BFCM Recap and Shipageddon| #029 | 49:37
We’re officially a week past Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so it’s time for a recap to see where we ended up - and judging by the numbers, we’re guessing you had a strong sales weekend! This week on the podcast, we’re breaking down the numbers reported by Shopify. We’re also talking about the current shipping crisis we very much all predicted… and what you can do about it to get ahead.
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- BFCM Recap
- 44+ million consumers globally purchased from independent and direct-to-consumer brands powered by Shopify, a 50% jump from 2019.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend sales peaked at 12:00 PM ET on Black Friday, with $102 million+ sales that hour.
- Consumers spent $89.20 USD on average per order throughout the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Consumers in Japan ($106.40 USD) and Australia ($105.50 USD) spent the most on average, ahead of shoppers in Canada ($103.00 USD), US ($92.80 USD), and others.
- The top-selling cities over the shopping weekend were New York, Los Angeles, and London while the US, UK and Canada were amongst the top-selling countries worldwide.
- Japan (347%), Italy (211%), Germany (189%), and UK (122%) saw triple-digit growth of sales on the platform since last year.
- Mobile sales stayed relatively flat this Black Friday/Cyber Monday compared to last year, with 67% of sales made on mobile devices versus 33% on desktop, compared to 68% of sales made on mobile devices versus 32% on desktop in 2019.
- Apparel and accessories held the top spot for sales across Shopify-powered stores this weekend, with health and beauty, and home and garden following.
- Retailers getting capped at daily shipments
- Update your site to tell customers they might experience a shipping delay
- If their order is delayed, send them an email
- Consider offering a small token of your appreciation for the delay
- Store shoutout: Haus
- Store shoutout: The Sill
- Shopify BFCM Press Release
- Nugget Comfort
- Our Place
- WSJ Shipping Delay Article
- NYTimes Shipping Delay Article
- Tweet from @mattahertz
- Tweet from @Andys_Brain
- The Sill
We're officially a week past Black Friday, Cyber Monday, so it's time for a recap to see where we ended up. And judging by the numbers we're guessing you had a strong sales weekend. This week on the podcast we're breaking down the numbers reported by Shopify. We're also talking about the current shipping crisis we very much all predicted and what you can do about it to get ahead. Let's dig in. Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce.
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How are you doing?
I am doing okay. I cannot believe we're in the last few weeks of 2020.
Is it in the final countdown. We're there.
It's like once you finally get past Black Friday, Cyber Monday, you blink and the year is over.
Yeah. I don't even know what's going on anymore to be totally honest. I feel like most of us in our industry we have hundreds Of emails and things to get to, plus life stuff.
It's just a lot.
Like the whole holiday season thing, that's also a thing outside of business.
Yeah. Hanukkah starts next week, have I gotten any presents? No, it'll take too much work.
There's always next year.
I did order them. But as we're going to talk about, the likelihood of them coming on time, and I ordered them I thought with a lot of wiggle room. And I don't think I gave us enough wiggle room to wiggle.
Just a little tight wiggle.
Yeah. It was just like a [inaudible 00:03:41] and it was just not enough wiggle room, so we're just going to be doing something else. In my house though we do celebrate [Chrismica 00:03:50] as well.
I love that.
Yeah, my husband's not Jewish. The cool part about that is I have a tinfoil tree. It's not tinfoil, it's not made of tinfoil. It's aluminum and it's glittery, the old ... okay, one of those. It straddles the line of tackiness.
And I'm fine with that.
You should be fine with that. Yeah. Last year I did this, painting a Christmas tree thing with one of my best friends. And it's always fun to pull that tree out now because it's the same kind of ceramic tree with the little colored lights that I grew up with. And now I have one of my own that I painted.
You have one. Those are so cute.
They're really cute. It's in our living room and then we have our giant tree, which is not that giant in our dining room. But I decided I'm going to buy a new tree next year because I decided our current tree looks a little sad, which is very fitting for 2020.
Did you get it up?
Does it have lights and stuff?
It has lights and stuff. Yeah. I bought new ornaments for it.
At least it's not like the New York tree.
That was a site.
Which is like a giant Charlie Brown tree plus an owl. It's the most fitting tree that could have happened actually. If there was anything else I would have been like, this is too perfect.
