The holiday season is almost upon us and it’s an exciting and potentially very busy time for handmade business owners. With the right planning and work done in advance, you can make the most of the seasonal demand for gifts and in turn reap some nice financial rewards from your business.
In this post, we’ve highlighted some ways that you can make sure your craft business is ready for the holidays!
1. Evaluate your existing product ranges and add in new ones
Now is a good time to go through your existing stock inventory and past sales history. Take a look at your past sales data from the last holiday season and throughout the year so far and work out which of your products are the most popular.
By doing this, you can forecast which of your handmade products are more likely to sell than others. You can then expand your product range by making these products in different colors and sizes. You could even elaborate on them and tie them into a specific holiday season theme, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter or New Year.
For example, if you run a handmade jewelry business, you could add a Christmas or winter version of your bestselling necklace! If you do decide to elaborate on your product ranges, make sure you charge a higher price. During holiday season, you can often successfully charge more for products like this as you’ll be appealing to a broader market of gift buyers.
You could even make a range of new products and launch them with the holiday season in mind. Take some time to think about your creativity and design process and what you can do now to get your business ready in terms of new products. Don’t leave it too late to buy new materials if you need them!
When planning ahead for your business sales don’t forget to forecast how many of each product you might need during this busy time of year and make sure you’ve made enough for keeping in stock. It would be quite frustrating to see your products flying off the shelf only to run out three weeks before Christmas!
2. Optimize your product photos and shop listings for the holiday season
If you have an online shop on Etsy or similar platform, it’s also a good idea to make sure your product listings are detailed and optimized for SEO. Go through your product listings and check that they are as good as they can be in order to entice potential buyers to click those all important “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” buttons!
It’s worth adding in a sentence or two about your products being a great gift for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Think about keywords you can use in your descriptions to optimize your listings for searches. Some examples of keywords you could use are: “Christmas gifts for her”, “Christmas gifts for him”, “Christmas gift ideas” etc.
A good way to check out what people are searching for on Etsy for example is to type into the search box all the words you can think of to describe your own products. You will then see a drop down list appear of related search phrases. This is a ready-made list of keywords that you can use in your descriptions!
Another way to optimize your online shop listings ready for the holiday season is to check your photos look great. Product photos go a long way in selling your product (for tips on how to take product photos that sell, take a look at this post from our blog).
Why not consider adding props in the background of your product shots that are related to the holiday season? If you’re selling handmade Christmas baubles, they’d look much more interesting being showcased in action on a Christmas tree for example or as part of a snow scene.
If you sell offline, check out what local holiday markets or craft fairs are happening near to you. Holiday shoppers love to browse and you can make the most of that by being prepared and getting some events booked into your diary.
3. Spread the word
So that your existing customers are aware of your business plans for the holiday season, let them know in plenty of time. Create an email or newsletter campaign once per week in the lead up to Christmas, so that you can showcase your most popular products or any new ones that you’ve added to your shop.
Social media is a good place to shout about what you’re making and planning for the season and it can be incredibly effective if you have a good following of fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
If you don’t have a social media presence yet, now is a good time to start! Let your friends and family know about your social media profiles and ask them to spread the word.
4. Don’t let last postage dates get the better of you
During the holiday season, make sure you know the deadlines you need to work to for last shipping dates, especially if you sell your handmade products globally. In your communications to existing customers, on your social media profiles and your online shop profile, be sure to state your last date for postage and delivery.
This will reduce the risk of buyers leaving it too late to order from you and you’ll be able to plan your workload effectively during this busy time.
5. Pride yourself on your customer service
Thinking about customer service on top of adding new products to your range and shipping orders in time might seem overwhelming, but it’s an important strategy to consider for your business at all times of the year.
The holiday season is a great time to build buyer loyalty – both new customers and existing ones. To do this, you could add a token free gift in with orders or a discount code for next purchases as a thoughtful gesture. Put a little effort into nice packaging and be quick with order confirmations and postage too.
These kinds of gestures work really well to help your buyers remember you and your business. With a little bit of planning, you could organize this in advance so that it doesn’t need to be a headache to worry about.
If you’re running a handmade business, we hope this article has helped you to think about what steps you need to take to get ready for seasonal demand! Please take a moment to share this post with your social media followers.