We all know how the holidays are sometimes a lot more stress than cheer these days. We understand that many of your clients are only just now turning in design approvals and such because they feel the holidays looming and want their albums to share with family and friends. We also understand that many clients live in other locations, go on vacations, and you need a vacation too!! We want everyone to get their holiday orders in the best time possible. And with that in mind, we’ve come up with some things we’re doing a bit differently in order to ensure that this holiday season, and the tremendous spike in order volume that comes with it, go as smooth as ice!
As you may have noticed on the order form, we’ve asked photographers to indicate if an order is needed by December 24th – hence a “Holiday Order”. We asked customers who were not on such a time schedule to check “no” – these would be orders for samples for a show in January, etc…basically anything not-holiday-critical. Another new thing is the addition of shipping zones to your orders. We can now see what orders are going to California (5+ days shipping) and what ones are staying on the East Coast (1-2 day shipping) and can organize orders as they are coming out of production and into the inspection/packing/shipping cue so that we can work on shipping holiday-critical CA orders before non-holiday DC orders. Lastly, we’ve allowed an extra week for you to squeak orders in as long as expedited shipping is chosen. This is something that we’ve never done before and it should help out many photographers with clients that are dragging their feet but still expecting delivery. It sounds like a reasonable and fair way to handle the extra volume and time crunch, right?
I’m writing this blog post because the reception we’re seeing this year is not what we expected. We now have pages upon pages of orders with specific shipment date requests, some as early as next week (off-peak typical turn around for a ONE is 3 weeks). And this just started yesterday. Unfortunately, due to the extremely high volume of the holiday season, we cannot process orders on a case by case basis as we are sometimes able to do at other times of the year. Now, of course, if you placed your order well before the final cut-off deadline, the chances that your order will arrive sometime before December 24th are pretty good. However, there is no way for us to check into a specific order’s status or give shipment estimates other than that we plan to have all Holiday Orders shipped in time for delivery by December 24th. Please be patient and know that our little elves are working as quickly as possible to complete your orders in time for Santa’s flight!
Last week I put up another blog post on Tips for Holiday Ordering. This would be a great time to read that if you haven’t already, it’s the best information you can get to make sure your orders flow through easily and get in your clients’ hands as quickly as possible.
One prominent concern I hear expressed is “My customer doesn’t live nearby (or will be out of town), how am I supposed to deliver their album to them if I might not get it until the 24th?” My best suggestion would be to consider drop-shipping directly to your client. At this time of year, their main concern is that they have something physical in their hands to show off over the holiday. I know a lot of people are concerned that they may have a mistake and want to review the album first, but believe me, a minor or even major mistake is much more forgivable in the holiday season than is leaving a new bride or new mom with nothing to show around. Mistakes can be fixed after the New Year, but at least your client will be thrilled that they have a gorgeous album with your gorgeous photos to share. Keep in mind, we can change the shipping address on an order for you up until the last minute, so if you have an order in already and want to drop-ship it instead, please call us right away and we’d be happy to take care of it for you!
Remember that the holidays don’t have to be a time of panic and scrambling. They should be a time for peace and relaxation. All it takes is a little effort for us all to work together and a little faith that all good things come in their time – that includes amazing albums!
Happy Festivus to ALL!!