And you're hiding something.
You're hiding something. And actually they were hiding something, it's a little owl, and that was very cute. And the owl is the talk of the town in New York from what I understand, people are trying to see the owl. Clearly we've been inside for a long time.
I know. We're getting excited over an owl, but you know what, no judgment. You want to get excited over an owl, you get excited over an owl.
Absolutely. And I want to also, while we're talking about just I guess lockdowns is what I sort of alluded to, but if not indirectly that I'm going through directly right now. I do want to acknowledge all of the regions, including my own, that are going into another lockdown and just sending y'all good vibes because I know it can be very mentally tough and I just want to put out some positive energy there and not just gloss over what's going on.
I mean, you're very much living it, so it's kind of hard [crosstalk 00:06:07] over it.
I'm very much ... Well, yeah, but I'm also immunocompromised, so I've been inside this whole time. But a lot of people have ... they've been going and living their life well masked. Californians for the most part are very compliant with mask orders. But I think it's like a second one. So I think it's kind of getting under people's skin and so-
Sending some good vibes just out-
All the good vibes.
[crosstalk 00:06:34] right now.
You may have my good vibes.
All the good vibes. Okay. So speaking of, let's talk about ... let's do the good, let's do the Black Friday, Cyber Monday recap, yay, awesome stuff before we get into the stuff.
I think this is a good plan, yes.
All right. So every year after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Shopify releases the press release recapping all of the amazing things that happened over at BFC and weekend because they have investors that want to know these things. And they have partners who also wants to know these things as well, because it gives us material for a podcast episode.
We're going to go through the main points of this year's press release and kind of talk about these things a little bit, because there's some interesting little tidbits of information in there I'd say.
There are. Let's start with this, 44 plus million consumers globally purchased from independent and direct to consumer brands powered by Shopify, a 50% jump from 2019. Holy moly.
50%. This is from Shopify's press release. We're not just making these numbers up, this is legit.
Unless Shopify is making them up, and I really don't think they are.
I don't think they are. 44 plus million consumers.
That's amazing. I mean, I know if Shopify stores were all combined into one e-commerce thing, it ranks what, like second behind Amazon as largest.
Second to Amazon, yeah.
Yeah. It makes sense, but seeing that 50% jump is significant. And you have to believe that the pandemic had a lot to do with that as well with so many more merchants getting online this year.
I also have to think that there's a lot of folks at home thinking, hold on a second, before I buy this from a department store or from Amazon, let me see if they have their own site.
Because I've noticed that behavior is happening more and more, people are realizing, oh, Amazon takes a cut. If you buy it from Nordstrom, they take a cut. But if I buy it directly from the small business, I'm supporting directly the small business.
Exactly. And also people just don't want to give more money to Amazon.
No, they take enough money. That's just like ... I feel like my money is just passive income. And I try to be really conscientious about not doing that and it still just happens.
It still happens. Yeah. The convenience factor is there.
It truly is. And the shipping factor is there as well.
Yeah, but 50% jump is significant, so that's great to see.
Oh my God. Something to celebrate. I hope all y'all merchants that are listening had a great Black Friday, Cyber Monday, tweet at us, we want to hear about it.
Agreed. All right. Next little point here. Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend sales peaked at 12:00 PM Eastern, so noon Eastern on Black Friday with 102 plus million dollars in sales that hour.
That is a lot of money. I also read something and I don't think it's actually listed here, but I think Harley had tweeted about it, that we exceeded last year's record at 12:03 AM Eastern time on Black Friday. Three minutes into Black Friday.
We're like, "Hold my beer." And then it just goes, that's bonkers.
Also that peak time is interesting. So that's 9:00 AM Pacific.
5:00 PM in the UK, 6:00 PM in the rest of Europe.
Yeah. That makes sense. I'm surprised it was on Black Friday and not Cyber Monday. No, I'm not.
No. Black Friday makes the most sense, that's where people are actually looking for the sales. But globally it's a pretty decent time. It's really early for Australia and New Zealand though.
That's probably part of it. But yeah, I mean then you got the other side of the world where it's like midnight the next day, which is still a very normal time to be purchasing stuff.
Yeah. Dare I say the best time to make questionable decisions.
