Although it seems like just yesterday the kiddies have gone back to school and we’re still getting some gorgeous weekend weather, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. As an online merchant, you have to think about the upcoming shopping seasons months in advance. But if you’re not quite ready to do an all-in right this very second, then RepricerExpress has a handy list of 7 things you should put on your to-do list.
1. Take Stock of Your Inventory
Unless this is your first year in selling online, then you have a bit of a history to work with. Take a look at years past and see how your performance was around Christmas time. What items did you sell a lot of? Maybe those should be things you order more of, and maybe those should be things you price a bit higher to increase your profit margin. And maybe those things were trendy items that won’t apply to this year. The idea is to look at your past and use it as an indicator of the future.
2. Do Research About Hot-Selling Holiday Items
Some products are pretty easy to make decisions about, like not highlighting a lineup of swimwear and barbecue gear (unless maybe your major clientele is in Australia where it’ll be summer for them). There are some sure fire items that will be a hit at holiday time, like tech items (think headphones, chargers and other accessories). And some will be more target-specific, like items for men, women, spouses or family members. Google around and find common trends, and then cross-reference your data with the metrics on Amazon to see which items you should stock.
3. Get in Contact With Your Suppliers
If your supplier has more customers than just you, then you can bet the others will be taking a look at their inventories and contacting their suppliers to ensure they’ll be able to stock popular items. One of the worst worst-case scenarios you can face is emailing your supplier and finding out they’re out, and they won’t have your items back in stock until the new year. Don’t make that mistake and ensure you have enough to see you through until 2018.
4. Take on Extra Help if You Can Afford It
Christmas is one of the most hectic shopping periods of the year and have extra hands on deck to take some of the pressure off can be a key difference-maker. If you’ve got room in your budget, then hire temporary staff to ease your burden so you can focus on selling more widely and efficiently.
5. Identify Weak Points From Your Past
As good as it is to key in on areas where you’re strong and better them, it’s just as important to minimise your weaknesses so they don’t become an issue this year. If you noticed you had delivery problems last year, look at ways you can mitigate that this year, like switching to new fulfillment method or going with another delivery service. Or maybe you didn’t package items the best way — now is the perfect time to figure out what that better way is and iron out the kinks ahead of time.
6. Sketch an Outline of Your Marketing and Advertising Strategy
This one will creep up on you faster than you think, as you’ll be sending out emails and promos in a little over a month’s time. Here’s a rough schedule of what things should look like for you:
- End of October: After Halloween’s over, it’s time to turn Christmas on. This is when you should be sending out your first batch of emails, telling existing customers they can get X deal.
- Beginning of November: Still keeping with just your existing customers, send out a Christmas-specific promo email.
- Middle of November: An email to all customers highlight the Black Friday specials you’ll be running.
- Black Friday: A reminder email of all your specials, as well as links to the items you want to focus on most strongly.
- Cyber Monday: A repeat of your Black Friday email, but just change the name to Cyber Monday.
- Every week thereafter: Switch up your emails and let customers know of different things going on, like item X that’ll be perfect with accessories Y and Z. It’s also a good idea to let them know of shipping dates and when the last order day would be to guarantee their item by Christmas.
7. Do Something for Yourself
Christmas is an insanely busy time, especially for retailers. Go easy on yourself! Treat yourself to a little bit of your favourite thing to avoid from getting burned out. You’re going to need some stamina for the next couple of months, so pencil in some fun things for yourself to look forward to as you check each goal off your list.