Set Expectations From The Very Beginning
Set proper expectations with EVERYONE you do business with
Setting expectations with those you do business with will prevent you from wasting a ton of time answering questions and dealing with future issues.
If you are running something as a pre-order, make sure you are padding your turnaround time with extra days to account for any unforeseen issues. It’s always better to state a longer turnaround time and then overachieve. That actually makes for an excellent customer experience.
If you’re running pre-orders, I recommend only ordering from ONE vendor each week so that your entire order is together. Make sure that vendor has a fast turnaround time from the RTS date. As an example, some companies have a 7-10 TAT from the pre-order RTS date. In that case, if the pre-order opened on the first, closed on the 7th, was RTS on the 12th, but then has a 7-10 day TAT, your order may not ship until 15 days after you closed the pre-order in your group. Then add in the time it takes to ship to you, the time you need to make the item, and the time it takes for your customer & you are very possibly looking at a 4 weeks from the date your customer purchase until the date your customer receives the order.
Again, I can’t speak for other screen print shops, so I’m going to use mine in this example.
Our pre-order transfers close every Sunday and are RTS the following Friday. We have a 1-2 business day turnaround time, which means your order may potentially not ship until Tuesday.
This would be my suggested timeline: post the pre-order on Tuesday, close it on Friday & invoice, cancel unpaid invoices on Saturday & place your order on our website.
This would be my suggested post in your retail group:
“Running a pre-order for these phenomenal tees! These have a little bit of a longer turnaround time, BUT we are offering a $2 INCENTIVE off each tee! I have to place my order by Sunday and expect to have them out the door to you within two weeks from my order date!”
This is also a prime reason that I say NOT to undercut your regular prices, because then it’s hard to offer incentives like $2 off of those tees that have a longer turnaround time.
If you set the expectations with your customers on what the turnaround time is, if they know what to expect, then they won’t be upset or frustrated about your turnaround times. BUT once you set the expectation, it is your responsibility to meet that expectation.