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When (or if) will you shut down for Christmas?

By Chris Dawson December 11, 2016 - 6:44 pm

With Christmas rapidly approaching it’s likely that you’ve already set the date you’re shutting the warehouse doors and calling it a wrap. It’s time to go home, do that last minute Christmas shopping and enjoy some well deserved down time with family and friends.

After this week, next week is the dodgiest week of the year for retailers as the stakes are so high for consumers. Will that present arrive on time. Should you risk shipping 2nd Class post on Monday or is it time to switch to 1st Class post. Do you want to trust the (admittedly generally superb) Royal Mail services in the last couple of pre-Christmas days, or are you going to up your delivery services to next day couriers or Royal Mail Special Delivery?

This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, final deliveries by most services will take place on the 23rd and there’ll be no last minute Christmas Eve deliveries unless your customer pays for a weekend delivery.

Of course those who use fulfilment services don’t have quite the same worries. If you use Amazon FBA you can happily carry on selling over Christmas and it’ll be Amazons problem. You can even fulfil eBay and website orders from FBA stock if you so wish.

When are you planning to shut down and will you be shutting up entirely for a long Christmas break or will you just take the bank holidays off work? Are you intending to remove stock from sale with holiday settings, or will you carry on selling as normal and deal with the backlog of shipping when you return to work.

It’s worth remembering that many people get bored on Christmas Day and the following bank holidays. This year, more than ever before, Christmas will be dominated by consumers with tablets and smartphones dual screening. When they see something interesting on the telly box or someone gets a gift they wish they’d received before, it’s literally a couple of seconds and an order can be placed.

Shutting up shop could result in a significant financial loss. Staying open will eat into your well deserved downtime. What will you be doing?

  • Andy R
    7 months ago

    Will be taking a break – making money isn’t everything.

    Not sure about your praise of Royal Mail, Chris.

    Only 1 out of 5 items I’ve ordered as a customer this Xmas have arrived yet – 4 out of 5 are late

    A very merry Xmas to all at Tamebay.

  • Joe
    7 months ago

    I’ll shut down next Monday and upgrade everyone to 1st class. I usually reopen on December 24th but as noted with Christmas being on Sunday I’ll be opening a bit earlier. I usually sell quite a lot on Xmas day.

    Any hint of snow and I’ll shut down earlier.

  • paddy
    7 months ago

    I’m going to start winding down around the 20th and close completely on the 23rd. Not even going to look at a work e-mail until the 4th of January.

  • Robert C
    7 months ago

    As Christmas falls on the Sunday I’m going to just treat it as a bank holiday weekend where eveything will be kept open, but I stop processing orders on the Friday (23rd) and start again on the Tuesday (27th).

  • Stephen
    7 months ago

    Only shut for the days that Royal Mail do not offer collection – However as we are on Amazon someone will still be checking messages etc daily so not officially “Shut Down”

    • Richard
      7 months ago

      Exactly what I do.

      The week before Christmas is tainted by customers asking for ‘guaranteed’ deliveries, the week after is much better because they’re just grateful that you’ll post the stuff at all.

      Richard.

  • Peter King
    7 months ago

    Stopped selling last weekend, the last automated dispatch+7 day feedback request will go out tonight with a reminder to contact us urgently if the item hasn;’t arrived.

    Will leave the country for a month t the end of the week and anyone contacting us after Friday will get a f*** off auto reply.

  • SAM
    7 months ago

    Will stop with eBay after the weekend, but till Christmas Eve then open up again. Am only doing this with eBay due to silly expectations.
    Have already pulled all international on eBay ages ago, and am now pulling that on the other markets.
    Then close again at new year as eBay don’t look at regional differences in holidays then open again. We actually get an extra weekend this year compared to the last two.

  • Claire
    7 months ago

    Closing on Friday evening, taking hubby to watch Rogue One to celebrate, he’s worked like a trooper this Xmas period on very little sleep. Will open Xmas Eve. ‘Off’ next week but no doubt will have to deal with the ‘where’s my order’ last minute mither.

  • Chris
    7 months ago

    How do you guys deal with eBay?
    Do you set holiday settings ‘delay with order’?
    Or do you complete hide all listings?

    • Joe
      7 months ago

      I block all purchases. Too many people don’t see the tiny ‘this seller is away’ at the top so allowing people to still buy would be a nightmare.

      I might lose some sales but I’ll keep what’s left of my sanity.

    • Gary
      7 months ago

      As I go away I remove all listings. Not keen on advertising seller is away from the listed business address. Watchers can still view listings when holiday settings turned on. Set auto response for any messages received so a completely clean break is possible. Don’t receive any negs for pre Xmas sales so if any buyers do send messages and receive the auto response they are understanding. I guess though that this understanding nature of buyers may be dependent on the type of products sold and the maturity of the buyers.

    • 7 months ago

      For the past few years, I’ve done the holiday settings mode on ebay that let’s buyer buy, but advises away until after the hols. I put a custom message on as well.

      Some people don’t spot the message, but it only leads to a few cancellations and “where’s my item” messages. It is a small notice that ebay really need to improve on. Something like the message they pop up for sellers if you list a branded item would surely be possible and an advantage for everyone (if you’ve not seen it, giant orange box at the top of the page)

      The number of items ordered is slower than usual, but still it will probably mean I have to pop in for one full day over the period just to pack, but other than that, it’s sitting around doing Xmas stuff, still getting some income. It’s worth the minor hassle for me.

      This is the first year selling on Amazon, which I think will have to go into complete shutdown, as does everything else online and offline.

      Not bothered about crooks potentially knowing the business premises will be closed from reading ebay holiday setting mode. I don’t think they think that way. There’s nothing special about the time between xmas and new year, compared with overnight and weekends throughout the year. As long as it’s alarmed, CCTVed, monitored and secure, there’s no difference.

    • Chris
      7 months ago

      Is there a way as soon as somebody buys something it automatically sends them a message through eBay or to their email saying we are away?
      I know it works when they message you, but how can the message from them be cut out?

      Is this possible within eBay/PayPal normal system?

  • 7 months ago

    We’ve experimented with various different ways of shutting down over the past few years from closing on the 23rd and re-opening on the 2nd to closing those days but opening up one day around the 29th so we don’t have a huge backlog on the 2nd.

    As a large Amazon and eBay seller it’s not really possible for us to shut down at all any more. This year we’re only closed when the couriers don’t collect. We’re happy for the staff to work skeleton shifts though so as long as we have enough coverage then staff can still put holidays in.

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