Not to say that merchant shopping from your store merchants is a questionable decision. But sometimes we realize that we accidentally had ... accidentally, I put that in quotes, purchased something at midnight or later. And then we're surprised when it arrives in the mail.
It's the best way to give a present to yourself truly. But also I've stayed up for sales or I've woken up early for product drops, like for nugget for instance, freaking nugget man. Nothing but respect to the founders of that company. They have developed a cult following that I haven't seen outside of street wear, where it's like people are waiting for the product drop.
It's a very interesting thing to be raving and waiting for a product drop for. I love it.
We got to.
Did you? Do you want to explain what it is?
Oh my gosh, I don't even know how to describe it. It's not for us by the way, it's for my sister-in-law. It's for my niece and nephew. But it's like a couch situation that is squishy that you can also make into a Ford and it can be an imagination station. I know, it's really popular. People love it.
I just don't know where it came from. Again, I'm not the target audience for it. And so I learned of it from you.
Oh yeah, because I had to wake up so early one day to get it. But you know what's interesting about it. So part of it for me is absolute nightmare fuel, because I live in a mid century modern house, lots of design-y stuff. And I also have a teenager, right. So we don't have like play pens and big soft mats and things that you need when you have a toddler and I remember that age well. This is more for that kind of age, right, maybe 10 and under, when you're still really in your imagination.
And I just imagine it just being all over my house and it just gives me a shutter inside. But I think my sister-in-law so far has secured four throughout different people in the family, and mad props to her because they're hard to get. And by the way it was a get whatever color you can get situation. It was like one of those type of drops. You're like, "Ooh, ooh, this color, that's sold out. I'll just get peach." Everyone's getting [crosstalk 00:13:31].
Do you know what the website addresses?
Oh, I don't. I don't think it's nuggets.com because I think I looked that up before. I think it's a go nugget or it's probably one of ... you know how DTC brands have a go nugget or join nugget, one of those type of ... let's Google it. In theory, I just want to point this out. Talk about great SEO, if I am googling nugget-
I found it.
... on incognito mode, it is shocking to me that something not affiliated with chicken nuggets is the first thing to pop up.
Did it show up?
It's number one.
Oh, and it's not an ad?
It's not an ad.
That is hard. It's nuggetcomfort.com.
All right. I'm going to link that in the show notes.
Check it out. I think they're back ordered through like April.
You know what else is back ordered through April is the pan from our place.
You mean I got one and you didn't.
I got mine, it is arriving just after Christmas.
It was such a great purchase. I'm so excited about it. I made another great purchase on Black Friday that I can't talk about until after the holidays, because my mom listens to the podcast and it's for her.
I love that.
Okay. The next awesome fact we want to talk about is consumers spent 89.2 USD on average per order throughout the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend. Consumers in Japan 106.4 USD, Australia 105.5 USD. And they spent the most on average ahead of shoppers in Canada, 103, and US 92.8, that's bonkers.
That's a lot.
Imagine if you're-
That's a high AOV.
That's what I was just thinking. What if you get your AOV up there all of the time?
That would make me very happy as a merchant.
My AOV is nowhere near a 100.
No, that's awesome. I feel like either people went in really knowing what they wanted or they saw some really great upsell, cross sell type situations.
I guess so, maybe an opportunity to move old inventory as well. But I don't know, I'm very curious what pushed it, because I mean this is globally across the board is almost, it's basically $90 per order.
Yeah, that's a lot. And I believe the current, I mean in Canada and Australia, and correct me if I'm wrong, their dollar is not at parity with US dollars.
So that's even more money.
Canada, I know Canada is 75% of, and then Australia is somewhere around there I think.
That's really like 150 Australian or something.
It is one USD is a dollar and 30, one Australian dollar and 36 cents, or however you want to say it, 1.36 AUD.
Okay. That's a lot of Australian bucks. Same in Canada, that's significant.
They're almost at parity. Yeah. That's interesting.
Canada's almost at parity?
Oh, with Australia, okay. I was like with the United States, I'm like, "Oh, goodness." I was like, "We might have to stop this podcast while I move some stocks around." Okay.
So that's really cool. Love the high AOV.
Yeah. Let's talk about where shopping took place most probably, the top selling cities over the shopping weekend were New York, Los Angeles and London, while the US, UK and Canada were amongst the top selling countries worldwide. This makes sense to me.
