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Holiday preparation is important to a successful and low-stress season.

According to a survey conducted by CreditCards.com, as of Labor Day weekend, 70% of Americans had already started their holiday shopping.

Now, before the holidays get hectic, is the perfect time to plan ahead for success. Many experienced business owners start this planning process in June or July!

1. Plan Your Inventory

Planning ahead can help you meet your customers’ needs with ease. Review your previous year’s sales to tell how much stock you’ll need, whether that’s the exact product you sell, shipping supplies and packaging, or business cards. If it’s your first time, your network may be able to guide you through your first holiday ordering season.

Remember to order early to avoid rush shipping charges later in the season.

2. Plan Your Display

During craft shows, plan how you will make your booth stand out from competitors with festive decor. Appeal to all the senses with music, lighting, decorations and even delicious smells like pine or cinnamon. For your online store, plan how the site will be organized. For example, it’s helpful to develop lists of suggested products for different types of recipients, such as gifts for moms, gifts for kids or gifts for friends.

3. Plan Your Promotions

Think about a strategy about reaching to customers and prospects (e.g. email, direct mail, social media, traditional advertising, etc.). This should include your strategy for deals and discounts. In addition, include your marketing budget, how you will reward loyal customers and what marketing you would carry out day by day.

Think about the marketing channels that you think are giving you a good return on your investment, whether this means Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, email campaigns, or other forms of advertising. Once you have planned your promotions, go ahead and prepare free giveaways, and create a timeline so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be launching when.

In a survey last year, nearly one-fourth of holiday shoppers reported using promotional offers they received by email, so it would be great if you consider email marketing in your strategy. Make sure your email marketing lists are current and complete.

4. Plan Your Shop Policy

Entrepreneurs like to take time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you don’t have a specific holiday vacation policy, now is the time to create one and communicate it to all your customers.

Check this video by Olivia Hayward as she explains how to get your handmade business / Etsy Shop ready for the holidays. This video is collaboration with the lovely Holly Casto. In her video, she covers holiday marketing and branding for your business.

But of course, sales is not what Christmas is all about. It’s also about connecting with the people around us, giving thanks and celebrating.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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