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Sunday, October 3, 2010
Tips for Prepping for the Holiday Season
Louie Polaroid Necklace
Prepping your Etsy shop for the holiday rush is very important, and how better to give tips on holiday prep then The Tiny Fig. Check out all the super cute and fun items in their shop! Here is a huge list for preparing your Etsy shop for the holiday season!
1. BUILDING INVENTORY & SHOP APPEARANCE.
It doesn’t happen overnight! Start now, set goals and stick to them! Plan so that you can make a few items a week! It’s really important to constantly have new stock in addition to re-listing (listing things that have sold) things you have multiples of because it attracts attention from potential AND more importantly repeat customers. You’ve got to keep the shop fresh and fun for your repeat customers! They’ve bought from you before and are most likely back to see what else you have to offer. People will be buying lots of different things during the holiday season for gifts and for themselves. All different types of people with different budgets. If you can offer them something they like within one of their price points it’s a win-win situation.
Make your avatar memorable and don’t change it all the time so people who heart you will recognize you. Keep your shop announcements short and sweet, make sure your shipping policies are informative and jazz up that profile. You never know who is reading! I in previous years there was a buyer/seller said that they were going to print the profiles of all the sellers they bought from and include it with their gifts.
Tips for descriptions and titles:
- Take the time to describe your items accurately and make it fun!
- Include measurements in metric and imperial especially if you ship internationally.
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Don’t try to jam a million words into the title field! (Etsy is not Ebay and that is what tags are for!)
- Make it easy on the eyes to read meaning don’t type like this THiS ItEm Is Gr8! or use ALL CAPS.
Use your sections!
Busy shoppers don’t have time to weed through all 15 pages of your of inventory. Make their shopping experience simple by separating your goods into sections. For example jewelry makers: earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, etc… For print makers: sort by size and maybe by collections. There are lots of ways to sort your shop but what you should think about is how your target market shops and set it up so that it appeals to them.
2. ORDERING CRAFTING SUPPLIES.
PRIORITIZE! There have been times where I have run out of earring hooks or earring posts or glue and it Drives me insane. Write out a list of your absolute necessities and then rank them by how long it takes to get these items. For example, if i run out of shrink plastic I can get it at Michaels which is 10 mins away, I can order ear hooks and ear posts from Rio Grande and have them at my door the next day, if I run out of labels I can pick some up at Staples but if I order some poly baggies from an Etsy seller it will take about a month to get to me via first class. So knowing that I order the poly baggies ahead of time and in bulk to ensure I have enough and to save on shipping. By prioritizing what I need and staying organized I shouldn’t have to deal with this issue.
It’s also not a bad idea to do an inventory count every couple weeks. I do mine monthly. Okay I don’t really count all the little pieces of supplies I have on stock that would take days but I have all of it set up in a way where I can look at it and know what I need more of very quickly. It’s a pain sometimes but it’s definitely better to order what I know I need rather than dump all my money into supplies that could sit for a long time.
This is a big one. Shipping can get really crazy especially in November & December! Remember to establish a shipping deadline/cut off date (these dates should be posted on your postal office website in October or so). You should have this date posted in your shop announcements along with any other details. It’s also a good idea to list your location so that shoppers know where you are shipping from and what to expect with shipping times.
Ship INTERNATIONALLY. Really, there is no good excuse not to. Around October you’ll see all these threads popping up about how shoppers can’t buy the items they want because sellers don’t ship to their countries. If you haven’t figured it out already, no one wants to convo you for a rate! They will just move on and find the next best thing. You’re really missing out on a lot of potential sales by not shipping internationally I mean how hard is it to package something and take it to the post office to get some shipping quotes? Do it now while the post office isn’t busy and has time to answer your questions. Do it because you want to grab a hold of every sale you can get your hands on. Even if you lose a few dollars in the beginning you gained experience and that is worth way more. Let me tell you something… I live in Canada and over 95% of my sales are international orders. If that doesn’t motivate you what will?
Buying shipping supplies. It will be different for everyone and you’ll have to figure it out for yourself but the way I estimate how much supplies to buy is I take my average monthly supply usage and multiply by 3 and then multiply by 2 for Nov & Dec. That way I’ve got enough supplies to last whether I see an increase in sales or not. Right now I have enough shipping supplies to last at least 2 months. I don’t like to have tons of shipping supplies sitting around but at the same time I don’t mind because I know it will get used up eventually. Someone also mentioned to me last year that you should be prepared in case the Post Office runs out of flat rate envelopes, priority boxes, customs labels, etc… I know that my PO always runs out of the customs labels I use so all year round I keep a huge stack of them at home. It’s better to be prepared because nothing is worse than running out of envelopes or bubble wrap when you have 10 orders waiting to go out and it’s snowing outside or worse.
If you offer gift wrapping or special packaging or offer dropshipping for your customers you will want to sit down and calculate how much supplies you need to keep on hand. Also, be sure to take the time to figure out how you can streamline your packaging/shipping so that you don’t spend 20 mins wrapping an order when you have 10 more waiting to be wrapped! Keep it as simple as possible.
Things you should think about are:
- What can I get done now so I don’t have to be bothered with it later? Ex: I use a bristol board tent card to ship my stickers so they don’t get bent during transport so I have to pre-cut those instead of cutting one each time I sell a pack of stickers. It saves a lot of time.
- If you print invoices and shipping labels do you have enough paper and ink?
- Do you have enough business cards (and freebies or promo items if you offer that).
- Do I have enough gift boxes, wrapping paper, tape, gift tags, thank you cards?
- How will I keep track of what is inside each package?
- How can I package my gift wrapped items so that the buyer will know what is in each box if they buy multiple items? (post-it notes are great!)
If you work out a plan for this now it will save a lot of headaches!
Extra shipping tips:
- ALWAYS package one order at a time to avoid confusion. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to package multiple orders at the same time only to have it take twice as long because I had to go back and double check everything was in the right envelope!
- If the order is awaiting an address confirmation or pending payment I will write AC (address confirmation) – username or PP (pending payment) – username under the flap of the envelope with their order packaged and ready to go when I get the notification to ship. When you seal the flap you can’t see the writing. Also, I only seal the packages that are ready to go out. So I never get anything mixed up.
- COMMUNICATE with your customers. This should be done without being said but in case you don’t know this you should be acknowledging your orders and informing customers of when you are shipping or if your item has shipped. It’s good customer service and no buyer wants to sit there wondering if you even realize they ordered from you.
- If you know this it might be a good idea to give an estimated shipping time too.
- Be respectful. Some people don’t want feedback left till after the holiday season because of sneaky friends and relatives so you might want to hold off on leaving feedback until after the holiday season or find a notebook and take note of which customers want this.
This is not the end of the tips. Head over to the Etsy forum where you will find even more tips.
Etsy Items You Can Buy Right Here From This Widgit......
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