Q4 is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for eCommerce and print on demand stores. You are juggling a million and one things to ensure your business is set up for a successful season, from scheduling social media posts to responding to customer inquiries. With a flurry of activity happening, mistakes are bound to happen. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake—that’s life afterall—but how you respond and learn from those hiccups can make or break your business.
3 Common Issues That Can Happen in Q4 & How to Respond To Them
1. Shipping Delays
Shipping issues are generally speaking out of your control. Especially with continued supply chain disruptions and increased demand during the holidays, transit carriers are overloaded which can inevitably lead to order delays. While you personally can’t make these orders faster or prevent further delays, there are actions you can do to lessen your customers’ potential frustrations if their items are running late.
How to respond to potential shipping delays:
The two most important things you can do are to encourage early sales and to set proper expectations. Inspire your customers to make their purchases in late October to early November to ensure their orders arrive on time, especially before the Black Friday Cyber Monday surge. While BFCM is a popular time to push sales, it can still be cutting it close for some orders, especially for International orders.
The next thing is to communicate expected shipping times and order guidelines across your store and checkout process. If your customer is aware of any potentially delays while they are purchasing their products, they are much less likely to get frustrated because they have an expected timeline of when their order will arrive. Lack of communication can lead more upset customers, which is one of the last things you want to deal with during peak season.
2. Website Crashes
While an increase in traffic to store seems like a great thing, it can lead to website crashes or delays if everything is not set up efficiently or properly. If a customer is not able to view a product or checkout in a timely manner it can prevent them from making a purchase.
Here are few things to do ensure your website runs smoothly:
- Pause on any major website updates until after the holiday season. Q4 ow is not the time revamp your website. Any changes, cosmetic or backend, can potentially cause issues.
- Test out your checkout process. Ask your friends and family members to pretend to be a customer (or maybe offer them a discount!) to make sure there aren’t any kinks during the checkout process.
- Use a dashboard (i.e. from Google Analytics or any other free software) to monitor your website health metrics. Measure stats such as bounce rate, page load timing, and engage sessions, which can reveal critical usability issues.
3. Operational bottlenecks
The holiday season can bring a ton of new customers to your store. While increased orders are great for revenue, it can lead to logistical bottlenecks such as too many customer inquiries to respond to, too many personalized design to create, and other increased administrative tasks. These bottlenecks can lead to poor customer service, less than 5-star reviews, and less revenue over time—all things no print on demand store owner wants!
How to prevent operational bottlenecks:
Hire seasonal support staff! While it may seem like an upfront investment, it can lead to a smoother customer experience and and bring in more customers over time. This blog post details everything you need to know about hiring temporary employees during the holidays, but here are a few ways they can help:
- Answer customer support tickets
- Design artwork for personalized products
- Create and schedule social media posts
- Manage administrative tasks
Avoid these common eCommerce issues this holiday season
As an eCommerce business owner during the busiest time of year, issues are bound to arise. At least now you can know some strategies and techniques to avoid and assuage these common hiccups! The Gooten team is dedicated to ensuring you have a successful and profitable season. Be sure to check out our Holiday page for the latest information and relevant resource!