Ok, so you may be thinking….“Geez, It’s only August Myra! Give me a break. Summer isn’t even over yet!” I know, but trust me, the holidays have a way of just sneaking up on us. Â I can’t stress the importance of getting yourself and your shop ready for the Holidays considering there are three major holidays coming up sooner than you think:
- Halloween(my personal favorite),
- Thanksgiving, and
- Christmahanakwanzika(see I even gave you a marketing slogan so no one is left out, get the tshirts printed). Â
These are the biggest shopping holidays of the year and it’s better to have a plan and be prepared for the craziness now, than spend the holidays stressed and feeling overwhelmed because of Etsy shop orders or lack there of.
I’m a strong believer in planning so begin by scheduling about an hour of time within the next week or so to sit and plan. Â On your scheduled date, grab a notebook, a pen, a nice cup of tea or coffee and start brainstorming and come up with a plan of action for your holiday promotions. Once you have it down on paper, you can go back to this plan year after year. Â Just be sure to got back to it after the holidays and update it with notes regarding lessons learned.
Here are a my 5 BIG HOLIDAY READINESS TIPS:
1. Holiday Shipping Cut-off Dates
Look at your calendar, consider the amount of time you would need to create and ship your items and set some rough dates. Â If you have a notice you included in your shop policies last year, be sure to update it with your new dates. Setting cut-off dates gives your customers some guidance when shopping, this way they can know if they can expect their order to arrive in time. Also include any dates you plan to put your shop in vacation mode so you can also enjoy the holidays.
Trick: Since customers don’t always tend to read a shops policies, consider creating a chartÂ containing all your shipping options and the dates by which an item must be ordered for it to arrive in time for a specific holiday, turn it into a photo and uploaded it as one of your product photo. Â You may even consider spending the $.20 and making it a listing and featuring it.Â
2. Deck the Etsy Halls
Get your holiday decorations ready for your shop; don’t wait for the last minute. Â This includes, your:
- Shop Banner
- Custom/Reserve Listing Buttons
- Product Stickers
- Themed Packaging
- Themed Business Cards / Coupon Cards
Have these items ready, so when the time comes all you have to do is swap them out. Â Plus if you get your themed Etsy graphics ready now, you can reuse them year after year. In fact, while you’re at it, get your graphics ready for all the holidays, including Valentine’s, St. Patty’s, Mom’s Day, Dad’s Day, 4th of July, etc. and be ahead of the game.
3. Stock Up on Supplies and Line Up the Elves
If you start stocking up on your supplies now, you won’t feel the crunch as much when the shopping season begins. The advantage of stocking up now is that Â you may find some great deal and supplies should be available in mass as opposed to waiting til everyone else is trying to get their hands on the same supplies.
If space is an issue, get some inexpensive storage totes and stash your supplies away until they are needed. This planning time is also a great time to get organized.
Also start recruiting helpers, ask family and friends for their assistance and getÂ commitments. Â You may also want to consider hiring help, however, if this is your first year as an Etsy shop owner and you have no baseline by which to go buy regarding sales, stick with free help. Â Think about the tasks you need help with and the ones you are willing to delegate. Here are some ideas for items you can delegate:
- Pick, Pull, Â Pack – Get your most reliable helper to pick a stack of order slips, pull items from each order, verify all items are pulled and pack the item. Have them leave the packing open so all you have to do is verify everything is in the order based on the order slip.
- Postage Printing – Get a helper to print our postage for your order, this includes weighing the item, entering addresses when needed and printing the actual postage. Again, have them just slip the postage into the box so it can be verified before it is affixed to the packaging.
- Product labeling – have your helper add labels to your products so they are ready when ordered.
You can delegate more than you think but if you have a hard time with delegating, start small. It will make a world or difference.
4. Plan Your Promotions
We all know that holiday shoppers love to get a deal, so plan your promotions now! Here’s some food for thought:
- Offer Free Shipping – during the holidays shoppers are looking for ways to save money; offering a shipping promotion such as FREE First Class or Parcel Post Domestic Shipping may be the incentive your customers need. Give them the option of FREE shipping via First Class Mail and the option to pay for Â faster shipping such as, Priority Mail or Express Mail.
- Offer Free Gift with Purchase – One way to increase sales and revenue during the holiday season is to offer a free gift when customers spend over a certain amount at your online store. Â Remember, free gifts don’t need to be expensive to lure your shoppers into spending a bit more to get something free. Consider offer a stocking stuffer item as a free gift – it’s a win/win situation.
- Offer Electronic and Paper Gift Certificates – Let’s face it some people are just to hard to shop for and then you also have last minute shoppers who wait til the very last second to get their shopping done. Offering Gift Certificates in variousÂ denominations, can help you capture a slew of new customers. I suggest getting a graphic designer to create some really nice looking gift certificates, both electronic and ones you can print and mail.
- Offer Coupon Codes - I personally like the idea of offering coupon codes rather than setting sales prices for all my items. Â Create your coupon codes now, deactivate them and set reminders for yourself to activate them on scheduled dates. You can send the code out to you loyal customers ahead of time with a start date for the code and announce it on your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and other social media.
- Offer Gift Wrapping Service – You’ll be surprised at the number of customers who may take you up on this. Â Just create a listing for Gift Wrapping for a nominal fee (example $2 – $3) and let your customers know that when they purchase this service, their item will arrive ready to give.
5. Update Your Listings
This will take some time and patience, so starting now puts you way ahead of the game. Updating your listings should include:
- Retaking product photos and include a photo of your packaging in your listings
- Updating descriptions with gift suggestions: â€œPerfect for Teacher Giftsâ€, â€œExcellent Gift for Foodiesâ€, “Awesome Gift for The Cook in Your life”, etc.
- Updating your product titles for relevancy and don’t forget to include tags in your titles to entice buyers, such as, “Ready to Ship”.
- Updating your tags for relevancy and include gift and price terms, such as, “Gifts Under $10″, “Gifts Under $25″, “Gifts Under $50″, “Gifts for Her”, “Gifts for Him”, “Gifts for Baby”, “Gifts for Teens”, Gifts for Boys”, “Gifts for Girls”, “Ages 6 and up”, “Ages 0 to 6 months” , “Gifts for Mom”, “Gift for Dad”, “Secret Santa”, etc.
- Giving your Message to Buyers a facelift,Â be sure to include your holiday greetings, shipping cut-off dates, any information on upcoming promotions and links to your blog, fan page, twitter and others ways they can connect with you.
Following these 5 tips can save you from added stress and headaches during the holidays. Â But, before you go I have a gift for you, a printable PDF version of my 5 Big Holiday Readiness Tips - that’s right, just download it, print it out and stick it some where visible and use it as a checklist. Hey Santa has a list why shouldn’t you?