Partner Best Practices Guide

Simple steps you can take to prevent common challenges, and set your business up for success.

Preparing Properly

First, some good news! The vast majority of challenges facing Gooten partners are things you can prevent simply by getting ahead of them, and getting ahead of them actually isn’t all that hard if you do some planning.

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Fulfillment and logistics is all about time. Namely, how quickly can you receive an order, get it made, and get it into the hands of a customer. Gooten helps with this by making many of the processes involved in this faster and more efficient, but you can help as well by simply getting even further ahead than you already do with the following things.

Plan your promotions

It’s not complicated -- our most successful partners generate big sales numbers by effectively promoting their stores and products. You’re probably already good at this, and generating those spikes for yourself through smart campaigns and promotions (that’s why you need Gooten). However, the earlier you can prepare those promotions, and know when they’re coming, the easier it is to plan for what happens once the resulting orders start rolling in. This isn’t just our opinion, either. Gooten’s highest grossing partner stores are really, really good not just at executing their promotional strategy, but having it planned down to every sale, email send, and YouTube video drop months ahead of time. They know exactly when to expect a surge in sales, which means they’re prepared, and so are we.

Set up your products and get samples

By the time you’re ready to promote a product -- let alone get an order -- you want to be totally confident in every aspect of it. That means you’re completely sure that on your end, you’ve set up everything properly (art & design aspects, settings, etc.), and that you’ve seen what the end results look like. No one looks forward to having a product setup problem when you’re expecting something to be ready to sell, or realizing there’s a product problem or limitation you couldn’t see until you had it in your hand. So get those products created, get your samples, and kick the tires!

How early should you think? Well, use the holidays as an example. For people expecting to move new products during the holiday season, we strongly recommend you order your samples in September, so you have plenty of time to make sure you’re happy with them and can get the results you’re looking for well before customer orders are coming in.

Let Gooten know if you’re expecting larger volumes

One of the great things about Gooten is that we can get the same product manufactured -- at the same quality -- from multiple sources. That helps with everything from pricing to reliability, especially during busy seasons. While we automatically handle typical shifts in demand, it never hurts to give us a heads up if you’re expecting thousands of orders to suddenly come in. If you’re able to foresee a spike like that, and can let us know and there are a few extra precautions we can take on our end to ensure the best possible results once those orders start coming in.

Use our design guides and templates

Believe it or not, a lot of product problems are simply the result of designs that don’t quite meet printing specifications for one reason or another. One way to significantly reduce the chances of that is to take advantage of the easy to use design guides available on the Gooten website. Follow the guides, and you’re much more likely to create a design that looks and prints great, with fewer errors or unintended design quirks. Check out the guides here.

Give yourself more time to cancel or edit an order

By default, we fulfill orders as soon as humanly possible. But that may not be exactly what you want, especially if you find yourself frequently canceling or editing orders. If that’s the case, don’t risk something getting produced & shipped that you don’t actually want — add some pending time to your Gooten account, so you have a chance to review your orders (even quickly) before they go out. Check out this article to learn how. Remember, Gooten Support wants to help, but they don’t have magic powers. It’s infinitely easier to fix an order before it goes out the door.

Managing Expectations

Once you’ve taken the proper steps to prepare, the next best thing you can do as a store owner is set and communicate proper expectations to your customers. We know why Gooten partners are stressed over orders arriving on time or with certain production expectations — it’s because their customers are stressed over the same thing.

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Taking steps like getting samples well ahead of time, and baking in pending time will eliminate a lot of the more common challenges stores face. But it’s equally important that you’re really clear with your customers about how things work, and what to expect. Nobody likes to be surprised — not us, not you, and not your customers. So make sure you use your website, email campaigns, social media, and other customer communication channels to get the following things across.

Turnaround times

Everyone wants the product they ordered as fast as possible — but most people have no idea how long it takes to manufacture or ship something, and if you don’t actually tell them, they may feel like something is “late” or “missing” when it’s actually fine. Six to eight days feels a lot longer than it really is when you were expecting to receive your order in a day or two, regardless of whether it’s realistic or not. So make sure you know the normal turnaround times for all of your products, and make sure your customers do as well.

