Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preparing for Holiday Sales - Part 1

Well, it's officially November and I already feel behind preparing for Christmas season. Being a retail stationery shop, Christmas Cards are a huge thing for us and a big chunk of our fiscal income. But preparing for Christmas while the kids are still on summer break just isn't my style. However, I am determined to be prepared this year! (don't I say that every year?) This list of ways to prepare for the holiday season are gathered from the awesome members in the Etsy Forums. Below you will find the first 10 of the growing list. Please make a comment and let me know what you are currently doing to prepare for this busy Holiday Season!

1. Buy plenty of packaging now. It's never fun to get twenty orders but realize halfway through packaging that you only have 2 mailers. Or, put Uline in your favorites. Their shipping time is A-MAZING. RoyalMailers.com is another great one and they were to my house incredibly fast...5% off with code "etsy" and free shipping. And of course, check our Etsy supply shop for cute ribbon and such for your packaging.

2. Keep your supplies plentiful. Some of us do make-to-order, and this is especially important. Even if you don't, it's important to keep the supplies for popular items that you do remake in stock. You never know when you might be featured on the latest popular blog and get deluged by orders.

3. Start fiddling with your work schedule now. You might be putting in longer hours, but figure out how you can get more work time in at times that AREN'T well into what should be snooze time. Start enlisting your family for help.

4. Decide on a holiday shipping schedule. Just when is it that you'll stop shipping? Remember, USPS can be slow in December.

5. Send out a newsletter to your mailing list letting them know of your holiday schedule. You don't want your loyal customers missing those important dates.

6. Sell Gift Certificates. Have you thought about making sure gift certificates are listed and ready for sale? These can be helpful this time of year for those late shoppers. Offer them via email, allowing your and your customer a way to get past slower delivery times. For more about gift certificates, read this.

7. Do some Christmas shopping now. If you haven't thought of it, suggest swaps to a few favorite Etsian. There'a a great list of traders here: http://etsytraders.blogspot.com/

8. Don't forget ordering your cards, labels, etc. I always do a Christmas calendar and design my own cards, but I always have to cram it in while I'm buried in work. Then, I run into the same shipping problems that my customers do. I'm telling myself to avoid that trap this year. (And I hope I do!)

9. Start posting Christmas items if you haven't already. They're selling right now--really!

10. Make some meals ahead and freeze them. You might need them, and it will certainly help take some of the pressure off you.

Stay tuned for the next segment. Don't forget to leave us a comment on what you are doing now to prepare for this holiday season!

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