It comes as no surprise that more than eight out of 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season, as shown in a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association. Not only can increased holiday stress dampen spirits during the most joyous season, it can also inhibit productivity during the most demanding time for eCommerce fulfillment.
After all, running a successful business while maintaining a healthy personal life is challenging enough during regular seasons. When you take into account the added responsibilities of participating in family holiday traditions, and meeting demand of increased holiday sales from eCommerce customers — it can all become overwhelming..
But don’t stress, here are some tips from health experts and entrepreneurs alike, on how to manage a successful holiday season. With these tips, you can enjoy your family time and run a successful eCommerce store.
Tip #1: Declutter the now.
At any given time, we will find ourselves with half a dozen trivial things to do, bogging us down, making us feel behind and as if we may never catch up. Similar to David Allen’s approach to Get Things Done (summarized here), happiness author, Gretchen Rubin, is a strong believer that outer order contributes to inner calm.
Consider taking the “one-minute rule” approach to ridding yourself of physical and mental clutter. By not putting off small, seemingly unimportant tasks you can accomplish in one minute you can free up some inner mind space, if you will. Make that quick call to confirm your upcoming meeting with a client or finally unsubscribe to that email list that fills your inbox with promotions you have no interest in.
To avoid physical clutter of inventory, don’t forget to take special note of seasonal items unexpected to sell past a certain date. Have a promotional plan in place for the weeks leading up to that date to rid your inventory of seasonal items, as to avoid excess storage space and lost revenue.
Tip #2: Be a realist.
Stop breaking your back trying to deliver on impractical wishes. Stay realistic in your promises and be sure you can deliver on your word. When it comes to your online store, not delivering on promises during the stressful holiday gift-giving season frequently ends in bad reviews which hurt future business.
Rather than committing to unrealistic customer expectations of delivery by Christmas morning for orders placed late on December 23rd or agreeing to meet in-laws for a 6PM dinner date, don’t be afraid to under promise and over deliver.
Be aware of the recommended cutoffs for on-time delivery and be mindful that circumstances beyond your control can cause delays, such as abrupt changes in weather during winter months. Give yourself an extra day for delivery to avoid disappointing customers and an extra hour for dinner to avoid disappointing your mother-in-law. 😉
Tip #3: Optimism Breeds Opportunity.
While it’s great to prepare for the worst, always expecting the worst can be counter-productive and dwelling on the negative will only compound itself. By keeping a positive outlook, you are more inclined to make the best out of every situation that presents itself.
Unfortunately you can’t always anticipate the many things that could go wrong in a hectic season. Don’t underestimate the power of staying calm in stressful situations.
You may be so caught up on the fact that x product is out of stock to realize the opportunity in front of you to perhaps offer a special promotion on a similar, less popular product available on your site. Doing so will retain a customer in search of that last-minute gift and help move inventory.
Tip #4: Avoid Seclusion.
Entrepreneur and startup consultant, Peter Gasca’s tips for getting through a demanding holiday season include avoiding physical and mental seclusion by not shutting out the world. Avoiding seclusion can bring relief after a busy day. Engaging in social activities, talking to people and changing your scenery can bring forth new ideas and solutions.
A common reaction is to alienate yourself by separating from friends and family during stressful times. Instead of pushing your valuable support group away, try bringing them closer. While thoughts of crawling in a dark corner after a long day may be tempting, you will find more comfort in a happy place surrounded by good energy and holiday cheer.
The next time you’re stuck in traffic on the way home from the office, you may find yourself sitting in silence with thoughts of daunting to-do’s. Why not pull over and phone a friend? Use a non-productive moment to reconnect with loved ones. Or why not try taking a pit stop to relax on a park bench for a while, surrounded by fresh air and a pretty view? This can be the perfect antidote to stress if you’ve been sitting in an office all day.
Fulfillment Shouldn’t Be Stressful
RSL understands the holidays are tough, especially when attempting to balance the demands of eCommerce customers with the needs of friends and family. By implementing a few of these tips into your holiday plan, alongside a great fulfillment partner, there is no doubt that this holiday season will be one for the books!
Is your current fulfillment situation contributing to your stress? Get a free holiday fulfillment evaluation with one of our eCommerce experts today, it’ll only take a minute.