Well, it’s Cyber Monday. Are you excited yet?
After all the hype centered around Black Friday and stores, both online and off-line, setting one-day sales records how could today possibly be any better?
If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of hearing about sales and waiting for the “You’ve got mail” sounder to go off in anticipation of the “once in a lifetime Cyber Monday sales event” your favorite store is having.
As a consumer, I haven’t spent a single penny on Christmas gifts yet. I can’t be alone in that. Most guys wait till the very end to go out and buy things that have a 50/50 shot of being thrown away or returned for in-store credit.
This year, everyone on my list is going to get a Clapper. You know, the device you plug your lamps and other assorted things into and when you clap your hands they turn on and off. I figured it’s a gift someone will find useful and those who don’t will be too embarrassed to return it.
As an eCommerce guy, I’m lamenting this year’s sales-inducing holidays. It’s the first time since 1994 I don’t have an online store I can use to exploit the festivities of the day.
I’m missing the months of planning, bulking up inventory, moving items around the warehouse to optimize the pick route, bribing vendors to take part in co-operative promotions, asking employees to work overtime and Saturday’s, begging UPS and FedEx to pick up later in the day and keeping my fingers crossed that everything electronic doesn’t shit the bed from the added stress.
If you’re an eCommerce store owner, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Right about now, you’re probably hoping the email you sent out this morning made it to your customer’s inbox rather than spam folder. Your fingers are crossed that the orders coming in at a rapid pace will continue on throughout the day and into the night. Instead of going to lunch, you hit the church on the corner to pray that you don’t run out of inventory and your staff doesn’t call off sick tomorrow when they see the amount of orders they have to pack.
It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong.
I actually loved this time of year in eCommerce. I can remember working in the warehouse packing and shipping orders and keeping everyone moving along at a steady pace. I’d keep a close eye on the queue board making sure customer calls weren’t getting backed up, and if they were, I’d drop the order I was packing and hop on a phone to take orders.
I looked forward to 4:15pm when we would batch out the shipping computers in anticipation of the shipping carriers arriving at the loading dock. I’d stand around and wait for the count to spit out and marvel that we shipped over 500 orders a day during peak holiday season – a 25% increase over a “normal” day. Volume was so high during the season, that both UPS and FedEx would send a tractor trailer over earlier in the day to take pallets of packages while a package car came later to pick up more.
It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. We all would take a collective deep breath the week between Christmas and New Years and use that time to get the warehouse back to normal, take year end inventory and get ready for January 2nd when everyone who got a pet for Christmas shopped even more and kept our holiday volume going through the first quarter.
Ah, the memories.
On this Cyber Monday, I’m fielding calls, texts, instant messages and emails from eCommerce store owners giving me updates on their sales, wondering if I got the email they sent out this morning, looking for a solution for a customer who wants to use two coupon codes on one order and complaining to me that the multiple add-to-cart thingie isn’t working on their site.
It’s a lot different than running around the warehouse looking for the Ferret Santa Suit and taking a tape measure to it because a customer on the phone wants to know if it’s wide enough to fit her 12 pound weasel.
Here’s hoping your Cyber Monday lives up to the hype and if it does…. treat your staff to a pizza party on Friday. They’re going to deserve it!