Hey Mompreneurs! I know it has been a while since I have written a mompreneur post but we are coming up on the busiest retail time of the year and I want to make sure you and your business are ready! I have put together a list of things you should be thinking about to prepare your shop for Christmas time sales. In my experience of selling handmade items on ETSY and Storenvy over the past five years November and December have always brought in the most sales and profit. People are not just buying for themselves – they are buying for their kids, family, friends and sometimes even co-workers. They are also buying all sorts of things! They are buying gifts, decorations, items for family gatherings, Christmas cards, secret santa gifts and if they find a good deal they might even be buying for themselves!
Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself. Grab a piece of paper and jot these down if you want to reflect or add to them throughout the next few weeks! Ready? Let’s dive in!
- Will you be doing any advertising?
Will you be doing paid advertising on Facebook, ETSY, blogs or participating in any gift guides? I honestly have not had much success with doing gift guides on blogs. I have paid and done them the past few years on very popular blogs with little success. I have had some visitors from it but only a handful of sales. Sometimes it is more about just getting your name out there but if you are looking for lots of sales don’t expect them there. This year I am contacting some of my favorite bloggers about doing giveaways instead. I will probably spend the same amount of money, I might not get many sales from it either but I will be able to get my name and product out to more people and potential customers than doing gift guides on a few blogs. I am also going to allot a small amount of money towards boosting facebook post with shop items.
- Will you be doing any Black Friday promotions or sales?
Last year on Black Friday my ETSY and Storenvy sales were through the roof. I sent out a newsletter to people who have signed up to receive my newsletter with a discount code, advertised the discount code on my Facebook and Twitter accounts and then had sales solely from ETSY traffic. This year I will also be offering the discount to my Instagram followers.
- Think about the last date you will guarantee items to deliver in time for Christmas and let customers know.
What is the last day you will accept orders and guarantee arrival by Christmas? I ship domestic and internationally so I put the dates within the description of my Christmas listings, at the top of my website homepage and in my ETSY shop description. For international orders I make the deadline December 1st and make sure to ship them out the following day because I know it takes about 7-10 days to ship to Canada (if the item doesn’t get stuck in customs) and around three weeks to get to Australia, England, France, Singapore and most other countries. Last year I made my international deadline December 1st and had one customer in Australia not receive their items in time (I shipped about 50 international orders). To determine my deadline for domestic orders I make a date in my head (this year it is going to be the 16th) and change it depending on what dates the USPS puts out in a few weeks.
- Will you offer upgraded shipping options?
Some shops offer priority shipping upgrades or rush shipping where the item is moved ahead in order. My husband did this a few years back and you would be surprised at home many people took advantage of it because they were going to be traveling and needed their items a week or days before Christmas. I honestly don’t like rush shipping because it just isn’t fair although I do offer priority shipping upgrades to give last minute shoppers more time.
- Do you have special Christmas items you will be selling?
Are you planning to sell Christmas themed items or stick with your regular items? No matter which you decide make sure you are offering items at many different price points to appeal to the masses. I like to think about it this way --- I am going to spend a good amount of money on a gift for my sister but I might also want a cheaper gift for stocking stuffers or a an extended family member I don’t spend as much on. If you only offer more expensive items then I am not going to be buying any more from you.
- Do product research and make sure you are passionate about your items.
The last few years I have sold kraft Christmas tags with twine. They have been popular but after sitting down and going through last year’s sales I decided I am going to raise the price a bit and I am not going to offer as many this year. I am going to dedicate a few days to making tags and when they sell out they are gone. They take me a bit of time to make and my profit margin on them is quite small compared to other items I have for sale. In my eyes they just aren’t worth the time and stress they cause me.
- Perfect your packaging.
Now is the time to think about how you package your items and perfect it! Packaging shouldn’t break the bank but rather be cost effective with your business and contact information on it. I have spent a while perfecting my hair tie packaging by printing the inserts myself. I buy cardstock when it is on sale at Michael’s (or use a coupon), print myself and the design includes my logo, instagram and twitter handles and shop URL. I use poly mailers for shipping because they are stronger and lighter than paper envelopes and put a logo sticker on the outside of the package.
While you are busy preparing your shop you might find these other Mompreneur posts useful--
Can you think of any other ways to prepare your shop for Christmas?
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