Have Customer Support policies and make them visible

Take it from us — you can take a lot of the stress out of customer support by having a clear set of policies and making sure your customers know where to find them. Manufacturing isn’t perfect (especially anything on-demand), so people are going to have challenges; but the real frustration comes from not knowing what help looks like or if it’s possible to get. So build a simple FAQ (we have one!) with specifics in it, so your customers know what’s normal, what’s abnormal, and what to do about it.

Explain how variance works

This won’t be news to anyone with on-demand products on sale, but variance is a real and unavoidable thing in print on demand — there’s simply no way to manufacture unique, one-off products with laser precision. However, many people buying things online don’t know any of that, and we often hear about partners dealing with customers who are upset with extremely normal levels of printing variance. This is a problem we can’t fix for you (nor can anyone else) — you simply need to communicate to customers, before they buy, that this is a normal part of the manufacturing process that enables their product to exist at all. As with turnaround times, the bulk of the frustration from printing issues comes from unrealistic expectations. So fix them!

Know Gooten’s policies

We have very clear, consistent policies for everything from reprints to turnaround times, and these are policies you’ll want to know as if they were your own — in a lot of ways, they are your policies. Knowing these policies means you can quickly and accurately answer customer questions as they come in, and even preempt some of them by sharing the details of these policies up front, before orders are made. That also means you should not assume a policy exists, or what its details and specifications are, when you’re talking with customers. The last thing you want to do is tell someone who’s having trouble with an order that you’re going to fix everything for free, or make something show up the next day, when that may not actually be possible.

Don’t count on, or expect, miracles

One of the most important things to realize is that most — if not all — of the restrictions on what’s possible with Gooten (and on-demand production in general) aren’t up to us. They are physical or logistical limitations on what’s possible in certain amounts of time. So for instance, when a product isn’t manufactured correctly, either due to an error by you, your customer, or Gooten’s manufacturing network, there are a set number of steps we can take to rectify the situation, which we share with partners before there’s a problem. It doesn’t matter how angry, sad, or important a customer is (and by extension, you are) about the error — there’s simply no way for us to make a new, correct product show up on their doorstep overnight.

Getting in front of these scenarios is by far the easiest, most customer-friendly way to deal with them. And that’s why both the precautionary steps listed above and good customer communication practices are so important.

Handling Problems

Unfortunately, sometimes no amount of preparation can prevent an undesirable outcome from occurring. Fortunately, if you’ve communicated how mistakes get handled from the outset, and follow a few of the tips here, it’s not hard to ensure that those mistakes get handled as quickly and painlessly as possible. Here’s what to remember when things go wrong.

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Reporting quality problems

When reporting a problem with either an order’s printing quality, or the quality of the base product itself, it’s important to provide Gooten with sufficient information to both (a) ensure your customer receives a new product if warranted, and (b) allow us and our manufacturers to prevent the problem from occurring moving forward.

That information includes:

See if your question is already answered

Every partner and customer question is important — but that doesn’t mean it’s unique, or that it hasn’t been solved before. When that’s the case, it’s often much faster to find the answer you’re looking for inside our online Knowledge Base than it is to contact us directly. If nothing else, check the KB and run a quick search before writing that email; it’ll often get your problem solved faster, and as a bonus, you’ll free up our Support team to fix the truly weird, unique problems out there.

Multiple customer support requests slow down support

The best way to ensure the quickest possible response from the Gooten support team is to make sure you include all of the information listed above in your initial request. Multiple emails and requests for updates on the same issue can actually complicate things and slow down the process of getting back to you. We’re constantly monitoring our customer response time, so if you’re frustrated with the lack of a resolution during a particularly busy time of the year, trust us… we are too, and we’re already working on speeding things up. In the meantime, you might not even need to wait for an answer -- seriously, check the Knowledge Base!

And of course, there are things you can do that really do make a difference… the preparation and communication steps listed earlier in this guide. If you’re on top of those, we guarantee you’ll have fewer, faster, easier interactions with Support.

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