Shipping Update #2
As promised I am here to give another update from the last time we checked in regarding our shipping situation.
What We’ve Been Up To
- Communicating with our third-party fulfillment company daily to expedite this process as much as possible
- Offering the free printable PDF for those waiting to print and use while they wait for their planners. Although this isn’t the ideal solution, I hope you still are able to take the time at the beginning of 2021 to write down your goals and plan out your 2021. The full 2021 Weekly printable PDF is available here. As always you can access all of our other PDFs for free here.
- Honoring refund requests to cancel your order for orders not yet shipped: I understand this is not what you expected from us and we are willing to honor any requests to cancel your order and get your money back. You can find out more on submitting an order cancelation request here. Our team will assist you with your order as soon as we can.
- Responding to emails day and night (we answer close to 600 emails a day) and are working hard to get back to you as soon as possible
- Created a “Your Gift is on its Way” digital graphic template that you can send to anyone you’ve bought gifts for so they can still get excited about what’s to come.
Q: How are things looking in terms of shipping now?
A: We have good news! After many growing pains, we are up and running with our new third-party fulfillment company and they are able to ramp up the number of orders we are able to process FOUR TIMES as fast as we could do in our little warehouse! This is an AMAZING start! Although they are doing their very best to get these orders out to you, we project they will need 7-12 business days to get caught up on our backlog of unshipped orders. After that, we should be back to business as usual processing orders within 3 - 5 business days. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Q: My order from 11/30 has still not shipped, why?
When our fulfillment company imported orders placed from 11/30-12/14 they made a mistake and did not separate it chronologically as we had requested. This caused thousands of orders from 11/30-12/14 to be treated as one very large day. Because their fulfillment centers started shipping the orders in the most efficient way (by batching types of products and prioritizing that vs when the order was placed), those orders placed between those dates are shipping out of order. When we caught the error, it was too late as their warehouse had already started shipping. Unfortunately as of this morning, we still have orders from those dates. I am so sorry if you are one of those very unlucky orders that have been waiting. At this point the order in which they ship is out of our hands. We have expressed our disappointment to our fulfillment company and they have ramped up their shipping efforts and assured us that they are doing everything they can to clear all orders left from 11/30-12/14 by 1/3/2021. As long as your product is in stock, we will be shipping these orders to you as soon as possible.
How are you preventing this from happening in the future?
We will be importing orders on a day-to-day basis on our end to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Q: Why are you still pushing promos?
A: Due to the dated nature of our product, and as a small business, we simply cannot afford to not sell our inventory. Essentially every day that passes our product loses value, which is why we must continue to push sales even when our fulfillment is backed up. We feel confident that we will be able to tackle our current backlog of orders within 12 business days (1/13/30) and get back to processing shipping within our normal 3-5 business days. To ensure that customers placing new orders know what they can expect from us, we have updated the product page of every physical product to reflect the current expected processing time (14-18 business days).
Q: Why do you keep running paid ads?
A: Similar to the previous answer, we are a small company without the budget to not sell our dated products. The chain reaction of the cards the pandemic dealt us this year led us to having more stock than we projected and we decided to continue to push paid ads. Once we realized last week we wouldn’t be able to ship as quickly as we had hoped through our third party fulfillment company, we decided to stop running paid ads until we get our backlog of orders down.
Q: I sent you an email x days ago, when can I expect a response?
A: We are working on answering emails day and night to handle as many tickets as possible, as quickly as possible. Although we were prepared to take on a large number of emails during our busiest time of the year, current shipping delays coupled with overwhelmed shipping carriers has exacerbated the number of tickets we usually receive. Currently, our wait time is 5-7 business days. We are responding in chronological order, please please be patient and do not send a follow-up email as it moves your email to the end of the line, and we can only organize all of the emails from oldest to most recent. Note: We respectfully request that you do not reach out to our Brand Ambassadors about your orders as they have no control over our shipping delays.
Q: I got an email saying what I ordered was out of stock. Why did you sell me something you didn’t have?
