If you're in the business of selling a physical product, then you should ALWAYS be thinking ahead. Major designers do it and so do large media outlets. Why do you think we are already hearing about what is going to be "hot" this Fall and the upcoming shopping season. November through January is by far the biggest time of year for anyone selling a physical product and it is also the busiest and the most hectic time of year!
My first year tackling the holiday season, I was completely unprepared. I didn't have enough inventory, I didn't have a plan in place and ultimately I drowned. It was a disaster but I learned that it was SO important to plan and prepare ahead of time. The next year, I KILLED IT! My sales were amazing and I didn't have any angry customers in my inbox at the end of it.
Today I wanted to share a few ways you should be prepping your online shop for the busy season. As always I have created a quick checklist for you to download as well to keep track of your progress!
PLAN SALES AHEAD OF TIME
The last thing you want to do is be scrambling at the last minute trying to create and promote sales for your shop. Take out a calendar right now and think about which dates you want to launch a new sale. Think about the peak times people are going to be shopping (Ex: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, etc) and then think about what type of sale you will launch. Will it be a certain percentage off or something like free shipping?
Most ecommerce platformswill allow you to setup coupon codes ahead of time so take a day to do that so you wont have to worry about it at the last minute. A little reminder, sales are meant to be urgent, so steer away from the 2 week long sales!
WHO COULD YOU COLLABORATE WITH TO EXPAND YOUR AUDIENCE?
The holidays are a prime time to broaden your audience and let them know exactly what it is that you do! The best way to do that is to team up with someone who has an established audience that is very similar to your ideal customer. Think about what bloggers or influencers you could collaborate with to share your product. Also, don't be afraid to think outside of the box! Collaborations can go beyond just teaming up with a blogger. Think about what other brands you could work with to create something like an exclusive holiday gift set that will include both of your products.
STOCK UP NOW!
If your products are made by hand, then you will want to get a head start on ordering supplies and making products in advance BEFORE the busy season approaches. Take it from someone who made jewelry for a living, you're not the only one who does it. Which means a lot of vendors may be selling out of materials quicker than normal! If your product is manufactured, then go ahead an place an order now so that you can guarantee that your best sellers will be in stock!
The same thing goes for your packaging materials. Go ahead and stock up on those boxes, ribbons, thank you notes and whatever else you use to pack and ship your awesome product!
PUT SYSTEMS INTO PLACE & get organized
What tools will you use to help make this process a lot easier? How will you communicate with others on your team? What days will be designated shipping days? All of these topics should be thoroughly planned out before it is too late and you're left looking like a mad woman! I mad it a habit to plan and schedule all of my sales emails ahead of time using MailChimp and loaded up all of my social media posts into Buffer. I also made Mondays my shipping day and reserved one day that would be dedicated just to organizing receipts and doing al of the administrative stuff for my business.
RECRUIT SOME HELP
Although you may be a one woman show, during the super hectic times having a little outside help will be life changing! Think now on who you can recruit? Maybe you can hire a temporary employee just for the busy season or an intern to handle your social media accounts. Also, don't knock asking your family and friends for help! I can't begin to count the amount of times my sister has swooped in to save the day! A little help goes a long way!
Long post short, if you haven't began prepping your shop for the holidays, then get started now (or immediately after reading this post)! You will thank yourself later when the sales are rolling in and you are not overwhelmed by it all!