Since closing all of our physical stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a huge surge in online orders. We are incredibly grateful for the support, but we simply do not have the capacity to fill orders as quickly as they are coming in.
We’re now faced with only unpleasant options:
Let the orders stream in and watch ourselves fall further and further behind
Open the website daily but limit the number of orders we accept
Shut the orders down completely until we’re caught up, then let them come in again for a longer period
We have decided that we can’t keep our website open like normal. It’s too hard on our staff to have orders pile up faster than they can ever possibly fill them, and it’s not fair to customers to place an order and then have to wait weeks for it to be shipped. We tried opening every day at the same time and limiting the orders to the number we could handle in a day, but that led to hundreds of people rushing to submit their orders each morning the minute we opened, and the limit was being reached in just 10-15 minutes, leading to a lot of frustrated people who couldn’t access the site or get their orders placed in time.
So now we are trialing the third approach, which will work like this:
When we are caught up, we will open the website and keep it open until we reach a much higher order limit than we were using before: around 500 orders, or what think we can get through in a week
We will aim to keep the website open for at least 24 hours so that people have time to comfortably browse and place their order
Once we hit the limit we will close down again until most of the orders have been filled and shipped out
We know that a lot of customers would prefer if we notify them when we are open, but we need to spend our time filling orders rather than sending out dozens of emails. We would like to announce when we are open on social media, but are concerned that it would cause a mad rush to the website and we’d be in the same situation as before, forced to close down in a couple of hours. So for now we will open quietly, as often as we can, and for as long as we can each time, and see how things go.
If you would like to place an order, we recommend checking the website every day at around the same time. We promise we will be open and accepting orders at least one day a week.
If you go to our website and get the page asking you to check back, or if you are on the site and there are no buttons to add any products to your cart, that means that we are currently closed. We have enabled access to the site via the password “JUSTLOOKING” so that you can read about spices, plan a shopping list, and access the recipes section. However, the shopping cart and checkout will only be available when the website is open and accepting orders.
We have heard from a lot of people who are frustrated, and many of you have offered suggestions about how we can make things better such as implementing curbside pickup, bringing staff back to work in the retail stores, or taking orders by phone or email. Please know that we have carefully considered every option, and if we’re not doing something, it is because it won’t work. Our first priority is the health and safety of our staff. Our small team is like family, and they are already under a lot of pressure. We love our customers and hate to say no to people who want to order, but we have to accept that this pandemic has put many limits in place that are beyond our control. All we can do it hope that customers will be sympathetic to this fact.
In spite of these tough times, we continue to receive many, many messages of understanding and support. These messages keep us going, and remind us that we have some of the best customers around. Thank you so much for your patience and your understanding. We hope you are willing to ride out this storm with us until things get back to normal again.
Stay strong, safe, and healthy,
Your Friends at The Silk Road
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