That makes sense to me as well.
Black Friday is very much a Western culture sale. And so of course you're going to see Western cultures jump on that more than any other place. And there's a large subset of merchants who live in New York, LA and London.
You know it's so funny, I gave talks in 2016, in 2017, in London. So 2017, it was a while ago. And one of the talk, I gave an SEO talk and it was at Shopify retail tour which we'll see what happens with that. But it was for Shopify merchants to come and learn from Shopify partners. Anyways, at the time I did three, oh, this was in 2017, I did three stops. I stopped in Bristol, London and Manchester. And I was doing SEO talk in the morning and a Black Friday Cyber Monday talk in the afternoon. And every time in 2017, I have to identify why Black Friday and Cyber Monday was such a big deal. And I was really drilling home this point. And even I would dare to say it wasn't that big of a deal in 2017. And they've really leaned into it culturally.
That makes sense. I mean, I would say it's similar to how we are starting to treat Singles' Day in Western culture, which is still very much barely a thing here.
Oh, and it definitely should be. And we should talk about that pretty Singles' Day next year, because I think it's a missed opportunity across the board when it comes to [inaudible 00:19:11]. I don't know why we're just like, "No, not Singles' Day." No, absolutely Singles' Day it's the biggest sales day.
Yeah. And I think that's something that people don't realize, Black Friday is not the biggest sales day globally.
No, it is not, Singles' Day is. Also I love the idea of just being single or not being single and be like, "I am buying myself stuff. Today I'm buying, I'm treating mine," that's the ultimate self-care.
Casually take the ring off, buy something and then put the ring back on.
That's it. That's what I'm going to do.
There are no rules here.
There are no rules anymore. Okay, let's look at who had the biggest growth of sales on the platform since last year. And the platform being Shopify, Japan 347% growth, Italy 211% growth, Germany 189% growth, and UK 122% growth, saw triple digit growth of sales on the platform since last year. I bet part of this has to do with market penetration. UK Shopify already kind of had its feet around, but has been expanding more so.
But I mean, this goes right back to what you literally just said about the retail tour in 2017. If it grew 122% in the UK since last year, you can imagine how minimal the sales were in the UK back in 2017.
Yeah. And even then it was we were going year over year, like 60%, 70%. It was bonkers till I pulled up data, retrospective data. So anyways, that's a cool fact.
Yeah. Anything else, like Japan kind of surprises me.
Japan surprises me as well. I don't think they are under a lockdown order. Am I correct?
I don't think they are.
I don't think they are, so that is more surprise. Because there are countries that are under lockdown order, I expect this number to be high, frankly. Because what else are we going to do?
I am googling this because I'm very, very curious. There are press releases specifically for Japan in Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
Oh, okay. And this kind of just reminds me a little bit of, and I don't know why this popped into my head, but here we go. Did you see the video? I think it was a TikTok, but then it was on Twitter. And then I think 2:00 PM we posted it, but I might've missed, this could not be the correct order of things. And it was an empty mall, the whole mall was empty except there was a line outside of Lululemon, a huge line outside of Lululemon. And I thought it was really interesting. Athleisure is very much a hit right now.
Oh man, I am only buying athleisure. Okay, I'm not really seeing, I'm not really finding much. I thought I'd find more in terms of growth there. But what I'm seeing from past conversations, I somehow ended up on a Reddit thread here.
I got to read it.
There are more stores that are starting to ship to Japan. So in 2019 Newegg started shipping to Japan. I think that additional market reach is leaning to the significant increase because okay, so we're talking ... what was the number? 347% increase over last year. I wonder what the actual numbers are.
Did they go from $1 to $3?
It's just like the law of big numbers that people just can't figure out. They're like, but it's only 1% growth. I'm like, "Yes, 1% growth from a hundred million dollars to the next, to 1% more." That's a big growth.
It's still a big growth, exactly, yeah.
We'll have to find out. Let's dig more into that. We'll report back.
What about mobile sales?
Yeah. This one's interesting to me. Mobile sales stayed relatively flat this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, compared to last year with 67% of sales made on mobile devices versus 33% on desktop, compared to 68% of sales made on mobile devices versus 32% on desktop in 2019.
