Summer time equals holidays! But what do I do about my online shop?
“Always on” is the motto of the Internet and as such, online shopping should therefore always be available. However, what happens when you want to go on holiday yourself and don’t have anyone to manage your online shop? Can the shop go on holiday? Of course! In this blog post, I’ll explain what you should be aware of and what legal considerations there are. With a bit of forethought, your trip away will be fine for both you and your customers.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Imagine you’ve just ordered something online that you can’t wait to get and expect it to arrive within the usual delivery time period. But it doesn’t come and two weeks later you still haven’t received the package! In this scenario you’d surely be angry. Customers of your online shop would be too if orders made while you were on holiday piled up without being processed. This is of course the worst case scenario for online shop owners: angry customers, lost revenue and the possibility of receiving negative reviews on Facebook and elsewhere online.
What does the law say?
Some online shop owners assume that a simple note on their website is enough to alert customers to holiday times. But think again! That may be a good start but it’s not enough. Legally speaking it’s necessary to provide a set delivery date or delivery window. A general description like „On holiday from the 11th until the 25th of August”, is therefore insufficient. According to European law, “unless agreed otherwise in the contract, you must deliver the goods without undue delay no later than 30 days after the contract is concluded. If you are unable to deliver within 30 days or the time agreed, the customer can request that you deliver within an additional period of time. If you fail to deliver within this additional period, the customer may terminate the contract and ask to be reimbursed.”
Therefore it’s important to keep this rule in mind when planning your time off. Make sure you adjust all relevant sections of your website as required.
My tip is that if you expect a great deal of orders while away on holiday, be sure to plan extra buffer time into your delivery dates so that you can ship all pending orders on time when you return.
In addition, it’s also important to note that in your absence, you’ll still need to be contactable electronically or by phone. Simply putting your shop on holiday mode isn’t enough as you will still have business responsibilities, for example, responding to correspondence with partners and suppliers. Taking your shop offline is not recommended as it can lead to a drop in your search engine ranking.
At this point you may now be wondering if a ‘staycation’ is the only option. Don’t worry! As long as you follow these tips, nothing will stand between you and your holiday:
- Inform your regular customers ahead of time and offer a pre-holiday sale.
- Notify customers in advance on your website of your holiday plans.
- Review any online advertising campaigns and reduce your ad budget during the time you’re away so you aren’t spending money unnecessarily.
- Review all of your automated e-mails and ensure that your holiday period is noted where relevant.
Update all the sections of your online shop that have to do with delivery times and consider taking a look at the terms and conditions as well.
All done? Time to go enjoy your holiday!