|Time Line of Delivery|
From Check out to Delivery
This is my first post to this forum, i have been reading for a while and have learn a lot from everyone who posts.
I'm currently looking to open a store front as a hobby and way to make extra part-time income. The only part of starting out that has me leery is my start-up income and the order processing timeline.
the merchant service i have sought out says it will take 1-2 business days for the money to reach my account. The distributor I've chosen can typically deliver from 3-5days of order.
Because of the start-up budget i have, i will have to wait for the merchant service to deliver the funds to my account before i can continue the process with my distributor. This means that the customer will not receive their package for 5-7 business after they check out at my site.
Typically, would this be considered legitimate to have the customer wait 5-7 business days? also, does anyone have any advice for start-up cash vs juggling the initial ordering process?
Thank you for your time
Depends on which customer you're talking to. Most will be fine with that. I think about a week is considered standard. A few will think that is woefully inadequate, and threaten to spend the rest of their days on earth, trying to drag you into financial ruin, through bad reviews on every review site they can find. ;-)
Seriously, I've found that most people are fine with about a week. After that, you start getting the emails sometimes. But that can be avoided by just being honest up front, on the ones where you know it will be longer, or close to longer. Most reasonable people just want honesty... Not placating. But you will always have the few grumpies that will never be happy no matter what. Suck up, tell them you're sorry and move on.
The issue you have to be mindful of, is not so much the time it takes to get there, but how they react to the 'shipped' notification. Say that you ship using priority. That gives you wiggle room. That will often get there day after next during week days, even if it's across the country. Ground... Much longer. So say you get an order Monday and wait until Friday to ship. Good chance it will still get there Monday on priority. So one week... Most people fine with that. Now say you did the same, but they get the shipping notification that it just went out on Friday, after they ordered Monday... Some people are going to flip out over that. Yes, makes no sense... It will get there in the same time as if you shipped right away and used ground. But people make assumptions, and for some reason the idea that it took 5 days to ship can set some people off... Even if the end result is the same.
Depends what the product is / how the market and competition is.
For most products, unless it's custom or super expensive, I'd be pissed if it doesn't ship right away.
Quicker is always better, but if you can't be quick when starting out, do your best, but try to improve soon.
If the 2 day merchant account delay is a problem, you may consider using paypal, as then the money should hit your paypal account right away. And then maybe you could pay the supplier with a visa/mc from that paypal account.
you should negotiate terms with your supplier, get net thirty days. secondly, get a credit card to pay them with -that will get you thirty days. or find a different supplier.
|For most products, unless it's custom or super expensive, I'd be pissed if it doesn't ship right away. |
That. You need to figure out how to put your customers first, overcome business issues. You know you would not find a 5 day shipping timeline to be acceptable for stuff you buy - neither will your customers.
Thank you for the replies, i do appreciate it. Starting off it is going to be a little rocky, and that's at best case scenario and i start getting a few orders a day right out of the gate. Because it's a new store front and a new business, i do not have credit established so credit cards is what I'll have to rely on at first. After seeing the responses, I'm inclined to juggle the credit card on the smaller orders and get those out ASAP and the larger orders will have to wait until the funds hit my accounts ( larger orders should expect a little longer of a wait i would think and it'll only be a matter of a day or two).
I will also put a clause in my TOCs that explains on orders over X amount will have to wait a day for fund to be validated in order to continue the shipping process.
You know how many chances you get to make a first impression?
You should be clear, don't open until you are able to properly service clients. Call your supplier and ask for any amount of credit. Go to the bank and get a another credit card in your own name. Ask a family member for some cash for a number of months. Do whatever you need to do, and don't be afraid to ask. You take risks on your credit and money, you don't screw around with a mediocre customer experience.
Delivery times are one things I used to crush my competitors when I used to run an online bookstore. I had an order come in at 10:30pm one Friday evening, they were only 20 minute drive from me. I rang their doorbell at 8:30am Saturday morning with their order. Once they get over the 'well, that was kinda creepy' stage, they like the service.
I had orders at 5:00pm (I was working fulltime elsewhere), I'd arrive home, pack up the orders, drive them back into the courier center to make their 8:00 cutoff, and the clients would get their package the next day at 9 am.
Large corporate orders that were within 1 hour drive of me saw their books the same day - I packed them up and delivered them by hand. Corporate admin people get an email from their boss saying 'get me these books, need asap'. They call me, they hand over the books the same day to their boss and look like heroes. You think these people would've bought books from you?
How does your storefront compare to that? Heck, how does Amazon compare to that?
It sounds further like you're dropshipping. Personally, I'm against dropshipping (well, I'm all for it for my competitors). It takes inventory out of your control. I suggest you again figure out what you need to do to maintain your own inventory. Be aware that some of the competitive advantages you have available to you come from finding the right source. Spend some time finding a supplier as close to the original manufacturer as you can. Again, maintaining inventory is crucial.
