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The Christmas Procrastinators
Every year, same thing
dpd1




msg:4399505
 9:20 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Last year I killed myself to try and get people their stuff in time, and basically got to have no holiday myself. This year it's even worse. In fact, the last couple weeks were fairly slow, and I was thinking... Yeah, just wait... I know what's coming. Sure enough... Slammed all weekend and this morning... Here they come... The "I'll get this before Christmas, right?" orders.

I've worked the last three weeks straight, including weekends. This year I'm putting my foot down. A lot of these people aren't getting their stuff in time. A person can only do so much. I think even Amazon is making today their guaranteed deadline. How can I possibly do better than them.

 

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4399507
 9:24 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

> think even Amazon is making today their guaranteed deadline

yes, I'm buying from Canada to family in the UK and it says on their site today is the deadline.

As an e-commerce person, surely it's a nice problem to have though?

wheel




msg:4399517
 9:32 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

You want their sales next year or not? This is an opportunity, all you have to do is put in some hours. How hard is that?

My first online business, one of the pillars of my success was delivering product blazingly fast to people that wanted them on time - up against large retailers who didn't give a crap if people got their stuff on time. And customers noticed - people posted about it on forums. I got new and repeat sales from it.

And sometimes it wasn't even urgent, they just wanted it. I had some large corporate clients locally. The president tells the admin assistant 'get me these products'. Admin assistance calls in an order. I drive in the order that very day to their place of business. Admin assistant drops them on president's desk the very same day. How do you think that makes the admin assistant look? And who are they ordering from next time? How can you even compete against that?

In my existing business I have to call people back. But I've got comments about how I called back promptly and my local competitors did not. People nervous about buying online bought from me because they couldn't get prompt service from their neighbors. Maybe their neighbors were putting their foot down or busy with other customers.

Geesh people - if you have the opportunity to make money just by working a bit harder than the next person, DO IT!

jecasc




msg:4399524
 10:08 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am so swamped in all those last minute orders this year I can hardly find time for anything else.

That's why I am doing most of my christmas shopping today online. I hope it will arrive in time. (Actually I am not kidding here.)

I do everything to guarantee delivery in time for my customers. In fact I have been upgrading several orders to express shipping only to guarantee delivery in time. If I have a 500 EUR order to Italy that is supposed to arrive before christmas I can:

- tell the customer it probably won't arrive in time, meaning he cancels the order

- take my chances with normal priority shipping and risk the order arrives late and he'll send it back.

- invest 50 EUR in express delivery, earn less but at least some money and have a happy customer.

[edited by: jecasc at 10:13 pm (utc) on Dec 19, 2011]

Leosghost




msg:4399525
 10:08 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

^^^ what wheel said..+1..

wheel




msg:4399534
 10:49 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was informed today that my Christmas gift will be a picture of something that I will receive when it finally gets here.

Wheel sad :(.

Trucker




msg:4399538
 10:56 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am so glad that our products don't live in the realm of everyday retail Christmas gift stuff. December is actually our slow month.

Marshall




msg:4399574
 2:05 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just remember - a happy customer is a [potential] return customer.

That being said, look at some of the crazy hours malls are open now: 6:00am to midnight. I live in Pennsylvania and remember the old "PA Blue Laws" which prohibited malls and such from being open on Sundays or past certain hours. Think what effect that would have today on businesses.

Marshall

dpd1




msg:4399587
 3:08 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh Wheel, please... I haven't had a vacation in three years. I work most weekends. I worked until midnight the last three nights. I worked on average until 10 the last three weeks. Give me a break. Sales are great, but not if you're dead.

I've told some people it's not going to happen. I haven't been yelled at so far, but there's still plenty of time for that. I've ordered some stuff myself as well, but I don't assume it will get here in time. If it does, fine. But after spending all day driving around in crazy traffic picking up parts, and still hours of work to go... I decided a certain web biz owner is definitely ordering himself a new PS3 bundle tonight. He deserves it.

