Art Business Supply Issues 4th Quarter
So we have all seen the news recently. As we continue to ride the pandemic and hurtle towards Christmas it isn’t all going to be plain sailing. We had fuel shortages here in the UK recently. This wasn’t because fuel was scarce but because it was in the wrong place. We had a shortage of drivers to get it to the right place. The military were called in to help ease the fuel crisis but now so many other products are being affected too. Are there going to be any art business supply issues and how will it affect you?
So why are supply issues happening?
Well the pandemic is still responsible for many absences due to sickness and isolating but here in the UK the situation has been made even worse. Brexit has lead to a lot of European drivers returning back to mainland Europe. We have an aging logistics work force retiring, low pay rates proving unattractive to new drivers. We have a huge backlog in LGV driving tests leading to a perfect storm. Even the issue earlier in the year where ships were blocked in the Suez earlier for several days is still affecting us.
What is in store for Christmas?
Well its inevitable that there are going to be shortages. Certain things are going to run out and we might have less choice as Christmas demand increases. The economy is starting to bounce back so there will be huge demand on logistics at a time when it is being stretched to the limit. Some products are going to be hard to get hold of and delays are bound to be encountered.
What should you do in your art business?
Well like many businesses it is especially important that you plan ahead this year. There aren’t many weeks left until Christmas now and if there is even the slightest possibility of running out of any materials such as packaging, paper, ink, painting material or any other raw material that you might need between now and the New Year order it NOW and order PLENTY.
If you are selling prints that you haven’t had printed yet, consider investing in stock and order now for your most popular lines. Look at last years figures, check with suppliers. Don’t leave it a moment longer or you might not have things on time.
Check your stock and prepare a list of everything you have available. Be ready to offer this list to customers as ‘ready to ship’ items where delays can be minimised.
Urge Your Customers To Order Early
Every year the last few weeks are a mad rush right at the end. Many customers will leave it to the last minute and put extra stress on you to get things to them on time. This year they have been watching the news. They know that problems are anticipated. Use this to your advantage and get them to order sooner than they would otherwise. There are already many reports of customers ordering much sooner this year – because of this and also because people are so desperate to have the Christmas they couldn’t have last year because of the pandemic.
Explain these issues to your customers. Ask them to order early to avoid disappointment. Set realistic last order dates. Consider bringing them forward if necessary. Once you have you last order dates ensure that you announce these to customers in good time. Maybe be a little vague at first just stressing urgency but as you get within 7 days of a last order date (home, overseas, stocked items, ordered in items) make sure you publish that date EVERYWHERE – in your social media, newsletter, website, blog etc). Don’t send huge newsletters at this time of year that won’t get read. Keep things simple and frequent to create lots of opportunities to grab your customer’s attention.
Do things well over the next few weeks and supply issues elsewhere could actually work to your advantage!
How is your run up to Christmas going? Have you noticed things start early this year? Have you experienced any supply issues?