Let’s face it folks, the holiday season for ecommerce store owners is a chaotic time. You’ve got your hands full creating new products, juggling promotions, managing customer requests, and doing all this while trying not to pull your (or someone else’s) hair out.
One of your most important concerns is setting the right expectations with customers when it comes to order cut-off dates. Our goal is to lighten the load of uncertainty and give you as much transparency as we can so you can plan your campaigns accordingly and communicate with your customers.
Print Vendor Work Schedule
During the peak production time from the week of Black Friday (starting 11/18) through mid-December, you should expect your orders to take up to 5 business days to be produced.
Many items will be produced within 3-4 days, but please plan for 1-2 day delays due to substantial increases in volumes. We recommend that you set your customer expectations appropriately about turnaround times and refrain from advertising any sort of “rush” production.
While many vendors work extra shifts and weekends during the peak season, these additional days are not counted as formal production days and can’t necessarily be counted on. The way to calculate production turnaround time is to think of the day of submission as “Day 0.” Every subsequent business day is a day of production, and you should typically expect to see a tracking label appended to an order on the 4th or 5th day of production. For example, if you submit an order on a Monday (Day 0), you should expect that order to ship the following Friday (Day 4) or Monday (Day 5) during peak season.
- Monday - submit order (day 0)
- Tuesday - production (day 1)
- Wednesday - production (day 2)
- Thursday - production (day 3)
- Friday - production and potential ship day (day 4)
- Monday - ship day (day 5)
Monitoring your orders
In addition to understanding how production times work, we also want you to know what we do on your behalf to monitor order status.
Each of our vendors (35+) has a Gooten vendor analyst assigned to them; this analyst “covers” the vendor and monitors all of their error stats and production turnaround times. As soon as an order looks like it’s going to be late, meaning it’s on its 4th or 5th business day of production, a Gooten analyst reaches out to the vendor to check on issues on Production Day 4 and may request a shipping upgrade if the order will not be ready to ship on Day 5 or 6. You don’t need to contact our support team to ask about late orders, we’re already one step ahead of you!
When should I place my final holiday orders?
If you select Standard shipping for US delivery, please submit orders between 12/6 and 12/10 to best ensure they arrive in time for Christmas.
Note that there are no guarantees of shipping times and neither Gooten nor the vendor can control delays in shipment or lost packages. If you choose to submit orders with Standard shipping after 12/10, it’s very likely that they’ll still arrive before Christmas, but some shipments could be arrive after 12/25.
As we get through the last weeks of November and first week of December, and If it looks like production is humming along quickly for the products that you’re selling, we’ll send you a note to let you know that you can extend your sales a few more days! We’d rather be conservative at this point to ensure your customers are planning ahead than to disappoint them with nothing to wrap for under the tree.
Our vendors ship “standard” on a range of different carriers and methods, but for the most part, you should expect orders shipped US to US to be in transit for about 3 to 5 business days. Sometimes standard shipping can take up to 8 days, so please include some buffer time when you’re setting customer expectations or encourage them to expedite shipping.
Expedited shipping gives you another few days to submit orders; as such, we recommend submitting orders with expedited shipping no later than 12/13.
Typically, expedited shipping takes 2-3 days, but we recommend building a 1-2 day buffer in just in case!
If you plan on sending an order with overnight shipping, you should have that order in the Gooten system no later than 12/16. We do not offer Saturday delivery options, so if the order ships on 12/21 with an overnight shipping method, you should expect it to arrive on 12/24.
This is where it gets a bit complicated. If you’re sending products produced in the US to customers not located in the US, we recommend that you estimate a transit time of 21 business days to account for international shipping and customs delays.
That means you should aim to have international orders into Gooten at the end of November (around 11/29). Unfortunately, if your order gets stuck in customs, there’s nothing that Gooten, the vendor, or the shipping agent can do – we wish we could – so please plan for occasional delays and help temper expectations!
If you’re selling canvas wraps or framed canvas, your orders to customers in the UK, Canada, and Mexico will ship from production facilities in those countries, so you don’t have to abide by the international shipping guidelines (above) and can plan on standard delivery times.
Canvas shipments to countries other than the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico are considered international shipments, so please allow for up to 21 days of transit.
Travel bags are shipped from China, so standard shipping can take up to 21 days. We have an expedited option available at a greatly reduced flat rate ($12.99 for small bags / $13.99 for large bags). Those expedited orders are usually in transit for about 5 days, so we strongly recommend offering this shipping to your customers for a better experience.
We know the holiday season is both exciting and stressful and our aim in providing these date ranges is to give you our best and most educated guidance on order submission days. While we can never guarantee that an order delivers by a certain date, rest assured that the entire Gooten team works on making sure your order arrives in time for Christmas. From our CEO calling vendors and answering customer service questions to our entire Partner Support team working overtime to make sure no order is left behind, you have a team behind you working toward your holiday season success!
Have more questions or concerns we haven’t addressed? We got you covered!
We’re planning another Ask Maddy Anything webinar so you can talk directly to Maddy Peck, Gooten Director of Partner success. Share any initial thoughts in this 2-question survey, and add your email at the end of the survey to be notified on when that webinar will be taking place.
For now we suggest catching up on our most recent holiday webinar where Maddy shares tips on selling products and managing orders during the holiday rush.
Read our full list of customer service policies.