Yes, I know it’s only September, but if you have an Etsy shop, the time is now to get prepared. Etsy traffic skyrockets during the Holidays and if you market your products as gifts, then you need to be on the ball, now! I am a firm believer that over planning is better than under planning any day of the week so I have broken down getting your shop ready into 12 days. Obviously I picked 12 to get that amazing “12 Days of Christmas” song stuck in your head. Is it there? Good! Now, you are in the spirit and ready to prepare a happy holiday Etsy shop!
Day 1. Prepare Your Etsy Listings - Give your listings a makeover, double check (or set up) shipping profiles, check inventory (if needed), and set up saved snippets for convos. Seriously, saved snippets will change your world. You can also add more listings (maybe some holiday themed ones) and work on stocking up your inventory. I personally, don’t keep an inventory since my items are made to order, but I will be going through and making sure that none of my listings will sell out by upping my inventory number in each listing.
TIP: Switch out some tags to include things like, “gift for her”, “gift for a teenager”, “gift for baby” or whatever pertains to your item. Some people come to Etsy over the holidays not even knowing what they want. Help them find you!
Day 2. Plan for Potential Sales and Ask for Help - Check out your shop history to plan for potential sales to determine if you can handle it or if you will need help. For me each of the last two years my shop sales have doubled from the off season to the holiday season. Based on my history, I am realizing that I will need help. I have started looking for help already for November and December. Luckily, I have a huge family so they will be hit up first. :) If you are not so lucky to have an awesome family nearby you can ask for recommendations of friends or hit up the local college. If you need help remotely, you could always hire a virtual assistant to help with Etsy messages and emails or ask a friend or family member to help answer messages remotely. Generating a FAQ pages for them to cheat off of will save you TONS of time. DON’T FORGET: If you do decide to get help this holiday, make sure you list them in your Etsy shop! Check out my Happy Helpers!
TIP: If you are a new shop and you really don’t have much data history to go off of, you can only guess what your sales will be and do your best to over prepare. If you don’t use all the supplies, so what? You can use them in January or February - better too much, than too little.
Day 3. Stock Up on Supplies - There are just some things that may seem obvious to order, but just in case you need some help, you can click on the link here to get My Holiday Stock Up Checklist. Besides the usual shipping supplies and tape, make sure you get a cool stamp from Hello World Stamps on Etsy. I can make your logo into a stamp and also have cute stamps for packaging. Once you take stock of what you need. Order them before things get crazy and order enough to get you through to January.
Day 4. Set “Order By” Deadlines - Make sure your customers are aware of your cut off dates for Christmas Eve delivery. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to make the item if your items are custom like me. Everyone including manufacturers and your shipping carriers will be bogged down with the holiday rush. Make sure you check with them and then calculate your cut off dates. I make mostly custom to order products so my holiday cut off dates and international disclaimers are as follows:
- US 1st Class Shipping: Thursday, December 8, 2016
- US RUSH First Class: Wednesday, December 14, 2016
- US RUSH Priority: Thursday, December 15, 2016
- US RUSH Express: Friday, December 16, 2016
- International Orders: Monday, November 28, 2016 (International shipping times may vary and this is not a guarantee. Please order as soon as possible if you are outside of the US)
I chose these dates for a couple reasons. First and foremost, I want to give my items ample time to arrive at their destination and secondly, I want to save my sanity. I do not want to be scrambling at the last minute and risk having someone’s gift not make it, so I give myself plenty of time! I learned my lesson two years ago when I was still overnighting things on Christmas Eve Eve and I missed a holiday party with my friends. Never again. I want to enjoy the holidays too! I freaking LOVE Christmas!! (Insert Taylor Swift’s Christmas Album here)
Day 5. Edit Your Shop Announcement for Those That Will Read It - I know, I know, customers do not read the shop announcement (well most of them don’t), however, you need to cover your bases, so get a holiday announcement up with updated turn around times, shipping cut - offs, any holiday specials you are having, and holiday shop hours. My holiday shop announcement is up already and it’s only September! I will not be caught off guard this year, buddy!
