It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time again: time to start thinking about doing your Christmas shopping. I know, I know… You are probably rolling your eyes right now, but this time I am serious. I myself am a procrastinator. A last minute Linda. Always getting those last few items in a rush on Christmas Eve. That won’t work this year. We will have to do some early shopping to make sure that all or some of those requests on people’s lists get under the tree.
Throughout the past year or so, we have all seen so many changes. I will not get into all of those here as we know them all too well. One that has been impacting Olivia Shoppe, as well as pretty much everyone else, are the issues with the supply chain and shipping issues. Before the pandemic I don’t think many of us thought about the day to day of how things get from the manufacturer to the store or our house. We ordered it and it shipped. Sometimes there might be some delays but they were the exception, not the norm. Now we see more and more stories about the cargo ship bottlenecks and driver and retail worker shortages. The impact has created a shortage of items, longer shipping times and an increase in price of products and shipping.
We have seen the effects of these issues at Olivia Shoppe. This has led to shipping delays, inability to order or reorder some of our favorites, and an increased cost of products and shipping. What it boils down to is that items may be a little more expensive and hard to find. Shipping costs and lead times will likely increase, hopefully just temporarily.
Here are a few helpful hints to navigate this challenging shopping season:
1. First, make sure you start shopping early. Like now would be good. You can count on shortages, shipping delays, staffing issues, etc. Big and small businesses may encounter issues with fulfilling orders. Some businesses presell items in anticipation of receiving the goods in a timely manner, but are not able to do so. Olivia Shoppe is small family owned business with four of us working here. We work hard to keep our inventory online up to date, but unfortunately we make some mistakes. This can mean some very disappointed customers. Make sure to track your order fulfillment and shipping.
2. I love holiday gift guides and they are an ideal way to get great gift ideas. This year if you see an item you really want, get it! Don’t wait. It may be gone. If you are old enough to remember the Cabbage Patch Kids, think that situation for more items. I am dating myself with that. Seriously though, I am not just trying to scare you into buying things. We are seeing the shortages affect what we are receiving and being able to reorder.
3. Check out your local brick and mortar stores. They may have many unique and hard to find items for Christmas. Many small stores either don’t have a shoppable website or may not have all their inventory online. Going in to shop as opposed to just simply shopping online can give immediate access to the products and help in person with your shopping and purchase.
4. Look for special sales and shipping offers for online purchases. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great , but possibly crazy times to shop. Many stores may be offering special sales and free or discounted shipping between now and Christmas. The earliest you are able to take advantage of any offers, the more likely you are to get the items you want and have them in time for Christmas at a better price.
5. Make sure to follow your favorite stores and brands on social media. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts are valuable tools for Christmas shopping. Many stores and brands will feature product launches, new items, gift guides, giveaways, sales, and shopping offers on their social media accounts.
So let the Christmas Shopping games begin. May the odds be ever in your favor.