There was a human error on our end where we had shipped a large bulk order to a client but forgot to update our inventory stock on our website to reflect that. This led to about 100 people being able to place orders on products we no longer had. When we realized this, we offered replacements or refunds on those products that we cannot fulfill because we are simply sold out. I understand that it is super frustrating, especially if you are excited about a particular style of planner to find out that what you ordered has been sold out. I apologize for this error.
How are you preventing this from happening in the future?
We have adjusted our standard operating protocol to ensure that every bulk order is taken out of our inventory count on the website and we set aside additional inventory on reserve to accommodate for human error.
During our Kickstarter days, I found myself in constant reflection, trying to find the silver lining through all the growing pains. I decided in this update to share some of these with you.
1. Focus on what you can control.
I realized after reflecting on everything that has happened that so much was out of my control: shipments being delayed from China due to the strain on carriers caused by the pandemic, human errors made by our very lovely and very human team, our inability to ship the volume we projected due to staffing limitations because of COVID, and all of the growing pains I did not foresee as we took a risk to outsource fulfillment to get orders out as quickly as possible. All these stacked together to create the perfect storm. The key to reducing my anxiety has been doing a few big important things that were in my control (like writing the last update and closely communicating with our fulfillment company) to make me feel more hopeful and that things were moving in the right direction.
2. Apologize and mean it.
I know I’ve said it before but I will say it again, I am sorry. I know the joy of starting your year with a fresh planner, and I understand that many of you will not be able to do so because of our delays. I really wished I had communicated more to you all because you deserve that. I know this perfect storm caused a damper on many people’s relationships with us. I understand that in hindsight this situation could have been handled a lot better in so many ways and will be diligent to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
3. Continue to be transparent, even when it’s imperfect.
This one is hard especially when there are so many things to be done behind the scenes. I will continue to write these updates and be as transparent as possible as we move through this storm.
4. Don’t take it personally.
I know that some people are understandably upset, and if I had the time to sit here for hours and respond to every single comment, I would. But knowing that I only have a limited amount of time each day, I can’t do that without jeopardizing my mental health. I know I must focus on the things I can do, which is keep people updated via these posts, and do everything I can behind the scenes to get us out of this storm. I have had people cuss me out over and over again online demanding a response, commenting on every single post enraged, making social media an unsafe place for my mental health at this time. I wish I could snap my fingers and get everyone the instant response they deserve, but I hope you can understand that real people are handling the tickets and shipping these orders by hand, and they can only go so fast. I think we have been so conditioned by billion dollar businesses to get things quickly or get our money back so often because they can afford it, that we expect so much from small businesses. I know we have let some people down, and many of you are understandably upset, and again, I am sorry. Please if you are going to email my team, know that this situation is beyond their control, and they are real humans with feelings. They are doing their best to make things right as quickly and efficiently as they can.
5. The storm doesn’t last forever.
Honestly, I’ve been overwhelmed by all of the things that I can’t control. Embarking on this journey to fix it all has been so daunting and anxiety-inducing. The past few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life, but the past couple of days have been better. I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I have faith in our team and the #PashFam to get through it. One day at a time, one step at a time.
When I started this company I would have never imagined all the growing pains it would take to get it where we are today. At times I find the stress disconnecting from my body to push through whatever I need to do that day and when I do, I put my hand over my heart to just take a minute to breathe and remind myself that we will get through this. The fatigue of handling this on top of being in a pandemic, losing loved ones, and not being able to see my community has definitely made this situation more difficult. I hope that you all find ways to be as kind to yourself as possible as you navigate whatever you’re going through.
Again, thank you all for your patience, support, and understanding of our situation. All of the comments and honesty that we received from everyone touched my heart and really raised my spirits. When I was typing last week's update I was feeling really hopeless, emotional, and exhausted. After reading some comments, I was reminded of why I love this community so much. Thank you for giving me the grace and understanding to see our inherent imperfect humanity and for being supportive through the good and the bad. Thank you again for the words of encouragement, understanding, and patience, it really means a lot to me and the company.
We will continue to do our best given the cards we’ve been dealt.
Angel and The Passion Planner Team