Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Definitive Guide To Preparing Your Etsy Shop For The Holidays



By this time of year, you should be working on your holiday inventory and readying your shop for the busy holiday selling season. If you're not, you've got some catching up to do. I usually am busy creating my holiday inventory in August, though I have to admit I have been just too busy this year with both professional and personal obligations, and I'm only now knee-deep in creating all the jewelry and artwork that I will be offering for holiday shoppers.

Even though I'm running a little bit behind with my own workload, I made a note last year to write a blog post for others, specifically for other Etsy Sellers, with some advice for to how to prepare your shop for the busy holiday season.

Historically, Black Friday weekend, and Black Friday specifically, are usually the most busy days for online sales on Etsy. I find that once October comes around, the weeks seem to go by faster and faster, with the holidays quickly approaching. Will you be ready for this holiday season?

Here are a few things that you can do to prepare your shop for the holiday rush. Mind you, this is only my personal advice. Each of you will have your own "traditions" so to speak, for what works best for you for getting your shop ready for the holidays.

1. Make sure your shop can accept Etsy gift cards: Sign up for Direct Checkout!

This is important. Only shops who have turned on Direct Checkout are able to accept Etsy gift cards. Not only do I have customers who purchase from my shop and pay with Etsy gift cards, but some folks also prefer to use their credit card directly with my shop through Direct Checkout instead of using PayPal. The fees for Direct Checkout service are relatively the same as they are for PayPal, so if you do not have Direct Checkout turned on in your shop, you are missing out on sales!

2. Review your shop policies:

Make sure all of the information in your shop is up to date. This includes information about your shop and information about you. This also includes your shop policies, such as your shipping, and exchange and return policies and any other relevant information. Your About page should be filled out, and include quality photos as well as some interesting information about you. Share some interesting things about yourself with your customers. This creates a connection. You're not just a storefront, you're an interesting person! Share this with your potential customers.

3. Individually review each of your current listings:

Review the old before adding the new. Go through each of your listings one by one and look for any incorrect or missing information. If you have a lot of listings, this could be a time-consuming task. Don't skip it. If you have many listings, break it down and do some each day until you finish.

How to:
Look at each item's photos. If any of your listings could benefit from a better quality photo, now is the time to replace poor photos with better ones. Basically, you want to make sure that your shop looks great and is in tiptop shape. So replace any poor photos with ones of a better quality. Also, use every photo slot. You are allowed to have five photos with each listing. Use EVERY slot! Every single one of your listings should have five photos. Think creatively. If you only have four photos of your item, include a fifth photo which contains a group shot of your work, or information about your shop. Or, Consider adding a photo of your pretty packaging. Just use all those slots! It is important to remember that a photo speaks a thousand words.

Other things you should be reviewing in each of your listings:
- Make sure your title is descriptive and includes only the most important keywords. Avoid fluff.
- Make sure all the shipping information is complete.  Be sure to post your shipping times and especially any holiday shipping cut off deadline.
- Make sure your descriptions are complete. This includes measurements, colors, and weights.
 - Review item tags. Remember to tag items with common price terms such as "under $50."
 - Review your prices. I find it helpful to have a wide range of prices. Of course, this hint is seller specific. If you are going to offer free gift wrapping or cards, include this info in your listing.

If you don't take care of your shop by  reviewing these things throughout the year, it could be a daunting task when you decide to do it close to the holidays. So keep your shop and all your listings looking good year-round.

4. Take inventory of your stock both physically and virtually:

Basically, make sure you physically have everything that you are selling and that everything matches up. This is important if you sell things in two places. For example, I'm a resident artist and have an art studio located outside of my home where I show and sell my work. Many of the things that I have for sale on Etsy are also on display in my studio. This means, when I sell something live in my studio, I must immediately take the listing down from my Etsy shop. If I forget to do this, you can bet that someone will visit my Etsy shop and purchase the item. It's Murphy's Law!

Once you are satisfied that all of your current listings look great and are complete, then it is time to list your new inventory!

5. Take advantage of Draft:


Etsy has a handy option called Draft which allows you to list an item but keep it hidden, until you are ready to make the listing go live. This is great tool to use for listing a large amount of new stock slowly or for "stashing away" special listings that you may be saving for the holidays. To use Draft all you do is fill out the listing and later, when you are ready for to make the item go live, all you have to do is press a button. Easy!

6. My thoughts on using seasonal props in photos:

Some folks like to take new photos which include seasonal props in the background. This could be something like a sprig of holly or artificial snow. These listings look great for the winter holiday season, but once this season is over, they are redundant and should immediately be removed and replaced with standard images.

7. Take inventory of packaging and shipping supplies:

Once you're certain all of your listings are in tip top shape it's time to take inventory of your packaging supplies. Shipping Envelopes, boxes, Packing tape, bubble wrap, even paper and printer ink for printing out labels are all things that you should have in good supply. If not, now is the time to order and stock up on these things!
(PS, I personally find it helpful to also have lots of coffee and chocolate on hand to get through the busy selling season!)

8. Order or create promotional materials:

Order any promotional materials that you include inside a package. This can include business cards and or flyers that you should be wrapping up with each sale. 

*It's very important to always include a business card or a flyer with each sale. And since the holidays are our busiest time of year, it is imperative that you take advantage of this opportunity by always promoting your business to each new or returning customer. I always include at least two business cards with each sale. One for the customer to keep, and one for them to share. A flier with your social media info is also something you may want to share.  Some folks also include coupons or advertisements for future sales. Remember, what you customer takes out of the package you send to them will be directly in their hands and directly in front of their eyes. Use it! 

9. The "End of Sale" email note. If you don't have one, you need to write one:

I am always surprised by how many sellers do not bother to send an email to me after I purchase something from their shop. Really! I find it rude when someone does not even acknowledge  my purchase. You need to acknowledge every single customer, every single sale.

Here's what I do:
As soon as I see that I have made a sale, I immediately email the customer with a note that says thank you for your purchase, your package is on its way. And then I say THANK YOU.
I cannot express the importance of saying thank you! It is what makes the world go 'round!
At the end of the email, I also list my social media links.  Keep this note in a doc file on your computer so you can simply copy and paste it when you need it.
In a nutshell: If you are not acknowledging every single sale that you have then you should not be a seller!

The holidays are one of your best opportunities out of the entire year to make your shop shine. Do your best and the rewards will return back to you all throughout the year. 

Good luck!



Have anything to add?
What is your favorite tip for other Etsy sellers?


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What do you think?

I hope you have a great week 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns


10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. I particularly liked the suggestion to include the tag "gift under $25". Linda (my shop is Physaria on Etsy).

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    1. Also, "Gift for her" etc. works great too!

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  2. Great list here! Since I do so much custom work, I have a hard time getting things done ahead of time to prepare for the holidays, but I love how your list includes things that every seller can/should do like looking over existing listings and getting packing supplies ready.
    And I couldn't agree more about writing a thank you note for every sale. That small step makes a big difference in customer service!

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    Replies
    1. ...one of the reasons I can no longer take on custom work is that it is just too time consuming...

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  3. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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  4. Wonderful list! I've done 1 - 4, 7 + 9 :)
    I agree with you about sellers not acknowledging a purchase. All of my customers get a personal confirmation email :)

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  5. thank you for the time you took to create (& share) such a thorough and helpful checklist! :)

    i shall put it to use this weekend.

    Jennifer Allison
    www.jenniferallison.etsy.com

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  6. I just found this on Pintereast. Very helpful to me. Looks like it is a few years old but will always be timely so I am re-pinning it. Thank you for sharing.

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