With Christmas around the corner, many of us are looking forward to a nice break away from work to rest and reset. Unfortunately, not all industries get the time off, with many small business owners look to head into their peak season. With the warm summer weather families will likely be heading to the beach and holiday goers will be out making the most of extended shopping hours.
If you’re a small sole business owner and you have an online shop, you’ll probably be able to attest to the fact that in the lead up to Christmas and even during the summer break, your online sales will likely ramp up in the lead up to and continue throughout the weeks that follow.
So, if you’re away and don’t have a team around you to fulfil any orders, it may be worth giving your shopping cart a holiday too.
The importance of fulfilling your customers’ requests as promptly as possible is important to your business’s reputation, and to maximise the potential of repeat business. But should you decide that you also want to take a holiday then what are the Best Practises for ensuring you get to take a break away from things without unfulfilling requests and upsetting customers.
How Do I Simply “Turn Off” Online Shop?
Importance of Communication
Getting a message across that you won’t be fulfilling any orders is important, but it’s wise to do it in a way that will not detract your loyal customers from going and looking elsewhere for an alternative. While there’s no guarantee that some people won’t do exactly that, there are some clever tactics to convey such a message which doesn’t involve too much modification of your existing shop.
One such message is to have a pop-up on your site saying you’re on a short break and when you will return to fulfill any orders, this allows people to still purchase if they really want to, but there is always a slim chance that someone doesn’t see this and still purchases something and becomes disgruntled with the delay. An alternative to this is to remove all the items from your shop so people cannot purchase anything. Depending on how many items you sell this really might not be feasible.
Use a premium plugin
Removing items from your shop can usually be done in several ways, including dropping stock levels to zero which should trigger an ‘out of stock’ label, or even marking the items as drafts so they are no longer published on your site. However, will mean potential customers can’t even see you’re the product you have, and will prevent people from “window shopping”. This tactic could even have negative SEO implications so is really not advisable.
The alternative to this (which we would recommend) is to consider a premium stock plugin to manage stock levels. This will give you the ability to still take orders and have a customised ‘out of stock’ message which displays information about when the order will be fulfilled / back in stock. Of course, this date would correlate with when you are ready to resume work!
There is also specialised vacation plugin which allows you to put a note on your shop items telling your customers you’re taking a short break and when you’ll be returning, essentially like an out of office message.
If you’ve been running your online business for a while, you should know roughly when your peak seasons are, so it’s always advisable to try and time your vacation during a less busy period of orders. This is so you can minimise the potential loss of sales and so you don’t come back from holidays to a large amount of work. Of course, sometimes we don’t get the luxury of picking our time off, when trying to co-originate with family and school holidays.
But at least now you should be able to put a process in place and take your holiday without the stress of having to continue working. And if you need assistance with web development for this or any other functionality, we can help!