Friday, September 14, 2012

Etsy Seller Holiday Survival Guide

Handmade Snowflake Soap
Is this your first holiday season selling on Etsy or another online venue? What should you expect? What are some of the best ways to prepare for the holidays in your Etsy shop?

I opened my Etsy shop, Mylana, in 2010, right before Christmas and I only had 8-10 items in my shop that first year; however, by the next year, I was up to 100 items, and made over 1500.00 dollars in sales during November, December, and January. That was an exciting time for me, but stressful and I was not prepared for all the work. Today, I am going to talk a little bit about what I have been doing to make this year go a little more smoothly.

1) Work on inventory during the slower spring and summer seasons. Ideally, your holiday themed items should be ready and listed by October, especially home decor. Customers like to start decoration at the end of November and want to make sure their order will arrive in time to "Deck the Halls". For made to order items, be clear in the listing about the time needed to make and ship the item. It is of the utmost importance that the customer can count on when the item will be delivered.

2) Don't discriminate- you might think the most important part of Christmas is Christ, but Internet shoppers represent all demographics and religions. If you use "Christmas" in all of your titles and tags, while neglecting secular traditions and those celebrations of other faiths, you are missing out on sales. Try using tags like "stocking stuffer" and "Hanukkah gift" instead of "Christmas present" in some of your titles. Remember, you want to get the most sales and views for your items, so that means using as many descriptive holiday words for your items as you can, to draw in a larger audience.

3)If you have items you expect to be popular and can make multiples, make and list multiples right away. That way, someone can purchase 2 pairs or earrings or 5 sets of candles. Etsy no longer charges up front to list multiple quantities. Be sure to have the items made and ready to ship if things get hectic. If they cannot be made ahead of time, clearly state the time needed for you to make multiple items.

4) Stock up on shipping supplies. Tape, boxes, envelopes, ink, bubble wrap, along with some gift wrap, are always good investments to have on hand. You can order free flat rate shipping boxes from USPS now, so you have them on hand for the season. Be prepared to ship to gift addresses. If you get this request, the buyer will certainly be impressed if you can gift wrap the item or use some special packaging touch.

5) Learn to use the USPS "schedule a pickup" feature online, so the post carrier comes to you to pick up packages, instead of wasting time at the post office, during the busiest season. Ship as soon as possible to overcome possible holiday delays. Always get a tracking number for the customer, and insure your orders if you cannot afford to replace the item.

6) Participate on etsy team threads and treasury events to get maximum holiday exposure. Many teams will have a "show off your holiday items" thread or do a blog feature with Christmas items.

7) Change up your tags and titles with seasonal words to get in more treasuries. "Winter", "Snow", "Christmas Tree", "Men's Gifts", and more are all popular treasury themes and can be used in tags and titles.

8) Consider using search ads for your most popular items during prime shopping season.

9) Actively use pintrest, facebook, twitter and other social media to promote your newest creations and holiday sales.

10) Use some of your profits from sales and buy from another handmade seller or local supplier to pass on the good Karma.

11) Don't forget to change your holiday tags and titles after the season is over.

The more you can do now to prepare, the less stressful holiday season will be on Etsy.

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