November 17, 2016
Like it or not, the holidays are rapidly approaching (or bearing down on us – depending on how stressed you are!) and if you derive some sales during the holiday season then you know how stressful this time of year can be. To try to minimize your stress and maximize your orders, the best thing you can do is make sure you clearly communicate to your customers what your ordering deadlines are.
This goes both for businesses where someone may order and pick up directly from you as well as for orders received that you have to ship though, in the later you also need to take into account shipping transit time in order for your customers to get the product by the holidays.
Remember that this year Hanukkah starts on December 24th – which is a Saturday – which means Christmas is on a Sunday. Depending on the carrier you use for your shipping needs, this may mean that they don’t deliver to residential addresses on Saturdays without a surcharge. Do your homework in advance by visiting your carriers’ website to determine their recommended last days to ship using normal pricing. Ideally, you should convey on your website/Etsy store/other e-commerce platform what those dates are so that consumers can plan accordingly.
Don’t forget to build in time to product, package, and – as needed – get to the post office/FedEx/UPS/other store. Even if you plan on delivering product or having it picked up at your kitchen, you need to calculate into your schedule having enough time to produce the orders that you receive so that they’re ready to be mailed/delivered/picked up as promised. Much better to under promise and over deliver than to miss someone’s holiday deadline because you over committed yourself.
Just like online businesses that ship product, food artisans who will deliver product or have it picked up from them in-person should share their ordering deadline so that customers know when they need to place orders with you by. This ordering deadline should include in enough time for you to purchase ingredients and packaging as well as produce and package the product (and create the invoice as needed).
With a solid plan – that you communicate to customers via your website, social media channels, e-newsletter, in-store signage and any other channels you have available to you – you can help set customers at ease knowing that their order will be received in time for the holidays. And that is great customer service.