Day 6. Give Your Customers an Experience - When your customers open their packages from you, it should be an amazing experience, especially at Christmas! Don’t forget a little surprise and delight goes a long way and have an extra special packaging plan for the holidays. You could include a custom pencil, magnet, sticker, or even a holiday card with each order. People get a ton of packages delivered during the holidays, so make sure you stand out and don’t forget your business cards or social media cards! Need help with those? Let me know!
Day 7. Get Your Own Holiday Shopping Done Early - Every year my bestie and I rent a hotel room close to the outlet malls here in St. Louis and go Christmas shopping. We get it ALL done in two glorious days of coupons, pizza, and girl talk! Oh, and we buy stuff too. Not only is it fun, but then my shopping is done except for the items I will buy on Etsy of course. Everyone always knows they will get something from me off Etsy that has a great story. Shopping online is great and you can do it in your PJs - hello! Perfection! I will be pinning some of my own holiday shopping. You can see what I'm getting on my great gift ideas Pinterest board!
TIP: IF you are so busy that you can’t get out and have no time to shop online (yeah you!), let someone (mom, husband, aunt, BFF) play Santa for you! Give them your shopping list, after you have checked it twice, and send them on their merry way to the store with your cash. Who wouldn’t love to shop with someone else's’ money?? Maybe you can slip them a tip and they will gift wrap it for you too! BONUS!
Day 8. Schedule Your Holiday - Get all your personal holiday fun times scheduled from October 15th - January 30th! Yes, the holiday season went into January for me last year. Remember not everyone celebrates the holidays at the same time. Wanna take the kids to see Santa? Schedule it. Wanna go to the park to see the lights? Schedule it. Does your family get together every year to bake cookies? Schedule it! Is your neighborhood caroling? Get it on the calendar!! I mean who can concentrate with all that “Fa-la-la-la-la” anyway?!?! Might as well join them! You will be able to stay much more jolly if you know in advance what your week will look like each week so you can plan accordingly and, BONUS, you might get to enjoy the holiday a little! Don’t forget dentists & doctors appointment, days when your kids are out of school, and your significant other’s office Christmas party.
Day 9. Meal Plan - Set a day aside to get some meals prepared for yourself or your family. You cannot live off of Sour Patch Kids and coffee. Seriously, put the bag down. You can however go online to trusty ‘ol Pinterest and start a new board of easy peasy meals for the holiday season. I’m in love with my crockpot. I always loose track of time when I’m working so I set an alarm to go off at noon to put dinner in the crockpot. I cook a ton of stuff in the crockpot from salsa chicken, to beef strew, to chili! You can see some of my favorite recipes for busy nights on my Pinterest board called Yummies.
Day 10. Take a Day (or a Weekend) Off - Before it gets totally nuts, take a day off! My husband and I go away for our anniversary every year and it just so happens that our anniversary is in October right before the mayhem starts. It really gives me time to step away and relax a little, so that when we come back, I am revived and ready to crush it! We are also planning a get-a-way this year for the end of the holiday rush in February so that we have something to look forward to during the long nights of packaging and answering messages!
Day 11. Plan to Give Back - Consider giving back this holiday (or everyday!) through your business. You could donate toys to a toy drive, volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter, help out at the food pantry, or give to a great organization. Oh, and as an added bonus on top of warm fuzzies that you’ll get, donating to charity is a tax write off. I am so thankful for what I do, for my customers, and how this little business has changed our lives that I have pledge to build a school with Pencils of Promise. You can find out about why we give to Pencils of Promise on the blog.
Day 12 and After - Try to enjoy the process and be thankful that you are so busy!
I hope this got you thinking about your holiday plans for your shop! If you found this helpful please share with your shop friends on Twitter, Instagram, FB, or Pinterest by clicking the share button below! Let’s all help each other have a profitable and joyful holiday season!!