Four Steps to Prep for the Holiday Shopping Season

It’s been a wild year and no one’s exactly sure what to expect for holiday shopping. Layoffs, unemployment, and general uncertainty mean wallets may be tight. But with concerns about travel, people may send more gifts in lieu of gathering in groups this year. It’s hard to say exactly how it’ll shake out. But there are still ways you can prepare your shop (and yourself) for whatever the season may bring.

If your shop’s in generally good working order, and you’ve got a general marketing plan going (keep an eye on our Holiday Rush Calendar if you need help with that), here are a few additional ways you can polish things up and get extra organized:

Shipping Profiles

If you ship items that are all relatively similar in size and weight, Shipping Profiles can be a great way to simplify your shop. This new beta feature can be switched on to set shop-wide standard shipping rates: a single shipping price per customer, regardless of what they order, which can change based on their location and desired shipping method or speed. If you’re looking for a way to offer Standard and Express shipping, or In-Person Pickup vs. Trackable Shipping, this might do the trick.

To keep shoppers extra happy, use the description of each shipping option to mention an expected turnaround time (ex: USPS Priority Mail, 3-5 business days) to set expectations.

Coming Soon

For those great new products you’ve been working on, add them to your shop ASAP to start building buzz. If something is still in production, you can add it as a product with a “Coming Soon” status instead of “Active” and start promoting it sooner. Folks won’t be able to buy it yet, but they can add that item to their wish list.

Bonus points for adding a newsletter signup link to the product listing, encouraging shoppers to be the first to know when they can add that item to their cart.

Update inventory

Pre-holiday is a great time to check your numbers. Take inventory of your items and make sure the counts are correct in your online shop. It’ll save you the headache of overselling or not realizing that an item shows as Sold Out when you’ve got a few sitting on the shelf. Plus it’s fun to look back after the holiday whirlwind and see how those quantities have changed.

Bundles and Exclusives

If you’ve built a loyal following, the holidays are a great time to add extra special items like exclusives, limited edition products, discounted bundles, or subscriptions. Encourage your audience to mention your shop to their loved ones, and make it clear in product names and listings which options are new for the holidays – that way Santa will know the recipient doesn’t already own them.

As you plan your holidays, think about what makes you excited as a shopper, then do the dang thing! Your enthusiasm will shine through, and you’ll be more likely to connect with like-minded gift-givers.

Read more for additional holiday tools and tips:

Sarah Anderson

Marketing at Big Cartel. Loud talker, maker at City of Industry. Semi-professional aunt. Pretty psyched about all of it.

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