I think this is interesting because I was expecting an increase in purchases made on mobile devices, but I wonder if the pandemic kind of put a slowdown to shopping on mobile, because everyone's already home, they already have access to their computers. They're already working from home. They could just continue to be shopping on their computer or on their desktop.
I also wonder how many big ticket items this year went on super sale on Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend that you normally buy on a desktop. To me there's a price point shift where it's like, "Ah, if it's over this, I'm buying it from my desktop because I want to make sure." And also I think you're totally right, there's more people who are working from home, so you're already awake. You're in front of your computer.
Yeah. You might as well use it to purchase.
You might as well buy something.
You might as well buy something. But I think it's really important to kind of stress the fact that it basically stayed the same, which means mobile is still important. Just because you didn't see this huge jump does not mean that you can be like, well, I mean, nothing really changed, so I'm just going to keep my strategy the same as well. Chances are you're not doing enough to optimize your mobile presence, mobile website or mobile experience right now. Use this number as an indicator that you're like, "Oh, okay, well, it's still equally as important and I'm not doing enough work to make it better, so I'm going to go ahead and make it better."
We've talked in length about how your conversion rate for mobile is naturally going to be lower than your conversion rate for desktop. Again, big ticket items, highly customizable items. Those kinds of things are just easier to purchase on a desktop, but we really need to be focusing on increasing that mobile conversion rate. There's always more work to be done.
Always more work to be done on mobile, make it fast, make it responsive, make it easy to work, make it work, easy to check out.
And I just want to make it pretty.
Okay. See, that [inaudible 00:25:47], check out the UX versus SEO episode. Okay. So let's talk about apparel and accessories. They held the top spot for sales across Shopify powered stores this weekend, with health and beauty and home and garden following, that is not surprising to me, is that surprising to you?
Not at all. Apparel and accessories that's usually, boutiques and stuff like that, they're often putting items on sale. That's when I usually do a lot of my clothes shopping as well. I don't do much clothes shopping in general. Health and beauty, we always see sales for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and home and garden obviously everybody's buying plants this year.
Yeah. Home and garden is maybe very different this year than in previous years. I'd love to see data on back past years for home and garden, because right now it's impossible to get anything for your house.
That's what I really want to see. I want a further breakdown of each of these verticals. What within home and garden was most popular?
Apparel and accessories again, people maybe are they buying a lot of sweaters? Are they buying a lot of dresses? Are they buying a lot of athleisure.
I think people are ... Okay, and you know I can't say it, is it hickey?
Oh, we Googled it.
The cozy. It's not from frozen, it's a cultural, it's Danish. But it's referenced and frozen both of them. Because I think that trend for apparel-
I forget it every time I read it. It doesn't come that way.
In my brain I know it's spelled, but that type of apparel and accessory right now is popping. Everlane and Lunya cannot keep in stock Agoora sweaters. They can't keep in stock cashmere. Cashmere is not cheap.
It's not cheap. No.
They can't keep in stock cashmere.
I'm afraid of buying more cashmere. I had two sweaters that looked almost identical, one was cashmere and one was not, and I accidentally got them switched when I put one in the laundry. I had not even worn it yet.
They were both lilac, and I'm never doing that again.
Well, first of all-
They were the same texture and they're same like thickness.
I don't know why I bought two sweaters that look almost identical either, like that is [crosstalk 00:28:24].
Or two lilac sweaters. Why did you buy two lilac sweaters?
Two lilac lightweight sweaters.
That must've just been the vibe at the moment. You're like lilac is the color.
This is what I need. This is how I'm going to get through my day. I think this was back in 2018. And so I have not purchased anything cashmere since 2018.
Fair. And you know me, I'm very mostly dark colors, but today I'm wearing sparkle tights.
Wow, I love that. I am wearing my [inaudible 00:28:52] joggers because I only wear these. Sucker.
I think tights are kind of like athleisure, and you can just wear them under comfy dresses.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. That's a great idea.
Yeah. That's my 2020 revelation for y'all. Okay. Overall BFCM, y'all crushed it. Congratulations everybody.
I hope you all feel like you exceeded your goals or met your goals. I would love to hear how it actually went for you.
So please tell us, we're friendly. We like hearing from you.
Please, please do tell us.
All right. Want to get to the the sad, depressing stuff now.
