As the holiday season approaches, preparations go into overdrive and businesses see a spike in sales.
This rings true for Etsy shop owners as well, with the online marketplace bustling with eager buyers looking for bespoke gifts.
I’ve captured a checklist based on my own painful experiences of the mad shopping season to help you skip some of the issues I had and ensure you know how to handle those last-minute shoppers.
Why Is The Holiday Season Important?
The holiday season a golden opportunity for Etsy shop owners, and preparation could spell the difference between average and spectacular sales.
Increased Traffic: During the holiday season, Etsy, along with other online marketplaces, experiences increased user traffic. By optimizing your shop and listings, you can capitalize on this surge.
In 2022 Etsy earned nearly one-third of its annual revenue in December alone.
Higher Sales: As individuals hunt for unique, personalized gifts, shops that are primed for the season can leverage this demand to record higher sales.
Top Tips To Prepare Your Shop For The Holidays
The Holidays is where many Etsy stores make the most of their money.
With my Etsy store, I did 32% of my total annual orders in December and that grows to 57% if you include November.
To maximise the opportunity you need to start preparing early.
You don’t know whether materials will be hard to find or whether sneaky wholesalers will put the prices up.
Get prepping and steal a march on your competition and get any activities you can out of the way before you enter the busiest season.
New listings on Etsy can take their time to find their home in Etsy search results, so going early will help.
Benefits of Prepping Early
Improved Visibility: By planning ahead and implementing SEO practices, your products can gain increased visibility during the bustling holiday season.
Inventory Management: Planning early can help you manage your inventory better, preventing last-minute order fulfillment scramble.
Better Customer Service: With a well-planned approach, you can offer top-notch customer service, handling all inquiries and order processing with ease.
Analyse What Sold Well
If the products you sell are evergreen and not overly trend-related, look at your Etsy stats for last year to see what sold well. Does the data give you any Etsy buyer insights that could help you plan?
Whilst the past isn’t always a perfect way to predict the future, it can help.
Once you know what sold well take inventory.
Take a look at your current inventory.
Assess your existing stock, and compare it to last year’s sales data.
Make projections on products that might be in high demand this holiday season.
Do you have enough products made or do you need to make a lot more?
Stock Up – Materials & Packaging
The last thing you want is to get orders that you are unable to fulfill.
Based on your assessment and with an estimation of the potential demand make sure you have all the materials you need to make your items and make sure you have all the packaging you need too.
The last thing you want to have to do during the holiday rush is to brave the mad shoppers to get some tape and bubble wrap.
Make, Make, Make – Physical Products
Once the necessary supplies are in place, it’s time to get those hands busy and start making!
Whether your craft involves intricate hand-made jewelry pieces or customized festive decor, the key is to anticipate and prepare for customer needs.
Take note, quality should never be compromised.
Ensure every item created represents your brand well and would make an ideal gift this holiday season.
Set A Cut Off Date – Put It EVERYWHERE!
The biggest issue I’ve had and I’ve seen other sellers have is unhappy customers due to orders arriving after Christmas.
You need to work out what is your order cut-off date. The date after which an order is unlikely to arrive in time.
I take a very risk-adverse approach to this and often set my cut-off date as about December 12th.
Once you have decided on your cut-off date, put it everywhere. Make sure customers cant miss it. This will save you so many unhappy customers.
I always put the cut-off date in:
- Shop Banner
- Info Graphics in each listing
- In the shop announcement
- In listing description
- In any messages I send customers.
Add More FAQ’s
As the holidays brings new and the very occasional Etsy shoppers back to the marketplace, they often have lots of questions.
To reduce the messages add lots of FAQ’s and simple answers to them to your product descriptions.
Update Product Images & Descriptions
Customers tend not to read product descriptions but it is worth updating them with information about your order deadlines and any other relevant holidays information.
As always, product descriptions should be informative but also help the customer in picturing themselves with your product.
Optimize Your Shop
Present the Full Range: Make sure all your available products are listed.
People tend to buy all sorts of items off Etsy for their holiday gift list. So, don’t hold back any of your products from being displayed.
Ensure your store has a variety of options for different customer preferences.
All those expired listings that you haven’t bothered to renew. Do it. Get them live.
Titles, Tags & Categories
Make sure your listings are optimized. This is crucial to prepare your Etsy shop for the holiday sales events and attract more shoppers and set your shop up for success.
Boost Visibility: It’s not enough to simply list products, ensure your product titles, tags, categories, and descriptions contain keywords that shoppers may use when searching for products.
Dont go adding gifts, Christmas, holidays etc to every single listing. You don’t need to.
Instead, review your listing stats and look at the words your item is being found for and the words its not. Try replacing those that arent helping with new keywords. Use Etsy SEO tools like eRank to see what terms other sellers are using in their titles and tags.
Do not alter the titles & tags for your best-performing Etsy listings. You may negatively impact their ranking & therefore sales.
Review And Update Etsy Shop Policies
Transparency is Key: Clearly state your shop policies regarding processing times, handling returns, shipping profiles, and customer inquiries.
This helps customers understand what to expect when they buy from you and could help avoid misunderstandings, keeping both you and your customers happy.
Having clear policies helps improve trust & boost conversions.
Handling returns, shipping, and customer inquiries
Customer Service Excellence: Detailed guidelines regarding returns, shipping, and handling of customer inquiries should be well outlined. In the case of returns, clarify who pays for return shipping and the condition in which the product should be returned.
