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Calculated shipping, Express Mail, and Christmas

 
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Calculated shipping, Express Mail, and Christmas Reply with quote

In past years, I have avoided the last minute "can I still get this to me in time for Christmas" by putting my store on hold about a week before the 25th. This year, I would like to take orders up until the morning of the 23rd. That implies that many of those "last minute" orders will require USPS Express Mail.

For my own reasons, I prefer to use the 'matrix' to get the correct shipping cost. In order to streamline that 'special week', I'm going have to do one of two things:
1) enable the USPS calculator and only select "Express Mail"
or
2) temporarily plug higher values into the matrix (along with a note on the front page denoting why the shipping is so high).

Method #1 would appear to be the best way to convey to the customer what is about to happen (and why the cost is so high), but that it does a fail-over to the matrix under certain circumstances, concerns me. It would suggest that I would have to both activate the USPS calculator and change the matrix values.

Opinions ?
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theartsandlettersofmaggiethecat



Posts: 2097

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Christmas is a Friday. Why not a compromise? Instead of a week the 21st or 22nd have always worked for me with Priority mail. Your Lego items would be rather heavy and Express mail for one would put me off. That's my opinion.
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that isn't the question that I was asking. Christmas is on a Saturday (according to my calendar). The latest I'll ship Priority to zone 7-8 will be Saturday, the 18th. Certain closer zones I can do on Monday the 20th. Beyond that, it's Express Mail or nothing.

My question was about which method (of setting up the shipping display) was the most reliable.

If the customer waits until the last minute, that's there problem (that it costs so much to get it there).
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theartsandlettersofmaggiethecat



Posts: 2097

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Priority goes in 2 - 3 days in mainland US. Why would you give it a week?

I ship from the furthest western point of WA from a tiny little post office and it gets to major cities in 2 days and to small towns on the east coast in 3 days.

If a customer waits till the last minute to shop for Xmas, that is their problem is absolutely correct. You are not the corner mall. Why sweat it?
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theartsandlettersofmaggiethecat wrote:
Priority goes in 2 - 3 days in mainland US. Why would you give it a week?


Priority Mail takes 2-3 days under normal mail volume.

The last 10 days prior to Christmas is when the mail volume goes way above normal. Last year I was told to make sure that I have a good week for Priority Mail to zones 7-8. It takes longer to get there due to the volume.
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bigtallmensclothing
moderator


Posts: 21854

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree with cosmicray

priority mail at Christmas is easily FIVE days!
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thelivesandlovesofmaggiethecat



Posts: 9917

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then western WA must have especially fast jets.
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wtcollectibles



Posts: 2728

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be afraid to just switch to the calculator without also raising the matrix rates. It seems probable that those time-outs would be more likely with the heavier traffic.

You mentioned putting a note on your front page...is there any way to use the new bulk editor to get the note on every item? Not that everybody would read it, but some might. I order a lot and every place covers their online pages and catalog pages with notes about "Last day to order for Christmas delivery." I haven't tried to bulk edit anything yet, so I don't know if it would help or not, or how hard it would be.

Thanks for bringing this up--I hadn't started thinking about it yet, and I need to plan for my own deadlines.
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wtcollectibles wrote:
I would be afraid to just switch to the calculator without also raising the matrix rates. It seems probable that those time-outs would be more likely with the heavier traffic.

That is my concern with the calculator.

Quote:
You mentioned putting a note on your front page...is there any way to use the new bulk editor to get the note on every item? Not that everybody would read it, but some might. I order a lot and every place covers their online pages and catalog pages with notes about "Last day to order for Christmas delivery." I haven't tried to bulk edit anything yet, so I don't know if it would help or not, or how hard it would be.

I had not thought about the bulk editor. That might work, although I'd not like to cross the (invisible) boundary about what makes description text into boilerplate. I also have a concern about backing out the text once the holiday rush has ended. I *could* in theory activate both Priority and Express (in the calculator) but I know darn well that many buyers will opt for the cheapest shipping ("I want it cheap and fast !") and not worry about mail volume until it doesn't arrive by the 24th.

Quote:
Thanks for bringing this up--I hadn't started thinking about it yet, and I need to plan for my own deadlines.
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wtcollectibles



Posts: 2728

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I guess it would fall under "boilerplate." Dang! Of course, it would only be there for a week or two, assuming it can be edited back out smoothly after Christmas. Maybe it wouldn't have much effect short-term?
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viewfinders



Posts: 1555

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Cosmic Ray and everyone else who stresses out over delivery times:

When you shop by mail, you take chances that the seller is legit, the plane won't crash, the mail trucks won't get snowed in. the postman is honest, etc. You can get an ulcer fretting over how to reassure buyers but the plain truth is: you can't. There will always be a buyer who suddenly wakes up and realizes he'/she hasn't done their Christmas shopping yet and it is the 23rd of December or the day before their wife's birthday or whatever. They are inconsiderate people. They aren't going to appreciate your efforts no matter what you do.

Why are you all trying to compensate for other people's shortcomings?
If you are worried about negative feedback, if unhappy last minute shoppers say bad words about you, admin will remove the feedback.

When I get last minute orders I email the buyer that their item will probably or definitely not arrive for Christmas. In all the years I've been doing this, I have yet to have a cancellation or complaint.

One more thing: consider this when you offer Express shipping at Xmas.
Express means that the post delivery person has to work on Xmas day if there are EXpress items to be delivered. They'd rather be home with their families. There aren't that many Jewish postal carriers.
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

viewfinders wrote:
Why are you all trying to compensate for other people's shortcomings?


Because I would like (if possible) to take orders until the morning of the 23rd. Outgoing shipments between Monday 20th and Thursday 23rd will almost always require Express Mail to make it there by the 24th. There may be a few close destinations (zones 3 and 4) that I can send Priority Mail to on Monday, and possibly on Tuesday.

I'm trying to find a way to process those orders and ship them. The alternative is to close my store (as I've done in past years).
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MoonwishesStore
moderator


Posts: 16952

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viewfinders, I like your attitude. I sell a different type product here, but even when all I sold was books, I never shut down at Christmas or any other holiday. Nor did I offer special arrangements for shipping. I shipped fast but never guaranteed a Christmas delivery.

Cosmic--Are all your items present type things? Some buyers might be just wanting an item but don't want to have to get stuck paying for express shipping, etc. Certainly is your business and you can run it however you want, but I wouldn't change things one bit other than do your regular best to ship ASAP at the normal price for regular S&H.
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cosmicray



Posts: 7136

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MoonwishesStore wrote:
Are all your items present type things?


The vast majority are, yes. As I tried to say above...

The week prior to Christmas is Express Mail or close the store.

I guarantee you, if I were to offer a cheaper shipping method, people will choose it and expect it to arrive by the 24th. Been there, and done that.
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thelivesandlovesofmaggiethecat



Posts: 9917

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmicray wrote:
I guarantee you, if I were to offer a cheaper shipping method, people will choose it and expect it to arrive by the 24th. Been there, and done that.

And just how is that your fault?

Do you have a sign in your store that says Guaranteed delivery for Xmas or double your money back.

What I'm saying is that if the last minute shoppers don't care enough about the people they shop for to think of them in time to get an item by the big day, why should you penalize yourself, or other shoppers who just want to buy your items?

I have never closed my stores over the holidays unless I am leaving town. Most years I will have a sale or two on Xmas day. That doesn't mean I break into the post office and demand they charter a plane to get it to the buyer's destination.

You are placing unreasonable demands on yourself unnecessarily. I'm going to use one of those terms so often used when people are angry which I'm not. CHILL OUT!
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