More Ideas to Expand Your Product Lineup: Prepping for the Upcoming Holiday Shopping Season

Between the never-ending list of holiday deals and discounts, and constant stream of new products, prepping for the upcoming shopping season can feel overwhelming.

On top of that, knowing that online shops are predicted to contribute a record 18.9% to all holiday retail sales (expected to hit a whopping $1.093 trillion) this year adds to the anxiety. After all, how can you make sure you’re growing your sales as well as offering buyers a memorable shopping experience?

There’s no time like the present to grow your product line, and with the tips that we share today, you’ll feel more than ready to conquer the holiday season and grow your sales, too.

Do your homework first

First things first, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need to expand my product lineup?
  • Have my customers been making any product suggestions?
  • What products did well last holiday season? (if your shop is over one year old)

Answering these questions is a great place to kick off your planning session. In fact, the answers will help you understand exactly what it is that you need to do for the holiday season.

For instance, while growing your product range seems like a great idea – sometimes it’s just not the need of the hour. In such a case, focusing on your main product, marketing it well, and offering incentives such as free shipping or buy one, get one free (BOGO) deals help grow sales.

Belinda Lau, the founder and CEO of the oral care shop, Elims agrees. Sometimes adding new products “doesn’t really lend itself to more sales and may distract the shop owner,” Lau notes.

So what then? “[Sometimes] it’s really about pushing your hero products even more, mostly because you know that the hero product is something that is loved, and you know how to message and advertise it.”

Understand what your audience wants

If you’ve decided expanding your product lineup is the way to go, keep in mind: the job isn’t simply about adding new products. It sure looks like that, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg with a lot going on in the background.

So here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Survey customers. Ask them what products they’re looking to shop for (or gift) in the holiday season. Consider offering incentives for feedback like discounts, early access, or other perks.
  • Listen to your target buyers. Head over to social media channels and Q&A forums your audience uses. Read through their conversations to find out what products they’re sharing as gift recommendations. You could also set up a poll to ask if people in your community prefer themed products or personalized ones.
  • Search trending products. Simply googling ‘top-selling gifts in 2020’ will pull up product suggestions. But go one step ahead and check the sales statistics for each of the products before you consider adding them to your list. One more thing that you can do: head to Google Trends and search for the popularity of each product over the last five years. This will give an idea of the products’ shopping trends.
  • Poll your audience. This is immensely helpful if you’ve grown a community of prospects and buyers for your shop. It could be any community from a newsletter audience to folks in your social media group. Shortlist product ideas you’ve sourced so far and ask your audience to vote for what they’d want to buy over the holiday season.

Last stop: check the logistics of adding the new products to your shop. “It’s important to consider how fast you can get the new products from the supplier and how much effort it takes to launch them,” Ugmonk’s Jeff Sheldon advises.

If you can’t get the new products ready before your holiday marketing and launch schedule, it’s best to play safe and focus on what’s already working.

Alternatively, consider dropshipping. Big Cartel integrates with Printful and Art of Where, services that produce merchandise only as your orders come in, shipping them directly to buyers.

Product ideas to explore

Now for some product ideas to get your creative gears spinning:

  • Blankets and themed pillows. At this time of the year, blankets and pillows make a great gift and self-care purchase. Align the products with the holiday season theme and you have a winner.
  • Personalized necklaces and mugs. In the past five years, personalized gifts have been seeing a boom in search around this time. To add, a 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that well over half, 62% to be specific, prefer receiving personalized gifts. The takeaway? Give your shoppers the option to order customized products.
  • Gifting items like wine bottle holders, rolling pins, and more. You’ll also want to think of great gifting items as your new products for the upcoming season. Sheldon suggests, “Think about items that make great gifts that people might not splurge on for themselves. People want to give unique, thoughtful gifts, not commodity items.”
  • Decoration items for holiday parties. Demand for seasonal decorations has grown recently. In particular, the market for Christmas and winter-holiday decorations stood at $5.13 billion USD in 2019. And, it’s expected to hit $5.922 billion USD in 2025 – making Christmas and other winter holiday decorations a great add-on for just about any shop.
  • Self-care products. The market for self-care products has seen significant growth, too, with COVID-19 being one driving factor. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, there’s been a 250% increase in self-care-related searches according to Google Trends. The interesting part? Self-care spans across various generations. Statistically speaking, 44% and 57% of millennials and baby boomers practice self-care, respectively. Translation: the demand for self-care products like scented candles, air purifiers, self-care planners, skincare products, body scrubbers, sleep remedies, and more is high.
  • Items that complement your bestsellers. Finally, “add items that complement your best sellers and make easy add-ons. For example, if you sell notebooks, adding some nice pens completes the gift idea [or self-care kit/set],” observes Sheldon. You can also create ready-to-order gift bundles to reduce the workload from your customers’ plates.

Bonus tips to ensure everything from production to shipping goes smooth

And, finally, before we wrap this up, here are three more important tips:

Optimize your shop.

  • Hire a product photographer to take pictures of the new products you’re launching – it’s a great way to build up the excitement.
  • Take the time to write compelling product descriptions, too. And, make sure your online store is up and running, with information easily accessible to improve the shopping experience.
  • Now is also a good time to put together a detailed policies page explaining shipping details and return policy.

Make sure you’ve enough items stocked.

“The last thing you need is to run out of products or have delays in shipping during the holiday season when people are really relying on your delivery to get it in time for the holiday,” observes Lau. The take home message? Make sure your shop is ready to meet the volume demand.

Create gifting guides and offer packaging tips.

Finally, create free guides on gifting and packaging for the holiday season to make your buyers’ lives easy while introducing them to your line. Or, shoot and share bite-sized videos on social media to show off your products. What’s more, 7 out of 10 shoppers say product packaging impacts their purchase decisions. So offering customized packaging for the holidays is another opportunity worth exploring.

Get ready for the holiday season

Planning ahead can save you from unnecessary headaches while helping to increase sales. So what are you waiting for? Put on your researcher’s hat. Dig through customer conversations and last years’ sales stats. Get out there, listen and talk to your target buyers. And, while you’re at it, make sure you take the steps to provide an exceptional shopping experience.

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon is a freelance writer, avid reader, and to-do list enthusiast who can't function without readying her to-do list first. Connect with her on Twitter: @inkandcopy.

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