Today we completed another killer end to November. Much like in previous years (2009, 2008), we really nailed the prime Holiday shopping period that now stretches from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. We surpassed last year’s revenue for that stretch and we had our largest single day in company history yesterday on Cyber Monday. This month also broke our company record for revenue in a month, and early this month we set our company record for revenue in a year.
All of that is even more impressive when you consider that in January we closed Tastefully Driven, stopped selling on Amazon, and stopped shipping internationally. Amazon in particular was a large portion of last year’s Holiday sales. This time around it was all domestic Detailed Image orders.
We were prepared for the spike in volume. We all went into the warehouse on Friday, Sunday, Monday, and today (Tuesday) to help pack orders. Unlike UPS, FedEx ships on Friday so we were able to get the first wave of orders out the door on Friday. A little after noon on Cyber Monday I was able to snap a few pictures of the orders for the weekend and Monday up until that point:
Most definitely our largest pile ever, although today was pretty close. Take a quick peek back at the photos in those posts from 2008 and 2009. It’s amazing to see how many more boxes we shipped out this year.
A lot of preparation goes into this six day stretch. It all starts in August when Mike begins to gather data about what we did last year, what trends are going on in retail, and puts together a tentative plan for us to use as a starting point. We meet in late August or early September and begin to do everything that’s necessary. We need to plan inventory and finances accordingly, which can be tricky because this time of the year is sandwiched by our four slowest months (September, October, January, and February).
On my end, the majority of my contribution comes in September and October when I’m programming in any new features that we’ll need. A few examples from this year were the mobile site, the free shipping upsell system, and a feature in our back-end that allows us to quickly edit an order to save precious customer service time (think of an AJAX invoice that lets you add products, remove products, change quantities, change prices, change shipping methods, change addresses, and more).
The actual days themselves were pretty anti-climactic for me this year. Mike has a ton of work executing the sales (newsletters, site banners, etc), Greg has a ton of work with customer service and inventory management, and George has extra customer service and accounting to do. For me though, this is the time where I see the fruits of my work, rather than scramble around like in years past. The site is really stable – I think I only received one technical question from a customer. Our processes are really refined and efficient. So, given my relative lack of pressing work, I did my best to help Charlie out in the warehouse in any way that I could. To be honest though, things went pretty smooth considering that we probably ripped through almost 40% of our inventory.
Contrast that with my posts from previous years where I was mentally and physically drained from the utter chaos. It’s a pretty awesome feeling to see everyone and everything come together like this. It gives me confidence that we can scale by several magnitudes without having to overhaul anything major. Which, on the DI side of things, frees us up to really focus on growth, and that really excites me.