We still are hearing projections of national shipping delays during this upcoming holiday season affecting all commerce areas. According to industry data, pandemic-fueled, explosive growth of e-commerce online orders continues, and all shipping networks are experiencing delivery delays. Combine this with regional staffing shortages, and we expect irregular and slower deliveries will likely continue throughout the rest of this year.
Whether you are a school and sports photographer or a portrait/wedding photographer, these three tips can help you plan ahead for this fall and holiday season.
Block out the necessary time
If you are using one of the recommended school and sports volume workflows there is a simple formula for determining how long it takes to work up those orders. For every hour of photography plan for ½ an hour of processing. (Warning! Math ahead!) So, if picture day takes two photographers four hours to complete, that is the equivalent of one photographer taking eight hours (2×4=8). That means your office person is going to spend about four hours to process the orders. If you add in the daily interruptions, this means one data entry person can enter one and a half orders per day. Make sure you are scheduling the time needed to work up the job the day after picture day.
This holds true whether you are portrait, school or sports – Take a look now at your internal workflows and studio processes, before things get too crazy! Make sure to block out enough time for you and your staff to process orders.
Start marketing sooner
Holiday marketing those school and sports 2nd sales events has always been a great way to maximize sales for each of your events. But if that special gift is going to make it home for the holidays, your prospect and lead campaigns need to drive parents to order before the first or second week of December.
Portrait photographers – Now is a great time to start marketing portraits and to get sessions scheduled and on the books! Help your clients to start thinking early about the holidays. Give them incentives to schedule those fall and holiday portraits now and order early – they hear the same news we do about shortages and shipping delays this year.
Planning ahead means the day they put up their tree, their photographic portraits can be wrapped and under the tree with nothing else to do but relax and enjoy the season! (And that means you can, too!!)
Plan on the unexpected
We are getting reports from school photographers (and some sports too) that they are getting some last-minute calls from schools desperate for a photographer to come photograph their school in the next couple weeks. If you are worth your salt, word is going to get out about you and you might be that savior they are looking for. When that happens, know what you have planned over the next few weeks and if you can safely add this commitment without compromising your existing commitments.
We all know this is not a perfect world! There will be those last-minute calls from clients who just didn’t get around to scheduling their holiday sessions and orders. But the more you can encourage your clients to order early now though your marketing efforts, those last-minute calls will be easier to handle. (And you will have the capacity to be their hero!)