With more and more customers waiting until later in the season to order gifts, it's critical to set clear, conservative shipping timing estimates right from the start. In our experience, “late” orders - orders that arrive after a holiday event - can lead to upset customers and transaction disputes.
Here are some tips to help ensure that you and your Commissioned Original Art client have a positive experience:
Be upfront and transparent about timelines, especially shipping.
Do your research and include some buffer for inclement weather delays when communicating shipping time estimates. Consider adding additional buffer days or providing a range of expected delivery dates.
Update and communicate shipping timelines throughout the process.
- Update your “Medium Description” with shipping estimates for each medium. You may want to indicate which mediums / sizes can ship before Christmas and which cannot.
- Include the shipping timeline for your project in your first response to customers, so they can decide immediately if the timing will work for them.
- Update and repeat shipping estimates when you send progress updates (and especially when you send the final photo for approval). Let clients know that they must approve the final photo within X amount of time, or it will delay the shipping date.
- Provide customers with the FedEx or UPS tracking number once the artwork is sent so that they can follow the progress of the shipment on their own without needing to check in with you for additional updates.
Can’t make a holiday deadline? Try suggesting an alternative to “wrap” for the occasion.
If a customer loves your work, but you cannot guarantee a holiday delivery, ask if they would be satisfied with a symbolic alternative that they can gift instead. Some ideas:
- A well-taken photo of the WIP piece or of you, the artist, working on the piece
- A certificate, either hand-rendered or printed on high-quality paper, that says something like “Congratulations! An original commissioned art piece from X artist is headed your way”
- A sketch or thumbnail from the initial ideation process
- Include any printed material you have related to your artwork (business cards, gallery postcards, etc.) in the alternative gift