I'll bore you with another tale I've posted here before. With my old bookstore, timeframe was of the essence (books were needed for deadlines). I'm in country B, all the books came from country A. Clients of bookstores in country A always had the advantage because books got held up at the border.
Here's how I handled a big book launch where everyone had been waiting for this time sensitive book. I opened a receiving location in country A so that location got the books the same time as all the bookstores in country A. I drove to the other country, to the shipping location and was waiting for the courier to arrive with the books the day of. Picked up the books, cleared customs and immigration myself, drove home to where my order boxes were already ready to go. Packed, shipped, then drove back into the courier location in country B and shipped the books the same day. My clients got them the next day.
Now, all my competitors got their books the same day as me. I don't know what they were doing, but it took a day or two to get all the orders out. My clients in country B were yacking the book up on the internet, people in country a were calling my competitors with queries on their books - they were PO'ed that clients in country B already had their time sensitive books when theirs hadn't even been shipped. I remember people were posting online in disbelief, then anger.
that's why you need to reconsider your structure. I'm not the only smarty-pants out there. Start off half-cocked and you'll find clients in short supply. And if you don't have money, then all you've got is the customer service experience.
i appreciate the feedback, i agree totally that customer service is key and it sounds like if i ever need books, your the person I'm going to.
You're correct in the aspect that I'm drop shipping and I've contemplated the inventory issues that you speak of. I don't believe that inventory is going to be a big issue with me though, and when it comes to start up cash, I've put bugs into a couple people ears about investment opportunities if it comes down to it.
The drop shipper I've hooked up with states that a typical delivery is two days, but i added a couple days for worse case scenario. I know i cant rely on the drop shipper to hit the delivery date every time, it's unrealistic.
What i plan to sell doesn't have the next-day necessity like a book or video game release, but i also understand from experience that when i purchase something online i get excited about it and want it now..
I do have personal credit and start up money that should cover what i need to do, i just wanted to pick your brains about it because you guys have the experience and from what i've read in prior threads it takes time to have any type of consistency in people placing orders.
The irony in this post is the "what-if" it happens to be an overnight success.
From here, i'll need to go back through different scenarios of the products i sell and the process i need to take to get that package to them as soon as i can without hindering the credibility of customer service.
thanks again now that i'm done rambling haha.. if anybody has any other experience stories of delivery times, i would enjoy to read the issues they've faced and how they've overcome them.
|I don't believe that inventory is going to be a big issue with me though, |
You got it backwards. It's not will they wait 3 days. It's WHY would they wait 3 days. Your mother loves you - Your customers could care less. And they won't wait three days unless there's something in it for them. If you're struggling with shipping times, I'm suggesting you better have something else going on. I've given you examples of stuff I've done that cost nothing.
Waiting 5-7 days is legit but bad service if customers aren't forewarned. Making customers wait because you don't want to temporarily bankroll the orders is completely unacceptable customer service IMO. When I place an order, unless it's specified otherwise at order time, or some hobbyist stuff where time doesn't matter much, I expect it to ship ASAP.
Here's the problem with delayed shipping...
For instance, just ordered something this week and discovered 2 days later they hadn't even processed the order yet. Needed the stuff before end of week, ordered in plenty of time from local in state biz to get it delivered on time, but thanks to the merchant screwing around I had to get stern and forced him to eat a Saturday shipping charge.
Probably won't order from them again and I'm ordering almost $1K/month in these supplies at the moment.
Lost my biz that quick by screwing around.
Bottom line, be upfront, if your customers will tolerate it, fine.
Most probably won't and will shop with faster ship times IMO.
FWIW, I'm an Amazon Prime guy, like my shipping cheap AND prompt.
Im not sure how your plan would work. You are not suppose to capture funds until you ship the product. So how can you wait until you get the funds from the customer?
Sorry for the delayed response, but i guess that was a false assumption on my part. When I have ordered online in the past, the credit charge appeared within hours on my card. I didn't receive shipping confirmation until a day later, so i thought they charged me before shipment.
In a matter of best practices, capturing the funds after shipment is the route to take? do i wait until the customer receives the product or just when it is in transit?
Like i said prior, the ordering process is the only aspect of ecommerce that seems fuzzy with a grey area. i just want to make sure i'm doing it right.
|In a matter of best practices, capturing the funds after shipment is the route to take? |
I'm pretty sure that it's a Visa requirement that you ship within 24 hours of capture.
Don't ship something before you're certain that you have the money. You must capture before you ship, not the other way around. A credit card authorization is not a guarantee of payment; it can still be declined at capture.
On the other hand, we capture PayPal payments immediately (at order-time, not ship-time). This is so that shoppers can use gift certificates (can't authorize-only a gift certificate).
I placed two orders online last week, both on Monday. One order I received on Wednesday and the other on Saturday. I was a bit annoyed with the second order, and I was getting impatient. It would have been better if the merchant had sent me an email stating that my order had shipped instead of just leaving me in the dark.
I wrote all of this to say, people want quick shipping but a little communication goes a long way.