Yeah, we're doing good news bad news.
We're out of good news.
We're out of good news now. Into Shipageddon.
Boom, boom, boom, boom.
I'm going to say done, done, done. Okay. You might have already seen this.
So you're calling this Shipageddon because it is a nightmare. And we talked about this in October, September, about how we were concerned about what shipping was going to look like come the holiday season.
Turns out unfortunately we were correct.
I wish we weren't.
Oh, totally. Yeah, I wish we weren't either. There are a number of news articles that have been shared and tweets that have been shared, and I just kind of want to go through some of them and kind of talk about what's happening. The big story here is that retailers are getting capped on the daily shipments that couriers will pick up to actually deliver. In The Wall Street Journal there was an article, I'm sure you can find it elsewhere that's not paywall, but that's what I linked to. Macy's, Nike, Newegg, Gap.
Open it in incognito. What?
Yeah. Big retailers. So the Gaps of the world. I have a funny story about Gap as well. They completely halted pickups temporarily, zero orders being picked up.
Okay. I have a hot take here.
It's a little spicy. When I was reading that article, so all of these big brands, the big, big brands were told by, that's a FedEx, that one's UPS.
That one's UPS.
That one's UPS. They were told in advance by UPS, this is your allotment for shipping.
No exceptions. They're like, this is it. We only have so many people, so many trucks, so many airplanes, but this is it. The fact that Macy's, Nike, Gap didn't take that, run an early sale, be like we're doing early Black Friday to get ahead of that because they knew it was coming. We've all been expecting absolutely record breaking BFCM sales is absolutely beyond me. I feel so terrible to everyone who bought from them. I do not feel sorry for the big companies in this instance, we're about to talk about some companies I do feel bad for. But I do not feel bad right now for Macy's and Nike and Gap because they knew this was happening.
They knew this was happening. Speaking of gap, now talking the Gap family of brands. This is Gap and Athleta, I don't know how to say it. Old Navy, Banana Republic, they all are imposed with this limit here. And I placed an order from Old Navy for a couple of sweaters last night. And they're offering no rush shipping, which means it arrived, I think December 28th or something. And in order to convince you to choose that option they're doing daily $500 gift card giveaways.
I'm not in any rush to get my sweaters. I was like, "Sure, why not?" I don't want to ruin things for the people who actually do need the things sooner, and I can take up less space that way. I don't think I won the gift card, but I just thought it was interesting.
What if you did?
I'd be very happy, because I didn't even know it was going to be happening until I actually hit checkout. Amazon is also doing something similar, now they're not doing giveaway, somebody tweeted about it, I don't have a link to the tweet. But they're doing, if you choose no rush shipping, you get $3 in digital credit for something or other. They had just bumped it up to three from two the prior day. They're just desperate to get people to choose no rush shipping at this point.
Oh, I have very clearly told my entire family do not expect to get your presence on time, and I tried, like I mentioned about Hanukkah. I absolutely tried to meet every deadline I possibly could. And at this point it's like, you know what, if nothing else, we're going to have a great meal and some good times.
That it is what it is. Kelly, do you want to talk about The New York Times article in-house?
Yeah. New York Times published an article that we'll link to in the show notes, that's titled with 3 billion packages to go online shopping faces, tough holiday test. This article is in my opinion better than The Wall Street Journal article, because it's talking about smaller businesses here that are shaken by Shipageddon or whatever you want to call it, that's I guess we somehow ended up naming it that. But in there is a house which is a direct to consumer aperitifs brand and the owner is talking about how their shipments are limited to $500 per, not $500, 500 shipments per day that will be picked up.
And if they want to ship out anything beyond that they have to drive, use their own cars to drop the shipments off at the fulfillment center.
What a nightmare.
Not everybody has that luxury.
No. And how's this definitely a scaling startup, but they're no big box. They're not even close.
Not at all.
They're crushing it in their own right. But I don't think it's necessarily fair, not that I have an opinion. You know what? FedEx and UPS do not care what I have to say. But it stinks to see small businesses being negatively impacted, especially when they also did everything right.
They did everything right ahead of time, and they're still getting impacted, so that stinks.
One of my past clients mentioned that they're limited to 200 to 300 shipments per day, and they have over 3000 shipments waiting to be picked up.
