Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Targeting the Handmade Holidays- 3 Steps to a Successful Season

augustmoon
Vintage Face Snowflake Ornament | $15 | August Moon Art Tara Pacifico

I have been an Etsy shopkeeper for 16 months, and I want to have a better holiday selling season in 2010 than I did as a newbie in 2009! How will I do this? Should I begin with a little power of positive thinking? Sure…I will do that, but perhaps I should also draw upon my career history.
I have been involved in mail order sales since before the Internet existed, and I learned to project our revenues by calculating the number of retail catalogs that should be mailed to customer’s homes. We knew our response rate, we knew our average order size, and we knew our customers. Now that many of my marketing impressions, as an Internet Retailer, are based on factors outside of my control (think browsing), it is harder to make forecasts and plan for impending orders. Here’s how I’m planning to target market for the holidays, and it does involve a little bit of wishful thinking.
Step #1 I have started this activity by looking at how folks have marked my products using the Hearts Feature on Etsy. I am taking note of the most popular products based on Nestle and Soar’s heart tallies. The easiest way to do this is by logging onto www.craftcult.com. This website will provide all the popularity information I’ll need in a few easy-to-understand pages.
Step #2 After thinking about the popular votes for my products I will decide which four items will be the ones I focus on promoting for the holiday season of 2010. To make this decision I will evaluate the time involved in creating my most popular items and the “sell-through” of those items in months past. I have learned that having lots of hearts on a particular product is not all that matters…I also need to make note of which popular item also sells most often.
Step #3 Now that I’ve decided on my four items to focus on for this holiday, I will determine, based on some wishful thinking with a little hard-won savvy, how many of each item I plan to produce. Because most purchases this time of year are meant as gifts, I cannot have my efforts based on custom orders—I need to have inventory ready to ship. I will take each of the four items on my list and I will multiply the estimated sales number by the materials needed for each unit. This will give me a shopping list. (I will admit that this part takes some faith and resources.) I have learned the hard way in other retail environments that a profitable business cannot wait until holiday production start dates to know where they are going to buy their raw materials at good prices. If you haven’t already done so, do your legwork for economical raw materials as soon as Fall is in the air. If you have a popular product and folks begin lining-up to buy, it is a shame to give away profit because you have to buy expensive raw materials or pay for expedited shipping to get those materials to your studio door.
So far, I feel pretty good about my plans, as I have evaluated my four best bets for robust sales. I have one secret product up my sleeve to introduce during holiday sales season, but mostly, I am practically betting on my tried and true popular items for my revenue. I have made my shopping list, double-checked my current inventory, and know where I will buy my raw materials at good prices. The last thing I need to do is improve my chances of selling all this wonderful art I am going to make!
I have a wonderful feeling about the holidays for my Etsy shop! I am sending out tons of positive energy…I am also sending out a well-planned flyer. I will have holiday music playing in my studio during my busy weeks creating the inventory I will promote. I will invite my friends to come over and wrap orders, along with their own gifts for giving, and we will toast each other with yummy snacks and beverages. This holiday will be a time for setting the stage for many more successful retail seasons to come!
How about you?

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