Guest Author: Meagan Visser
You know the holidays are the busiest shopping season of the year, but did you know that the most money exchanged for goods occurs between November 1st and December 26th?
Did you know that holiday spending increased 15% from 2010 to 2011 and is expected to increase even more for the 2012 season?
Did you know that Black Friday isn't the “money-maker” of the holiday that most people think it is? The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that the Saturday before Christmas actually racks in the most sales of the season.
Did you know that small retailers (that's you and me) make 20-40% of their retail sales during the last two months of the year according to the National Retail Federation?
So what do all these statistics mean for you and your business?
It means that you need to get your shop prepped for the holidays and expect to see an increase in your sales! Woot, woot!
Today I wanna share 3 quick tips you can use to prep your jewelry business for the holidays as well as a handy little something I've created that will get your business prepped for success!
Tip #1 – Stock Up
If the majority of retail sales are made during the holiday season then that means a you've got to stock up on some items in order to get ready for potential sales.
Consider the following things you may need to stock up on for the holidays.
- Stock up on items like supplies and materials used for making your products.
- Order enough packaging supplies such as business cards, tissue paper, ribbon, boxes, and stickers.
- Order the materials you'll need to ship your products like bubble mailers, boxes, packaging tape, and bubble wrap.
- Lastly, set aside some time to to make products and stock your inventory.
Tip #2 – Create A System For Processing Orders
If you think stocking your shop sounds complicated, think about what life is going to be like when the holiday orders start coming in, one right after the other, your not sure where to begin, and overwhelm starts to set in.
Okay, I'm painting a picture of what can happen if you're not organized and prepared, but that's not going to happen to you because you're going to be ready.
One of the best things you can do for your business at anytime of the year, but especially during the holidays, is to create a system for processing your orders. It may sound a bit OCD, but it seriously helps when it gets busy.
To create a system for processing your orders, try out the following suggestions.
- Start by making a list of everything you need to do to put an order together from start to finish. Do you gather all your supplies in one place? If so, what supplies? You don't want to forget anything. What's next? What packaging materials do you need to gather? I think you get what I'm saying.
- Next put everything in order, and be specific if you need to.
- Finally, try your system out. Start at the beginning and work your way to the end. Did you find something missing or out of order? If so, fix it.
This is the time to get this right so that when those holiday order do start coming in, you're confident and ready!
Tip #3 – Let Customers Know What To Expect
You know what it's like shopping during the holidays. You know it's busy and stressful, and nerves can be on their last leg. Why not set yourself apart from other similar businesses by having excellent customer service this season, and letting your customers know what they can expect from you?
Here are some things to consider that will give your customers a clear idea of what they can expect from your business this season.
- Make sure your policies are up-to-date and crystal clear. Think about refunds, returns, exchanges, and damaged good policies.
- Be clear and up-front about your holiday shipping dates and upgrades. What's the last day someone can place an order and get it by Christmas Eve? How do they go about upgrading their shipping if they want?
- Inform customers of your order processing times up front. Once an order is placed, how long will it be until it ships?
- State your email response time. If someone has a question or a problem, how long should they expect to wait before hearing from you? There's nothing worse than expecting to hear back from someone when you're in a hurry only to find out it takes 3 days.
Preparing isn't always the most fun part of business, but it certainly pays off. If you consider the statistics I mentioned at the beginning of this article I think you'll see it's worth your time and effort . Your customers will thank you for thinking of them and making their holiday special, and your wallet will thank you for making it fat!
Be sure to check out my Deck the Shop – 2012 Holiday Business Planners to help you prepare and organize your business for a successful 2012 holiday season. It includes 17 planners/worksheets that will take you from the start of the season all the way to the end. Download immediately, and watch beauty and organization come right out of your printer in seconds!
Meagan Visser is the owner and resident herbalist at Growing Up Herbal, an organic skincare and herbal medicinal business for children. She also loves to talk business over at MeaganVisser.com, and is the author of The Customer Discovery Report, a guide and workbook that will help you discover the perfect customer for your business.