The Halloween sale resulted in a huge surge of activity, even entirely unprecedented, by the time it ended [midnight, Oct. 31] with multiple new orders showing up every hour in the last six or seven hours of [Halloween] and that settled down a few days later, to a somewhat normal level of activity by Nov. 5-6. Even Nov. 1-4 though saw highly elevated levels of activity AFTER the sale had ended – anywhere from 6-10 orders placed daily on top of the nearly 20 orders on the final sale day itself.
I managed, in short, nearly a thousand dollars in transactions in ONE WEEK. Sounds great, right?
No. It was largely a cataclysmic disaster.
The reason why is simple: I cannot fulfill more than 4 or 5 large orders per day. The time in a day to do more than that simply isn’t there – I’ve spent about a hundred hours working on turning around orders since the morning of Oct. 31st to the morning of Nov. 9. Like every waking hour. Only now – on Nov. 9, have I finally caught up on shipments.
So… about 50 orders from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. Most fell several days behind on shipment, some painfully more than that. I opted for a first in, first out fulfillment pattern for the most part. Which meant, in general, nearly all orders were shipped late, especially those that were in or near to, the end of Oct. 31 or Nov. 1 timeframe. Lots of those took about a week or so to ship. Way beyond the ‘3 business dyas’ claim that has typically applied on the shop in the past.
As a result: About a dozen orders fully refunded, another 20 or so saw shipping upgrades to make up for lost time.
I have actually lost a bit at this time in all, in the wake of a sale that was supposedly a dramatic success with $900+ in orders, and a hundred or so hours of work on my end. It comes out to around -$.0.39 in net gain per hour worked. It’s entirely unsustainable. The last ten days, fielding upset messages regarding delays, printing large batches of things and packing and shipping. And I was not making money doing any of this. I lost money on a ten day stretch during which this stress consumed the entire ten days.
Shipping was another issue. I had set up an account on Stamps.com, but had issues integrating it with Etsy which meant tracking I saw had to be copied to customers, but perhaps more significantly, not only did buyers not immediatly see shipment had occurred, Etsy itself as a platform failed to see the fact as well, so as a reuslt of both this – widespread shiping delays and issues – and gaps/lags in communication, among other difficulties keeping up, I have lost ‘Star Seller’ designation on Etsy moving forward. Which is deserved, I get it.
I tried, I worked my butt off the last ten days, but even so… maybe not enough. Should I have gone without sleep? Maybe. But that’s not sustainable. Will I get a pile of mixed or negative ratings in the next few days? Likely. I understand why. I tried to communicate but did not always do that often enough given the sheer volume of messages. I tried to turn all the orders around but again, just too many in too short a timeframe.
SO WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW:
-I’ve adjusted pricing upward on bookmarks, at least… the bookmarks that allow customization to be requested from me. Simply put, there are buyers who request a lot of Photoshop editing and various design ideas be pursued, in various directions, on bookmark designs before they choose a design they like and that moves forward. That sort of order always is more time consuming for me than a simple customer who says, “I have a design already, that I made myself, can you print it on some bookmarks?” So the two types of situations are now being made two separate listings, and the more difficult of the two is roughly $8 more expensive in general. The bookmarks had exploded from a completely unknown listing four months ago to – as of the past month – 45% of sale activity. So adjusting even this one thing will solve a lot.
-Aside from that one price increase in one of the two parts of a product split, all items in general besides tyhe bookmarks are 4% more expensive from here on out – another slight incremental price increase along with others over the last few years. Pricing increases, broadly, aren’t meant to punish buyers, but they do filter out a few of those who aren’t serious and allow me to keep up with the buyers who remain after that.
-I’ll be reducing the discounts on Thanksgiving/Christmas sales to minimum. Sales during holidays are always crazy and the 30% off or more across the board over Halloween caused a deranged mass of acitivity, Plans now: small sales on holidays, bigger sales during otherwise slow stretches, and a word of advice to buyers in general, is please DO NOT WAIT TO THE FINAL HOUR OF THE FINAL DAY OF EVERY SALE! That happened with the Halloween sale, people who ordered during the first four or five days of it usually got their orders deliverd on time, those who waited to the end right before it was over, saw massive delays because EVERYONE was doing the exact same thing. Basically I’d like to even out orders over time. So… watch for the bigger sales to occur here and there in times of 2024 when nothing whatsoever seemingly justifies them. Like, the stretches where no holidays are present, might see surprise discounts of 30-45% on things. But don’t be shocked or whatever, when the Thanksgiving and Christmas sales end up having milder discounts of 10-20%. It’s all some sort of attempt on my part to even out patterns of purchasing activity over the long term.
TLDR: Only place orders during the Thanksgiving/Christmas sales if you want things before Christmas. If the item is not time-sensitive, consider waiting to early 2024 as there will be deepr discounts during otherwise slow spans then. Definitely DO not wait til the end of sale events either. You might get caught up in a nightmare of the “Halloween 2023′ sort where your item arrives a week later than is initially estimated. THIS WILL BE A RISK PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS!
I’M NOT GIVING UP ON ETSY but am definitely learning – the hard way! – from mistakes!
I’m really sorry to everybody who saw their packages delayed. I am. Some of them haven’t even reached the buyers yet even if they are one the way now as of this morning or some other point over the past few days.
Revised sale planning:
Nov. 10-14, Pre-Thanksgiving sale – 10-25% off most items.
Nov. 22-Dec. 6, Pre-Christmas sale, 10-15% off most items.
Jan. 1-10, New Year’s sale, 20-40% off most items.
AGAIN, HERE’s the ETSY LINK: