Want to make this your most profitable holiday season yet? It’s not too early to start taking steps that will boost your sales in December. Here are our top tips for getting your business ready for the busiest retail season.

Set Measurable Goals

How did last year’s holiday season go for your business? Review your numbers, and set specific and measurable goals for improvement. Brainstorm different approaches to achieving your goals, and the small tasks that will help you get there.

Add Important Dates to Your Calendar

Refer to this schedule as you plan marketing campaigns, and make sure that you meet important shipping deadlines for holiday gifts. This year it’s possible there will be shipping delays as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 impacts, so plan ahead and add in extra time to your shipping process.

  • November 26 – Thanksgiving
  • November 27 – Black Friday
  • November 28 – Small Business Saturday
  • November 30 – Cyber Monday
  • December 1 – Giving Tuesday
  • December 10 – Hanukkah begins 
  • December 16 – Deadline for Christmas USPS Standard Parcel Post shipments
  • December 21 – Deadline for Christmas USPS First Class Mail and Priority Mail shipments
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • December 26 – Boxing day + Kwanzaa Begins
  • December 31 – New Year’s Eve
  • January 1 – New Year’s Day

Stock Up on Materials

What packing and shipping supplies will you need to ship online orders? If you use USPS Priority Mail, you can order the boxes and envelopes online to be delivered to your door.

Reviewing last year’s sales data gives you an idea of how much inventory you’ll need for the months ahead. Make a plan for how you’ll keep your bestsellers in stock during the busy season. Consider buying supplies early, to spread out the costs of increasing your inventory.

Improve the Unboxing Experience

Creating a memorable package for ecommerce orders, with well-designed packaging or a little swag, can increase brand loyalty, and encourage a customer to share their purchase with their friends (and social media audience). You could create branded stickers, or even enamel pins to add to orders. You may also want to offer gift wrap as an add-on service for your holiday customers.

Build a Marketing Plan

Develop a plan for your seasonal marketing. Will you offer any discounts or coupon codes? How will you share information about local events or sales? Could you collaborate with other brands to create a promotion? What about developing a holiday DIY tutorial for your blog to boost traffic to your site during the holiday season?

If you plan to advertise during the holiday season, set a budget for those campaigns. Research advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, or buy ads directly from blogs in your target market. If you need help, book a graphic designer to help you with all your visual assets.

Get Your Email List in Shape

How often will you send email newsletters this holiday season? Subscribers are more likely to remember your brand for gift shopping if you’ve kept in touch. Experiment with segmenting your list to target subscribers who are still actively opening and clicking on your promotional emails. 

The summer and fall are great seasons to grow your email list. Host a giveaway that requires an email opt-in, or use other creative strategies to grow your email list so you’ll have a sizable audience to market to when the holidays hit.

Refresh Your Website and Social Media

Take a fresh look at your website, and look for ways to make the shopping process as easy as possible for your customers. Are images clear and enticing? Does your logo/branding match across all your social media channels? (Check out our image guide for social media, too.) Is your return/exchange policy clear? Make sure your online presence looks its best to entice holiday shoppers.

Prep for Craft Fairs

Popular holiday craft fairs can fill up fast, so keep track of application deadlines and learn what craft fair jurors look for in their vendors. Once you’ve been accepted as a vendor, plan out your booth or table displays, including signage and business cards. Make sure you have the latest mobile credit card processing tools so you won’t miss out on sales!

Hire Help

If you felt overwhelmed by orders during the last holiday season, consider hiring a seasonal employee early. Training an assistant during a slower month means they’ll be ready to ship orders quickly during the busy season.

Looking for even more tips? Check out our article, Holiday Prep You Can Do in September.

Getting Ready for the Holidays: November Checklist

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