Small Business Owners: Prepare for The Holidays Now
The holidays for any Ecommerce business can be hectic even for a list maker such as myself. When I started, Copper and Brass Paper Goods, I struggled to keep track of all of my customers' inquiries and orders around the holidays, and I turned to my own love of paper for a solution. Writing down a game plan helped me stay focused on what needed to get done.
As small business owners, you definitely want to do some planning before things get too busy. This blog post covers many of the little (and not-so-little) things you can do to get ready for the additional orders and stress this busy time of year can potentially bring. Now is the time to start preparing your business for the holidays by tackling one seasonal task at a time.
Keep track of important dates. Covid has made this even more of a priority.
Mark your calendar with major holidays. USPS generally post holiday deadlines with suggested cutoff times for each mail class. If I was you, I'd move my cut off day up by at least 1-2 weeks this year. So if USPS list December 18th as the cutoff date for Christmas delivery I would set my shop's cut off date for December 4th. Trust me even the nicest customers get aggravated with shipping during the holidays and you will appreciate planning for shipping delays.
Set a REALISTIC goal.
Review your sales reports from last year which will help inform your plan for this year. performance Take notes on what worked and what did not work?
Keeping accurate records of your inventory is imperative to your store's success. Do you have a solid inventory or do you need add more items to your listings?
Check out this video to see how I manage some of the Copper and Brass Paper Goods inventory:
Stock up on materials. This may be the most important tip!
If you are anticipating a need to restock your current items, gather all the supplies now that you may need later. The supply chains are hammered right now and it may take 3-4 months to receive an items from overseas. Keeping enough materials on hand will help reduce stress in the event that a supply you depend on becomes unavailable or increases in price.
Prep, Prep, Prep
If you decide you don’t have enough inventory on hand, now is the time to get busy producing and packaging your top selling items. Save yourself a lot of time by prepping your materials.
Establish Shop Policies.
Make sure your policies are listed on your website and not hidden. Save yourself and your customers a headache by setting clear expectations related to shipping methods, turnaround times and returns. Set firm dates for when you will accept your last orders for delivery in time for specific holidays (remember the first tip in this list).
Give your shop look a holiday spin.
Making a few simple changes to your social media and website graphics can transform it into a holiday shopper's destination. Download Canva now and teach yourself the basics.
Always make sure that you are at the top your to-do list. Prioritize getting enough rest and treating yourself with care through the holiday rush to stay happy and healthy.