It may be summer when you are reading this blog post but even though the sun is shining it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about your Christmas sales and how you can get your product business ready for Christmas. Did you know that on average sales from December will equal about 30% of your annual turnover? Even more, if you sell seasonal products!
I’ve recorded a podcast on this so make sure you check it out here.
I talk about why you should be thinking about your Christmas goals, and how best to prepare yourself, and your product business so as to make the most of the busiest shopping period of the year.
Here’s some tips to get you thinking:
The first step to moving forward is to look back. Before you decide on your final stock for Christmas take some time out to look at what worked for you last year.
What was your best selling item last Christmas?
Think about them and consider whether or not they’re still even relevant? Could they be updated for this year in some way? And most importantly, if you plan to stock them again, have you bought enough? (Did you sell out of stock last year?)
Whilst looking at what worked last year, also look at price points and where your product sits within the market this year. Have prices within your category gone up or down? Can you call out a new feature and justify a price increase that will help the customer?
What prices worked the best for you last year? What percentage were they of your total sales and do you have enough of that approx price point in your range?
Try to think about if it was a particular product that drove those high sales or was it the price point overall of all of your products that attracted customers to buy multiple gifts.
Once you have decided on your Christmas collection it’s time to get planning as early as July.
Speak to your suppliers and double-check lead times, these may have changed since last year and what would you do if their prices have also gone up?
Can you order higher quantities to get the same price as last year or can you build their costs into your margin already?
Planning this early is key and will save you a lot of aggravation as the months creep up on you.
If you have a bricks and mortar store, have you looked at your layout?
Can customers find the best selling items from last year quickly and are they displayed in a gifting section?
Don’t forget that impulse areas work best around the till areas. Try to also include stocking fillers and pick up items to push your average sales up.
If you don’t have a bricks and mortar store but have the time and resources to sell in person then it’s the perfect time to start looking at pop up shops and Christmas markets.
Book early to avoid not getting the spot you want and think about collaborating with other brands if you don’t want to take on a unit on your own.
Can you get help? It’s also a good time to start thinking about the help you might need over the Christmas period. Do you need a seasonal sales assistant? A VA to help put products online or somebody to come and help pack your online orders in the studio? Work out who you need, what you can pay them and where you can look to find them. Ask for recommendations from other small businesses and keep an eye online in Facebook groups.
Also, check out the government kickstart scheme which is a great opportunity for small and large businesses to get extra support where the government pay for a number of hours per week and pension & insurance contributions.
Now you have a good idea of what and where you will be selling it’s time to promote your offering. Did you run a promotion last year that worked? Customers will remember a great promotion and come back if they know it was a great deal.
Think about when you want to start promoting and if you have to wait for your products to come in then can you offer pre-orders and build excitement?
Do you have any PR targets for Christmas, have you reached out to gift guides? This is definitely something you need to do soon rather than later but also don’t forget you can always pitch to online gift guides right up to Christmas as they post on a weekly basis.
I have to mention Black Friday, the mother of all promotions. If you don’t support it then why not have a look at promoting a Green Friday or Indie Friday instead? If you are planning on a promotion for Black Friday then my top tip is to get your promotion, stock and email list ready to go. Customers are looking for amazing bargains and if that’s not something you can do then don’t feel disheartened, could you instead offer free shipping for the weekend or free gift wrap?
The earlier you plan the better, you need to start reaching out to suppliers, outsourcing freelancers and looking back at what has worked for you previously in order to set you up for the peak selling season. Good luck!
I hope that this post helps you to continue on your journey to success and if you need any extra support then check out my free resources on my website and blogs or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org