We understand that many of you will be experiencing new and unexpected challenges during this difficult time, and we're committed to providing you with as much support as possible in this period of uncertainty. Below are a few FAQs and some advice for those who need to pause your store or are still in a position to ship orders.
Shipping times are slow to some destinations, how can I let buyers know? If you know specific destinations are particularly delayed, you can edit the note to the buyer when you mark the order as shipped. If you are able to give an idea of how long the delays are, buyers are less likely to contact you after a few days or a week to see where their order is.
Please also add info about delays or Christmas cut-off times in the store message so that you can manage the expectations of potential buyers.
I can't ship internationally / international shipping rates are very high At the moment, these are the options regarding shipping rates:
Create new shipping rates (or modify existing rates) with the higher prices. On the shipping rate, you can add an explanation in the additional information section.
Temporarily remove any shipping rates/methods that you can't use. You can do this by deselecting them from the products.
N.B. If you remove all rates for a particular country, the buyer will be given the chance to sign up to be notified by email when you (can ship there again and) add a shipping rate.
What should I do if I can't ship my orders? If you are unable to ship your orders within the 14-day window, please refund them as soon as possible. The 14-day shipping limit is built into the system and it's not something we can change easily, even given the current situation. You can reach out to the buyers by email to explain and ask them to sign up to the waitlist if you've put your store in 'vacation mode.'
Should I restock or not? If you are shipping orders, you should keep your store stocked. As more and more people are self-isolating, they are spending a lot of time online. People are looking for parts to complete their projects and kits to keep themselves or their kids entertained or educated. This means we are seeing an increased number of visitors to Tindie.
How do I pause my store? Login to Tindie and go to your store settings. There you can set your 'vacation mode' for as long as you think you need. You can stop vacation mode at any time. When your store is in vacation mode, buyers can sign up on your product pages to get a notification when you open back up for sales. You can also add a personal note in your store message to let people know what's going on - this can also be managed in your store settings.
Additional Advice for sellers who stay open We know some of our sellers rely on Tindie sales to help keep the lights on or have mail pick-up, so if you do continue to ship orders, please take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and those around you.
1. Use a print at home postage method so that you don't have to spend longer at the post office. In the US, some of our sellers use the free service Pirateship for printing USPS postage at home. In the UK, Royal Mail has an online Quick Postage Buying service. Some services can also pick up from your home, so please check what's available locally to you.
2. Reduce the frequency of your visits to the post office and try to find a time when it's less busy. Add a 'store message' to let people know how often you'll be shipping. You may also want to message buyers if you'll not be dispatching within a few days of their order being placed.
3. Sign up for updates from your carrier. As mentioned, postal services are still running, where there are social isolation restrictions. We are not aware of anywhere that has total lockdown yet. However, it's likely that the services they offer may become limited, and take more time to get to the destination. Some national postal services have reduced the number of offices open and the hours they keep.
4. Please wash your hands before packing your orders. This may seem over-cautious, and the CDC says the risk of infection from delivered packages is "likely very low", but studies have shown that the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic for 2-3 days. You may not feel ill, but best to err on the side of caution.
If you have any tips or information that would help other sellers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about COVID-19 and shipping for buyers.