Planet13




msg:4399622
 7:48 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ dpd1:

I would just kindly suggest that you make it clear to people before they place their order that their items won't arrive in time for Christmas.

In fact (and I DIDN'T do this but should have), it would probably be a good idea to put a note on the web site around three weeks or so in advance of the Christmas deadline stating when it is (maybe have a countdown clock or something).

I think that would have encouraged "browsers" to become shoppers a little earlier. Plus I think that it also shows that you respect YOUR time, and by respecting your own time, other people will respect your time, too...

On the other hand, providing EXCEPTIONAL customer service as wheel suggested sure does pay off, too.

piatkow




msg:4399657
 9:49 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

The deadline for Amazon UK is simply the deadline for postal delivery. As always fulfillment is the limiting factor.

wheel




msg:4399663
 10:27 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I haven't had a vacation in three years. I work most weekends. I worked until midnight the last three nights. I worked on average until 10 the last three weeks. Give me a break. Sales are great, but not if you're dead.

You worked until 10 the last three weeks? Holy cow, stop the presses.

When someone's throwing money at me to buy stuff, I do what it takes in order to take their money. I don't provide rationale for why I'm going to turn away business - which is what you've just done.

January's a looooong slow month. Best be making your money now.

sem4u




msg:4399667
 10:38 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would just kindly suggest that you make it clear to people before they place their order that their items won't arrive in time for Christmas.


Yes you need to do this. Disappointed people won't want to order again...

jecasc




msg:4399677
 11:11 am on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

It seems you are understaffed. You should hire some additional help next time to help you during christmas time.

I was reluctant to do so in the past myself, because I feared it would be more of a burden than help, because usually it takes some time until everything goes smoothly with new staff. But this year I did and let them do jobs only that do not require any training. Only packaging, no picking, not anything else.

dpd1




msg:4400315
 11:21 pm on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have a note on the site and I've told people who ordered. It hasn't been that big an issue. I would love to have another person, but there's only so many things a person who doesn't know what I know, can do. To hire somebody who knows what I know would cost me paying out a hefty salary, which I cannot afford.

Wheel... You really need to loosen up dude. There's more to life than working. A lot more. I don't live to work... I work to live. I am far from lazy. I don't know anybody that works harder than I do. If you want to spend every waking moment of your life working, go for it... It's your life. But if you're a younger guy, you will eventually realize it's not worth it... Trust me. I'm not going to work 24/7 and then wake up one day and realize that all I accomplished for the last 25 years was get people their stuff a couple days earlier. Life is way too short to make that a top priority.

Planet13




msg:4400372
 3:42 am on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ok, just reading your original post again. I think basically what you are saying is, "Why didn't you people order earlier?" Is that right?

I don't know if there is an answer to that. there are some pretty popular sites that do offer last minute air shipping at discounted prices. Maybe some people have only ordered from sites like those in the past and this might be the first time they ordered from a smaller businesses (assuming yoiu are smaller) and had to deal with the rest of the world.

Also, online Christmas sales are supposed to be up 15% this year, so maybe you are getting a lot of first time internet shoppers?. Maybe they just don't know any better.

As for me, next year I am going to have one of those "countdown clocks" on my site - seriously. This time I mean it. Really...

P.S., As for your workload, sure there are lots of things that would be very difficult for you to train others to do. So it is good if you can plan out your workload ahead of time, look at every "stupid" chore you are going to have to do (like buy tape or envelopes, or sweep or buy toilet paper, etc.,) and hire someone to do that.

I find that when I go shopping I can easily waste an hour at the supermarket figuring out whether I should buy the organic beef jerky or the regular variety, so maybe hiring someone to do shopping or chores for a few weeks will help you be more productive at work.

Anyway, have a Busy Holiday Season.

piatkow




msg:4400435
 9:45 am on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)


You want their sales next year or not? This is an opportunity, all you have to do is put in some hours. How hard is that?

There are two factors affecting Christmas delivery:
1. How quickly you can translate an order into a package ready for shipment
2. How quickly the carrier can deliver

I don't know about the US but over here anything not shipped by last weekend is unlikely to arrive on time no matter how many hours the merchant puts in.

