Christmas shopping can be so hectic--crowded malls, no parking spots, long lines, and traffic--all downfalls to the Christmas season. Most of your customers shop online to avoid some of those extra Holiday stresses and since you have already put a plan in place to gift wrap each package (see our last article on packaging) you are on your way to one happy customer!
The essential, nonnegotiable service you can provide to your customers is to have plenty of items in stock and ship them out in enough time to arrive before Christmas. This one phrase is every online Christmas shoppers nightmare--"the gifts are still in the mail!" No one wants to walk into their mother-in-laws Christmas party empty handed with the line "your gifts are in the mail". In order to meet all these demands and keep your own sanity during this holiday season there are some steps that can be taken in preparation.
First, it is essential to keep an adequate supply during the holidays. Remember--you are not the only one filling orders. Your suppliers are fulfilling orders too! This was a hard lesson I had to learn last year. Many of my suppliers had items on back order because they were just as swamped as I was. This sent me into a mad frenzy to find the supplies I needed to complete my orders on time. Well--you can imagine this is a situation that I want to avoid this year!
In order to keep an adequate supply for Christmas, begin ordering a larger amount of supplies now. For example, instead of placing my normal order for 500 tins this month I order 1000. I do this each time I order giving me ample supply for the holiday season.
I also have "backup" vendors. These are the vendors that might be a little more expensive but can provide the supplies I need in an emergency. I have found at least one backup vendor for each of my supply items. This was a lifesaver last year and I would encourage everyone to have a backup list for the holidays.
So, we have well perfected items, gift wrapped, in stock and ready to go for all of your customers--nothing more to worry about right? Okay well at least we have a good start! Until next week--Happy Shopping!