What is the scariest possible situation you can imagine as a seller this season? Not enough orders? What about getting more sales than you can handle? Even the most prudent sellers sometimes miss a step and end up overselling products. If that unfortunate situation becomes a reality for you, here are some important steps to help you resolve the issue and keep everyone involved on the NICE list.
1. Take a deep breath. It sounds superfluous, but before you contact your buyer, you want to make sure your head is clear and communication is professional.
2. Contact the buyer, immediately. Explain what happened, and be honest. It may be unnerving, but it’s a necessity.
3. Give them options. Can you dropship the item from another seller? Is there a comparable item they might want instead? Would they just like a full refund? Work with them to come to a solution that they’re content with.
4. Anticipate possible negative feedback. We don’t wish this on you, but it may happen. The holidays are a high stress time, and buyers will be especially grumpy if something goes awry.
5. Check in with them. In the meantime, keep communication open to make sure they received their package (or refund), and everything is to their satisfaction. What else may they need?
6. If you do receive a negative review, try to resolve it. Given that the issue began on your end, send them an apologetic message, and request their feedback be edited or removed. If your relationship with the buyer has been cordial on both ends and you’ve been polite, sensitive to their stress and quick to resolve the issue, the buyer may consider removing negative feedback. If the buyer was angry throughout the process, you may not want to just leave it be.
7. For future reference, be proactive. Did you order enough inventory this year for all products, or were there a few you didn’t anticipate being as popular? Take a look at current trends, which of your products are best-sellers, and any other report that may help you better forecast, so you know what to order and how much. Was this an issue of not communicating well with your supplier? Consider enlisting a tool that facilitates communication between you and your suppliers or warehouses, so that this issue won’t happen again. Then, decide if now is the time to start using an inventory management tool. Ecomdash syncs with your sales channels and updates your inventory everywhere, and in near real-time. You can set low-quantity levels, and when an item reaches that threshold, ecomdash will send you an email alerting you that it’s time to reorder and even queue up a purchase order for you. We’ve helped our customers mitigate the risk of overselling, and avoid stock outs that can result in disgruntled buyers and negative feedback.
We sincerely hope you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re scrambling to find a product for a customer. Instead, we’re hoping to hear in January that the 2014 holidays were your most successful season to date! Do you have any ideas for how to avoid stock outs in the first place? Share your tips in the comments.