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How to manage your webshop when you are on holiday

by Sofie Kerremans, Aug 9

According to research by SafeShops in 2020, more than 20,000 new online shops saw the light of day in Belgium. Besides, the Belgian e-commerce market has also been growing: +7.5%, to over €8.8 billion.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has an undeniable impact on the number of new web shops. During the lockdowns, many people decided to launch a small business online. Think of Etsy shops with handmade jewelry, face masks, second-hand clothing, etc.  

Have you recently launched an online shop? And are you considering taking some time off? If you run your small business on your own and have no or only a few colleagues, this can be a difficult choice. After all, customers are used to a webshop being open 24/7.   

In this article, we give you valuable tips on how to ensure that things continue to run smoothly during your holiday. With the correct approach, it is perfectly possible to take a break. Let’s dive in!

Outsource your webshop 

Temporarily assigning a replacement to manage your webshop is a common solution. By outsourcing your webshop, the delivery time of the orders remains the same and you avoid any fuss with customers.  

Obviously, the safest option is to temporarily outsource it to a colleague or to someone with sufficient knowledge. He or she knows your business, is familiar with the ordering process and will be able to find the right solution in case of difficulties. 

Even if you don't go on holiday that often, it is always useful to have someone on standby to assist you. Prepare a clear handover and introduce them to the ordering processes, providing you with a permanent back-up. 

Extend delivery times 

With this option, you can receive orders and continue to generate sales while you are on holiday, even without someone taking over your website. If you mention on your website that delivery times will be longer due to your holiday, customers will most likely understand.  

State clearly that orders placed during your holiday period will not be dispatched until a certain date. This way, customers know where they stand and are not disappointed because their order will arrive later than usual.  

We recommend that you inform your customers in the header or footer of your website. You could, for example, write something like: 'Dear customer, please note that we will be on holiday from 10th to 20th August 2021. From 21st August onwards, we will start working on your orders again.'  

An extra service to meet the customer's needs because of the extended delivery time is to offer something extra. You could, for example, offer a discount or give customers a free product with their (next) order.   

Choose e-fulfillment 

If you have a small webshop with a well-organized stock at home or in a garage, you can probably process all orders yourself. But as the number of orders increases, you will be spending more and more time on handling them. As a result, you lose the focus of your business and are only occupied with the ordering, packing and shipping of packages. 

Instead, you can switch to e-fulfillment, in which you outsource the entire logistics process to an external company - including customer service and the processing of returns. Whether using a fulfillment company is profitable for your business depends on various factors: the number of packages you send out each month, the space you need to store your stock, the number of unique products you sell, etc. 

Fulfillment is not necessarily a temporary holiday solution but rather a long-term investment. The advantage is that orders always go through, whether you are on holiday, get sick, or have an unexpected appointment. If you outsource the logistics part, your customers will always be able to place orders and receive them as usual.   

Don’t forget your customer service 

You have figured out to what extent you can keep your web shop orders going during your holiday. But what about your customer service? Depending on your preferences, it is very important to think about this in advance. A few options are:  

  • Via which channels can your customers contact you during your holiday? You can, for example, only remain available by email or phone. Make this clear on your website. This way, you avoid getting questions on all kinds of platforms, and you can keep an overview of all the questions.  

  • If you usually offer customer service by phone, you might consider using a call center, although creating phone scripts, among other things, will take some time. Another option is to leave an out of office message and refer to the possibilities you offer during your time off. 

  • Set up an out-of-office email if your mailbox will not be operational during your holiday. You can also use this email as an automatic return message for completed online forms or when customers have placed an order.  

Still in doubt about your holiday? As an entrepreneur, it is important to take a break occasionally. With the above solutions, we guarantee you that you can go on holiday without any worries. No matter which option you choose, your webshop is in safe hands.  

Are you ready to take the next step, and upgrade your webshop? Let’s get in touch! 

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