The issue isn't so much with the merchant as with customer expectation of ecommerce. Many people seem to think that because they can place an order at 3am on a Sunday morning that the whole end to end shipment process will initiate immediately at 3am. Little technicalities like the fact that the carrier doesn't work on Sundays or that the post takes longer at Christmas are ignored.

Rosalind




msg:4400508
 2:10 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you certain these are Christmas orders? Not everything bought near Christmas is for Christmas, people have birthdays around this time of year too.

piatkow




msg:4400536
 3:43 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, how about "orders placed during the Christmas ordering period".

I may not be commuting but if I travel during the rush hour I am still held up as much as if I was.

dpd1




msg:4400758
 3:19 am on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ok, just reading your original post again. I think basically what you are saying is, "Why didn't you people order earlier?" Is that right?


Yeah... I'm talking about people that ordered Sat, Sun, Mon or later and asked me if it would get to them in time for Christmas.

I saw a thing today that said Best Buy canceled a bunch of orders, some going back to Thanksgiving. OK, now that's a screw-up.

ken_b




msg:4400759
 3:27 am on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I saw a thing today that said Best Buy canceled a bunch of orders, some going back to Thanksgiving. OK, now that's a screw-up.

On the news here in Minneapolis they said BB was offering a BB gift card in place of the merchandise. Of course they wouldn't be able to get the cards out till after Christmas.... sigh.

If that's all true, BB has a real PR mess on their hands.

Planet13




msg:4400973
 6:57 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah... I'm talking about people that ordered Sat, Sun, Mon or later and asked me if it would get to them in time for Christmas.


Ok, I see your point. I am sure there were plenty of days when you were sitting around waiting for more orders, and of course, people wait until you are SLAMMED before they actually decide to order.

I don't know why people wait around to the last minute to order. I don't know if there is any way to educate them. all I do currently is put up a graphic as the Christmas deadline approaches, and say by this date, you will need to opt for Priority mail, by this date, you will need to pay for Express mail, to get it by Christmas.

Planet13




msg:4400975
 6:59 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

On the news here in Minneapolis they said BB was offering a BB gift card in place of the merchandise.


Why wouldn't people just want a refund (or just want to cancel the order)?

Were they offering a gift card for MORE than the value of the item?

Marshall




msg:4400991
 7:47 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't know why people wait around to the last minute to order.


We have become a "NOW" society and people have come to expect instant gratification.

Marshall

dpd1




msg:4401024
 9:15 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just took a look at BB's forums. Ouch... It's pretty ugly over there. lol Threads like: "Best Buy ruined our Christmas".

They haven't released how many orders were cancelled, but sounds like a lot.

This goes back to the thread about competing with the big guys... When the big guys screw up... They can screw up big.

Planet13




msg:4401029
 9:29 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

This goes back to the thread about competing with the big guys... When the big guys screw up... They can screw up big.


the thing about this is, WHY did they screw up so big?

You would imagine that they would have an automated system in place to at least notify customers (or the right employees) when there are lingering orders.

But you are right; this does give a boost to small stores like us.

dpd1




msg:4401049
 11:08 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think when a company is that size, it becomes too easy for the fundamentals to be lost. They can't see the forest through the trees. There's too many people involved, and nobody can see a big enough picture to really make the right calls. I guarantee you that their upper management is completely clueless as too how this happen, but some little guys down in some obscure purchasing department is going... 'I told you so'.

Plus, you've probably got a whole floor of accountants sitting there going... 'Why are you buying a single item more than what we are forecast to sell'? And the company is public, so that adds in a whole other set of nonsense that factors into their decision making, which often has nothing to do with good service, and is more about pinching pennies and profit margins. If little guys screw up on purchasing, they have to get hold of maybe 50 more of something. If somebody their size screws up, they have get 5000 more of something. Big difference.

The public wants the rock bottom prices, but these guys have to balance on a wire to make it happen, and then it all comes crashing down the second something goes wrong.

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