due to increased volume and carrier constraints, please allow ample time for delivery.
  • Please note that shipping carriers have suspended delivery timeline guarantees. Leave ample time for order processing and shipping to ensure delivery before intended dates.

BFCM checklist

Review the following checklist items to make sure your business is ready for BFCM with the Shopify Fulfillment Network:

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