Well, does that math work?
That's going to take a long time. Let's say, I mean, if we're assuming they're picking up 300 per day, that's 10 days assuming they got zero orders for the next 10 days.
Right. Which is impossible.
Which is obviously not realistic unless they halted taking orders. And again, they're not going to do that. It's just this constant backlog. And some, because basically if you're a merchant, you're doing this kind of volume, you likely have a rep at one of the careers, whoever you're using and they're telling you what's happening. And so for some of them I've seen that they're limited on weekdays, but they might be able to pick everything up on the weekends. But that's a big maybe, which leads me to a couple of tweets that were posted this past or last week.
This one from Matt A. Hertz gave three points saying, "My FedEx driver on Monday told me that he was doing as many deliveries by noon as he had all day last year Cyber Monday. My local post office has not been accepting scanning parcels since Tuesday." We're talking a week ago at this point. And FedEx contractor friend in Atlanta, Metro did 4,000 stops on Thursday, twice as many as usual. I know our local mail delivery guy, he's picked up the shifts for two people who are out because of COVID, and our mail is currently getting delivered between 7:00 and 9:00 PM. They're putting in long days. By the way consider tipping your post office carrier, understand that there are legalities around what you can give, the tip can not exceed $20. Just give a gift card or something like that, it's nice, just a thank you.
Just a thank you.
You want to read this other one?
Yeah. We saw something else on Twitter from Andy's brain and that is more local to me. And it's Ontario slash Norco, California UPS hub is only picking up their smaller packages. They have 50 pallets of larger items waiting to be picked up, which is 12 to 16 items per package. They usually send Wallis which are bigger trucks, but they have only received one Wallis pickup this week.
That sucks. I was going to try to make where's Wally joke, but I don't think it's appropriate. But also something's got to lighten the mood of just this deluge bad news that we have.
Yeah. And these are just a few circumstances. There are many, many more merchants that are suffering that we're not hearing their stories.
Absolutely. And it is really painful.
It's not going to get better until at least the end of the holiday season. I would not venture to say it's going to get better before we hit 2021.
I concur, I totally concur.
Because now we have all of the carriers who are, or all the merchants who are offering no rush shipping to be delivered after Christmas. And now we have all these packages that need to be delivered after Christmas that just happen to be delayed and it could take even longer. I like this Old Navy package that says it's going to be delivered by December 28th. I'm counting on getting it sometime in January.
Yeah, that sounds reasonable.
It is what it is. All I can say is as a customer, please have grace with merchants, because this is not within their control once it's like ... This is a really bad situation for everybody. Please do not take it out on the merchant.
Yeah, absolutely. Right now is just a time to show as much grace and empathy as possible. And Kelly and I are going to talk about what is in our control, what we can do. We know ship again next year, we are seeing this throttling. Let's control what we can control, because that's all we can do. Kelly, what's the first thing that merchants can do about it?
The first thing you can do is control your messaging. You hear me talk nonstop about how important is to show your shipping rates directly on your product page or in your header or on your promo bar or on your FAQ's page. Now is the time to tell your customers that they might experience a shipping delay. I updated my own site [inaudible 00:40:22] to basically put in red texts on every single product page that I cannot guarantee your order will arrive before Christmas.
I know there's likelihood that I'm losing sales because of it, because people are looking for Christmas gifts. But I would rather lose that sale than deal with the fallout of having a bunch of orders come in that are not going to be fulfilled in time, a 100%.
What kind of messaging other apps, what do we do?
There are a few things that you can do. First, as I mentioned, just update your website, update the promo bar, update your product page, just to have the copy directly on there. Second update your order confirmation email. Again, mention it in there towards the top. You want to, it gives you an opportunity to relay that message as many times as possible. And then lastly if the order is going to be delayed, if you know it's going to be delayed, the situation where you're capped at so many orders being picked up per day, send them an email and tell them.
The goal here is being as transparent as possible. I have never used this service before, but there's a service called wonderment. It's W-O-N-D-E-R-M-E-N-T, and their whole business model is helping you communicate the stalled shipments of where they are and what's happening. You're always keeping your customers informed and up to date on what's happening. There's never been a better time for an app like this to come out.
