8 Ways To Be Prepare Your Online Shop For the holiday season
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Time for baking cookies, wrapping gifts, and decorating that perfect Christmas tree. Life is busy, but full of the amazing things you’ve been looking forward to all year.
And as a creative maker and shaker, you also need to be ready for the Christmas rush. When you’re selling something that resonates deeply with your happy customers, of course they’ll want to share it with their loved ones. Thoughtful gift-givers are always on the hunt for something truly original to stuff those stockings or place under the tree.
This means higher profits and more happy customers singing your shop’s praises. But with this rush of connection and creative adrenaline, you should also expect much higher volume, last-minute shoppers, and more returns and refunds. It’s business as usual – just a lot more business, and everyone will have a strict December 25 delivery. Will you be ready?
Here’s how to make sure your creative shop is ready for the most wonderful time of the year.
Make time to manage extra stress
Streamline your workspace.
More than ever, Christmas season is the time to stay focused and productive. But as we makers know, getting inspired under pressure can feel like the exact opposite of creative freedom – so keep those stress levels as low as possible by decluttering your workspace.
Start by getting rid of anything you don’t absolutely need, and don’t be afraid to be a little ruthless. Get rid of anything too old to use or that you have duplicates of. Next, gather similar items together, label them, and store them for easy access. You’ll be amazed at how much more room you suddenly have in your workspace, and how much freer and spacious you feel on the inside, too.
If possible, start prepackaging now.
Packaging is a personalized finishing touch that makes your customers feel truly cared for. Keep this memorable part of the buying experience firmly in place, even through your busiest season.
Could you get started wrapping, bundling, or boxing your creations now? This is an often-overlooked way to save some serious time when you’re getting down to the wire (which you likely will be).
Anticipate customer questions and address them.
It can absolutely be rewarding (and a great way to gain insight for future products) when you get to connect with your customers. But if you find several of them asking the same questions again and again, consider answering the answers in a detailed listing description included with your creations. You’ll get some valuable time back into your schedule, and your customers will appreciate it just as much.
Spruce up your online shop
You’ve hung the Christmas lights, placed the stockings above the fireplace, and picked out that perfect outfit for that Christmas party. How about your online platform? Is it time for a holiday makeover?
Giving your customers an inviting, festive experience at your online shop can be as simple as including seasonal motifs in your banners or graphics.
Make sure you also update your item tags and search keywords to match the season. Choose a short phrase to describe your item so your platform can match it with your shoppers’ searches. You can use up to 13 tags per listing on Etsy, for example – so make them short and sweet, but also relevant.
What would your customers search for if they were looking for your item? Start there.
Start trouble shooting – before there’s trouble
What glitches do you encounter throughout the year as an online seller? Everyone has them, and during your busiest times it’s helpful to anticipate them popping up again. During the calm before the storm, ensure the process for both you and your customers is running as smoothly as possible.
How is your platform working from a technical perspective? It’s worth spending the time creating a backup plan in case your shop video stops running, your downloadables just aren’t working, etc.
When it comes to your shop policies, be honest with yourself about how they’re working out for you throughout the year. Decide if it might be wise to adjust them during the Christmas rush. You might just have a influx of new customers who will want a crystal clear description of what to expect.
For instance, will you accept returns/exchanges? Would you like to tweak the types of payments you accept? When in doubt, ask yourself if you would appreciate and trust these policies if you were the buyer.
Do you have enough items made up and enough supplies to restock? This can be a tough call. Especially if you’re a newer business owner who hasn’t seen many bustling Christmas seasons just yet, it’s best to focus on marketing and selling what you already have instead of designing new items.
If for any reason you are anticipating a need to restock your current items, gather all the supplies that you’ll need as far in advance as you can. Christmas shopping season will get crazy no matter what, so don’t let a supply shortage or a sudden price hike add to your already-full plate. And of course, if you know you’ll need additional items: make, and make some more.
Get your shipping policy settled
We’ve all been to the post office during the holidays – and it can be a little hectic, to say the least. But at least you can make your shipping policies as easy as possible on your side of things.
Think of your typical customer and consider how long it will likely take for her to receive her item. Then work backwards from there, keeping in mind that postal services can be slower during the holiday rush.
This means setting up a clear order deadline your customers will need to meet if they want to receive their gifts before Christmas – both international and local. For those last minute buyers, offer shipping upgrades. And since it’s Christmas, consider throwing in complimentary gift wrapping as an option.
Offers and promotions
Christmas sales and special offers are part of modern life – and there are so many options to choose from. Which would fit your brand best? The possibilities are nearly endless:
- Christmas and holiday sales on your products.
- Christmas-themed giveaways.
- Special holiday gift sets.
- An entire line that’s exclusive to the Christmas season.
- Promotions that tie in with Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
- Gift certificates for your shop.
- Charitable initiatives during the holiday season. Maybe a portion of your sales can go to one of your favorite charities.
Don’t forget to add tags to your items. Your future customers might just be searching for these specific kinds of offers.
Get your marketing plan in place
You’re going to be busy focusing on stocking, shipping, customer service, and so much more. Having a well-planned marketing strategy ready in advance is key.
Start planning now: what kind of advertisements will you run? Will you launch a special series of blog posts? A special email funnel for the holidays, for instance, or even niched down further for last-minute holiday shoppers?
Or maybe your brand does well with Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Google Shopping, or another social media platform. What has worked for you in the past, or where do you see ads that you suspect are targeting your audience? Go where your audience is.
Try a craft fair or market
Christmas season prompts many customers to visit their favorite craft show, expo, or market in search of one-of-a-kind gifts. Make the most of this chance to add income to your online shop – consider markets and fairs to reach a local audience and build your brand.
Start by simply searching for handmade fairs or showcases for creatives that are happening near you. Next step: apply to be a stallholder, and watch your business tap into a local market that hasn’t yet discovered how amazing your shop is.
Christmas is coming, so why not add one more tradition to your list? Expanding your brand, making new creations and marketing existing items in a whole new way, and spreading some cheer as you spread your creativity and heart around the world. When you’re prepared, you and your shop will be sure to have a very Merry Christmas.
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