|Mon Dec 10 2012 21:09:04|
Online Sellers Overwhelmed During Holiday Shopping Rush
By: Ina Steiner
BusinessWeek wrote about an Etsy seller who was running ragged making items to keep up with her online orders. "No Sleep Till Christmas: Etsy Sellers' Haggard Holidays" said the seller, Kelly Engel of "Growing Up Wild," was getting eight to 10 orders a day, which translates into about 16 hours of sewing.
That's triple her normal sales volume. Did I mention she has two young children?!
Most retailers, online or offline, experience a surge around the holidays. But for any seller who customizes or personalizes products and can't build up inventory - or just can't predict which products will be the best-sellers - it's particularly difficult.
Engel told BusinessWeek she sells 130 different individual items and gift sets. "The variety of styles and sizes makes it difficult for her to anticipate what will sell and to stock up."
I'm curious if readers have any advice for sellers in that situation. Should she pull some of her listings and leave up only the easiest-to-make or most profitable items only? Are there any ways she could sell smarter, not harder? (With the exposure she's getting in BusinessWeek, she may really need some advice!)
Things can be easier for sellers of commodity items, especially those sellers who use a fulfillment service such as Amazon.com's FBA (or use drop-shippers). But even then unforeseen challenges can hit merchants hard, such as the merchant who sends inventory to a fulfillment center, but finds it taking weeks to get checked in, meaning the inventory is tied up and not even "in stock."
Most sellers I talk to enjoy the holiday rush despite the overwhelming nature of getting packages into the hands of customers by Christmas deadlines. For many, it beats the alternative - having no orders coming in at all.
Holiday fulfillment stories are welcome, as are tips on how to stay sane this time of year!