Particularly in e-commerce, taking a holiday can be extremely stressful. Online stores are up and selling 24/7, and the products need to be delivered in time no matter what. Especially if you are a small business owner or just starting out your e-commerce business, taking a holiday might seem like a far-away dream.
Here's our holiday task list.
Stay on top of your game and start planning your vacation time. Inform your stakeholders of the primary point of contact during your absence. Make a task list for your staff or the person in charge while you are away. If you know you need to check the emails and social media during the vacation, plan when you will be available.
Document your processes
What does your customer service process look like? How do you handle customer requests on social media? Write down your guidelines or practices. It may take some time, but it pays off if you plan to hire holiday help. Onboarding a new person is much easier when they have someplace they can refer to. Try to document the processes as an ongoing part of your operations so that the documentation task itself doesn't become a daunting task.
Find short term help
Consider hiring help to cover for your holiday so that you don't need to stress out. Short-term help is best for tasks that are not too overwhelming, at least if you don't have time to do a lengthy onboarding with the new staff.
Document your daily tasks for a couple of days to get a clear picture of tasks that need to be handled. What do you do daily, which jobs are must-do, and which can wait until you return?
Automate as much as you can
Automation can help reduce repetitive tasks and manual work – if used wisely. Things you may want to consider automating during your absence could be:
- Social media scheduling: automate and schedule your social media posts in bulk. There are plenty of tools available to do this, consider for example, Sprout Social, CoSchedule, Feedly, Tweetdeck or Post Planner
- Email automation: abandoned cart emails or re-ordering emails with special discount codes are some of the most common email automation strategies e-commerce businesses use. Check your current email automation workflows and see that they are up and running for the time you are away.
- Workflow automation for Order Management: where to even begin – you can automate so many things in the order fulfillment and order management phase. A best practice is to make a solid plan. Set notifications to stay alert if something needs your attention; otherwise, let automation deal with as much as you can. OGOship's customers have many opportunities to play around with automation in the order management system myOGO. You can, for example, set rules to change the shipping type, add a voucher or additional product if the order value exceeds a certain amount. Get creative!
Outsource order fulfillment to a 3PL partner
One of the least stressful ways to handle order fulfillment is outsourcing it to an e-commerce-specialized 3PL partner. Outsourced 3PL is usually beneficial in terms of costs and faster shipping times when your e-commerce business starts to ship around 100-200 shipments a month. It's subjective, though, and depends on the unique situation of each merchant.
Plan for your return
Make a to-do -list and write down everything you need to remember when you return. This way, you don't need to remember and stress about it while you are gone.