How to Take Pre-Orders for Thanksgiving
The holiday season is upon us, meaning sales and stress are again at an all-time high for business owners.
Despite current economic conditions, Adobe predicts consumers will spend $13.3 billion on groceries while planning their holiday feasts — an increase of 10.5% from last year.
If you’re running a food business, that statistic may be as daunting to read as it is exciting. A surge in sales usually goes hand in hand with a surge in kitchen chaos, customer demands, and logistical nightmares. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to?
Take preorders to claim your piece of the Thanksgiving pie while maintaining your sanity ;)
Why take pre-orders for Thanksgiving?
Pre-orders uncover your best sellers in advance. Use this data to further promote your best products in real-time. It’s a fool-proof way to attract new customers, and you can use text marketing to get the word out quickly. The result? An uptick in revenue and brand awareness.
Plus, by taking pre-orders, you can expand your offerings before you invest in inventory – eliminating the risk of a costly mistake. Get creative; you never know what might be your next hit.
Minimize costs associated with food waste
Before you order an excess of inventory that turns into food waste, take pre-orders during a set time frame. Once orders are in, you’ll know the exact quantities you’ll need to buy to meet demand and avoid unnecessary food waste.
The holidays are crazy for everyone. Don’t burden your customers further by asking them to queue in line the day before the big event.
Happy customers are loyal customers. And, generally, the more convenient it is to place an order from you, the more orders you’ll get.
The customer isn’t the only one whose life gets easier with preorders; yours does too! We’re sure you’re no stranger to the holiday ordering surge and the impact it may have on your ability to produce consistent, high-quality products.
With pre-ordering, you can establish an organized schedule ahead of time and avoid that craze and angry customer phone calls altogether.
How to take pre-orders for Thanksgiving
Taking pre-orders may sound intimidating at first, but with a bit of planning, you’re in for a business owner’s logistical dream.
Step 1: Set up a unique e‑commerce store for your Thanksgiving menu
Setting up a unique store specific to your Thanksgiving pre-order menu ensures your customers can find what they’re looking for. Plus, a dedicated store will enable you to enforce ordering rules specific to your Thanksgiving offerings.
Step 2: Establish your fulfillment day(s) and methods
Fulfillment is when and how your customers will get their pre-ordered goods into their hands. It’s essential to establish these dates early, as your ordering timeline will be based on these deadlines.
Some things to consider include:
- What options should customers have to retrieve their goods? Pickup? Local delivery? Shipping?
- Should I offer pickup on multiple days? Just one day?
- What day should customers get their goods to ensure the freshest product on Thanksgiving day?
Step 3: Establish what day you’ll start taking orders
An important but often overlooked aspect you’ll need to consider is when exactly you’ll start taking orders. Will you go live with this store today? Or do you want to schedule a date for this store to ‘open’ online?
Using Bottle, you can schedule the date on which you want to launch this store in advance. By planning in advance, you also can gear up text marketing campaigns to drop your customers a unique ordering link that pulls them right into your Thanksgiving menu.
Step 4: Establish how long you’ll take orders for
Consider a timeline sufficient enough to launch your store, analyze which products are doing best, further promote those products, and draw in multiple waves of orders.
We suggest you keep your ordering window open for at least two weeks.
Step 5: Set an ordering deadline
In translation: “Orders must be in by November 18th at noon.”
A strict ordering deadline ensures you’ll have ample time to batch production before your fulfillment date. As a bonus, clearly stating that deadline helps you avoid the back and forth from the “can you please squeeze me in?” crowd.
Step 6: Go live
Whether you plan in advance or go live same-day, you’ll need to get the word out there. Social media and email are great tools to increase awareness, but marketing your menu over text is the most effective way to lock in sales.
Segment your customers into lists and drop those lists your menu over text. Even better? Include an ordering link in the text that pulls each customer into their profile for the fastest, smoothest checkout.
Step 7: Compile your orders
Before you step into the kitchen, make sure you have a detailed list of everything you need to produce. Software like Bottle allows you to download batched order reports in one click.
Step 7: Batch production
Take that order sheet and head to the kitchen! It’s time for the fun part :)
Step 8: Fulfill
It’s time to add packing slips and head out the door. Use your order reports to track who’s picking up from where, or upload the report directly into routing software like Routific for efficient deliveries.