As an online retailer this time of year is gold as customers flock online to make holiday purchases thanks to the ease of shopping it provides. Gifts bought from wish lists, researched for the best price and shipped directly to your home.

What happens when you hit those magical days when you can no longer ship to customers as an online retailer?

As a retailer you’ve been pushing holiday gifting since the first of November and planning for these days since the end of last year’s gifting season. You’ve been upgrading shipping at no cost to the customer for almost a week now. Suddenly you can’t actually get product to the customer. Not totally true someone could overnight a gift to their cousin in Maine but in an age where the world expects Free Shipping from their online retailer do you really think they are willing to shell out $25 to make sure Aunt Martha’s kids have their new soccer ball in time for the big day of unwrapping.

As trends change it’ll be interesting to see what customers will be offered from online retailers and what customers will expect from online retailers as shipping windows continue to condense this holiday weekend.

If you’re a lucky online retailer with an integrated inventory position you are sending your customer’s into the stores. If not, are you like me and think that this year more than any other the customer will shop later than ever. Shopping the long list of deals for themselves or a loved one that they have strategically decided to exchange much closer to the final days of Kwanza with a present wrapped in Boxing Day discounted wrapping paper.

Don’t give up on these customers this season, continue to offer deals and drive traffic to the place with the best experience.

I grabbed shoes today for myself and didn’t blink when I was offered the option to get free standard shipping or pay to have it delivered before the holidays. Let’s face it my Retro Agassi sneakers from the shoe store’s clearance section can wait if the alternative requires me to spend above my expectations of free quick shipping.

So, continue to support your favorite dot com and if you do get inspired to go to a store in these final days be good to the people working… They’re just like you except their hours suck and they shopped week’s ago online because they wouldn’t be caught dead at their mall.

Miche writes for, various sneaker blogs and Internet Retailer publications.