Yeah, that is very true. Double down on your customer support and customer success measures, be really polite when answering emails that might be ... Customer service can be so hard, right? Because you would get people coming to you and they're level 10 rage. And you're like, "Let's bring it down a second." And Kelly, I'm putting you on the spot. You have a whole master's degree in social work. I didn't warn her I was going to do this. What are great ways to diffuse the situation or diffuse that angry customer?
Acknowledge how they're feeling first and foremost, don't diminish how they're feeling. Honestly they don't care that other customers are dealing with the same thing, they care how they feel and you need to legitimize how they feel. You're not going to be able to just use every single situation. There are always going to just be angry customers. But the best thing that you can do is level with them, talk to them as if they're a human and that maybe this order that they had placed that's going to arrive late was supposed to be there for arrival for somebody's birth. I don't want to get too morbid here, but there's also a pandemic. Just try to be as ... show as much empathy as you can. Maybe you can offer some kind of incentive to make sure that they're happy, offer a partial refund or something like that. It's tough to say just off the cuff here, I do have this degree, but I'm better in situations.
Always emphasize, yeah.
Always empathize. And then this is not covered in a degree, but consider offering them a small token of your appreciation for the delay, whether that's a $5 gift card, $10 gift card that they can then use back at your store, whether it's if you haven't shifted out and you can still add things depending on where you are in your fulfillment.
A handwritten note.
A handwritten note. You can send that separately.
It might get there faster.
Get a postcard.
Yeah. Get a postcard. And maybe on that postcard you give a code. There's a lot of things you can do here. Just take that extra time and do it.
My biggest recommendation is just prepare yourself now for these conversations, train your team to have these difficult conversations, to have responses ready to go. But make it ... it's still a really important, again, this needs to be humanized, so don't make it seem like you're sending a script to them, and just blowing off how they currently feel. This is a very difficult time for everybody.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, with that great news, let's do some store shout-outs.
Yes. Let's do some store shout-outs. Rhian, what's yours?
I know we already talked about them, but I'm a big fan, and that is Haus, H-A-U-S, they make aperitifs, there's testing, not testing, there's simple packs, there's big packs. I really, really like, I think it's called citrus clove, but I could also just be making up the name of it. I really love that one. It's a low ABV aperitif.
It's very tasty. The store looks great. The store functions well, everything about it is awesome.
Makes for a great gift.
It makes for a great gift. Kelly, what about you?
My store shout-out is The Sill. I bought several plants year and one of the places that I bought those plants from is from The Sill, and I really appreciate their packaging for one thing. I appreciate that they've updated their entire site for the holidays, it's super cute. And their new headline is plants make people merry, send joy this holiday season with house plants. Important to note here as well is they're not using any language that's specific to one holiday.
Yeah. Buy some plants for people. I'm fine if you want to buy me some more plants as well. They have a holiday duo, is on a waitlist, but did you buy it? You probably bought it.
Is it the tiny Christmas tree and the Christmas cactus?
If it's that, yes.
Of course you did. They're so pretty. Okay. I don't need to buy anymore plants. I don't need to buy anymore plants right now.
Do you though? Are you sure? Do you see how many are behind me? How many more can you get? The answer is until you can't fit in your house anymore.
I want to live in a forest.
Well, you could make that a reality-
... while staying inside.
I do have to reason with my husband who has to put up with my plant collection. I was going to have shelves behind me where I'd be able to actually put some plants on there, but I can't put anything on the walls.
Oh yeah, I forgot.
All the duct work is right behind my desk. And so there's a giant metal sheet protecting everything. I was able to hang my diplomas and that is it. But I did put some twinkly Christmas lights on one of my plants that's behind me.
I love it. I love fairy lights, twinkle lights. Well, this has been great. Let us know what you think. Tweet at us. That's the best way to get in contact with us, tweet at us, email us.
Plenty of tweets.
And we'll see you next week.
Yeah. Thanks so much for tuning again. And thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We have a YouTube channel, so please visit us at youtube.com/commercetea. We post friendly Shopify store tear downs every Thursday, and there are a lot of fun. And I think you would really enjoy watching them as much as we enjoy recording them. If you like our podcast, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.
Please make us really happy. The really great thing about reviews as well is that you don't have to wait for them to ship. Just saying.
Give us the gift of a review this holiday season, please.
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