This is a real ‘don’t blame the messenger’ situation.
But one you’re likely (unfortunately) already aware of, so we’re not going to stay in the bad news too long – instead I want to open up the conversation with you and brainstorm ways to approach this proactively.
The bad news:
1. supply chains everywhere are difficult: material delays. stock outs. shipping issues. rising costs.
2. the holiday season is creeping up and over 54% of vendors surveyed in one report expect these issues to extend into Q4, possibly even Q1 of 2022.
This likely isn’t new news to you. I know you’ve already been in it and experiencing yourself. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, worried about the rest of the year, I get it and your feelings are valid. It’s been two really hard years in a row, so take a moment to acknowledge you’re still in it, then let’s look for the good news.
The good news:
1. you are resourceful. you made it through 2020 so even when you don’t feel it, there’s your proof that you are wildly capable.
2. you are endlessly creative. you’ve come up with solutions, tested new products, and stretch your creativity on the daily. (no use denying it, I see your stories. accept the compliment ok?)
3. you know the problem you’re facing. and knowing is half the battle right?
When you know the problem, you can anticipate what may happen… and proactively come up with solutions.
For example, we *know* customers love to shop last minute and want zero delivery issues.
We also know that’s not a great plan this year. and not just for you… but for them too!
The key is to communicate your messaging so it motivates them to act in a way that gets the results *they* want, which ultimately relieves some stress and headaches on your end.
“shop early. stress less.” — the motto of 2021
Three Ways to Prepare Your Online Store for the Holiday Season This Year
1. Clearly and often state the situation, and remove yourself from the equation.
Keep in mind these issues are across multiple industries and retailers. This is not your unique problem or one you need to shoulder/apologize for.
Instead of “Our shipments are being delayed, please be patient with us…”
Try “USPS is experiencing delays. They anticipate 2-3 day delays. If you are ordering for a gift, we recommend ordering an extra week in advance so you don’t have to stress about a package arriving on time.”
2. Communicate your plans through intentional positioning.
Come along as a helpful guide during this time for your customers. Depending on your business and marketing plans, position your sale events as helpful for THEM.
Instead of “I know its early, but I need to move up this sale so I have time to make your orders due to all the shipping delays…”
Try “As you know, there are a lot of material/shipping delays affecting online orders this year. To help you out, we’re moving up our biggest sale of the season by a week, so you can shop early + know your gifts will arrive on time…”
3. Have alternative suggestions prepared (if possible) and be a resource for your customers.
You may be out or short on key materials at times throughout the season. Which is not only frustrating for you, but can also affect your income potential which can have any of us operating from a less than calm place.
Before you get into the season, especially if you’re already experiencing a few hiccups and delays; take a few moments to brainstorm creative alternatives. A helpful question to ask yourself is “what are they actually buying?”
If your supplier is out of candle tins + you cannot make your mini scent collections; what is someone actually buying when they purchase a set of tins?
…. a stocking stuffer? Maybe there’s another item at a giftable price point you can offer up instead.
…. a chance to test multiple scents? Look for different container options that provide the same experience (even if at a different price point).
…. a housewarming gift? Position another product as the solution.
Getting ahead of your promotional calendar will be the best gift to yourself this year.
Creating a plan will allow you to:
- assess your materials and order more/earlier than usual if needed
- place orders with vendors before other shops to get your spot in the delivery line
- be in communication with suppliers to determine if need to source alternative products and/or suppliers
- review pricing and determine if you need to increase costs / change discounts offered this year
Planning now will give you more flexibility later.
If you want guidance on how to create a marketing plan and a step-by-step guide on content to create for your promotions, know the Holiday Promo Playbook is here for you.
Designed to cut thru the holiday noise, you will have an easy to follow framework that builds anticipation and boosts your sales, with less stress and more confidence.
The Holiday Promo Playbook provides done-for-you promo calendars, a daily content timeline (outlines what to share on Instagram feed, Stories, and email), and over 50 content prompts to help you confidently show up + sell with ease.