For shipping, clearly state your shipping times and any potential delays due to the holiday season. Finally, for customer inquiries, provide clear directions on how customers can reach you, and ensure your response time is quick and helpful.
Update Your Branding
Update your shop branding to create a festive and appealing look that will attract holiday shoppers. Don’t forget to create gift guides or curated collections to make it easier for shoppers to find the perfect holiday gifts.
Update your shop banner and branding and include colors and designs that evoke a festive and inviting atmosphere for holiday shoppers.
Consider incorporating holiday-themed elements, such as snowflakes, ornaments, or a cheerful color palette. Choose fonts and graphics that reflect the spirit of the season.
Create Holiday-themed versions of your infographics, shop logo, and banner. This could be as simple as putting some Xmas themed items on them e.g. an Xmas hat, snowflakes, a snowman for example.
Communication is really important when running an Etsy shop and even more so during the holiday shopping period.
When a customer makes a purchase, send them a confirmation message with details of when the item is likely to ship and the likely shipping time. Point them to, or reiterate your shop policies with regard to returns and exchanges, etc. This will help put their mind at rest.
When you fulfill orders, send another message letting them know the item has been dispatched and point them to the tracking information – It’s also worth making it clear that shipping is outside your control and you’ve done your bit.
How can you prepare, create some saved snippets for each scenario just mentioned, and also create some standard responses to customer questions such as When will my item ship?
Answer: We know your order is important to you and we want to thank you again for purchasing from us. It really means a lot. All orders are processed in the sequence we receive them.
We work as hard as we can and usually get orders out within X business days. We will let you know when your order is shipped and will provide tracking data.
Be Responsive: Quick and efficient communication is key during the busy holidays. Ensure to respond to customer inquiries timely and professionally. Buyers appreciate prompt responses, especially when they’re keen to finalize their holiday shopping.
Problem-Solving: When issues arise, resolve them promptly. Whether it’s a delayed parcel or an incorrect item shipped, take ownership and offer solutions rather than excuses. Customers will appreciate you more for your honesty and swift problem-solving skills.
Follow-up: Practice after-sale care. Consider sending a message to ensure they receive their orders and are satisfied with the products.
Market your shop on various social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to Pinterest, social media platforms provide access to millions of potential customers globally.
The trick lies in understanding what each platform offers, its user base, and choosing the right one based on your target audience.
Encourage your followers to buy early to beat the rush. This helps reduce their stress as getting all their Christmas gifts purchased early means they arent running around like a headless chicken on the last Saturday before Christmas.
Run Etsy Ads
If you have the budget to consider running Etsy Ads as these provide a boost to your Etsy listings in search.
Your competition are likely to be running Ads so its worth considering it.
Do some research. See which of your competitors do and whether they are advertising everything or just key products.
Run A Sale
Everyone loves a discount and Xmas is no different.
Running a sale can help give buyers that extra little nudge towards buying your product and boost your Etsy sales.
Selling on Etsy there are a number of different sales / discount approaches:
- Standard Sale – X% off everything or selected ranges or products in your shop
- Thank You Discounts – The buyer receives an email with a discount code after they have purchased. These can be great to drive repeat buyers
- Abandoned Basket – If a customer adds something to their basket, but doesn’t check out, they will receive a discount code to encourage them to come back and complete the purchase
- Favorited Items – Similar to the above, if a customer favourites an item but doesn’t buy, they get a message with a discount code.
For 2-4 above the Etsy user must be signed up to marketing emails with Etsy otherwise Etsy cant send them marketing.
Holiday Tips For Print On Demand
Create Niche inspired Holiday Designs
Mistakes To Avoid
Marmalead have written a great article and video youtube video that goes into detail on the Etsy mistakes to avoid. It’s worth a watch.
Take Time For Yourself
It’s important to not burn out. Whilst there is money to be made during the holidays, you need to enjoy the holiday season yourself.
Consider taking an Etsy seller holiday. Put your shop on vacation mode once the holidays are over. Many Etsy sellers do this so they can recharge their batteries ready to hit the new year with renewed energy.
Remember to make your shop ‘normal’ again after the holidays by putting back your standard banner, logo etc so that buyers don’t think you’ve abandoned it.
Wrap-Up: How To Prepare Your Etsy Shop
Get ready to make the most of the holiday season and watch your Etsy store thrive! By setting goals, developing holiday-themed products, optimizing your listings, updating your branding, creating gift guides, and understanding the importance of the holiday season on Etsy, you can maximize your sales and profitability.
Don’t forget to leverage key dates and opportunities for a sales boost, and ensure your store is prepared for the festive season with inventory and order management strategies.
Follow these tips and best practices to achieve success during this busy time. Happy selling!
The importance of preparing your Etsy store for the holiday season
While the holiday season is indeed a time of joy, toasts, and cheer, for Etsy sellers, it transforms into a bustling marketplace, full of potential customers. With an increase in shoppers looking for unique, handmade gifts and festive merchandise, shop owners must ensure they’re ready to meet this demand.
By adequately preparing you’re not just boosting your sales but also broadening their brand exposure, potentially attracting customers who’ll stick around beyond the holiday season.
Recap of key tips and strategies for a successful holiday season
- Stock Up: Ensure you have sufficient stock to meet the potential holiday rush. Think about the popular products from previous seasons and consider increasing the inventory for such items.
- Seasonal Offers: Engage customers by providing holiday discounts or running holiday-themed promotions.
- Shipping: Given the increase in online shopping due to the pandemic, there’s potential for shipping delays. Consider this while setting up deadlines for holiday orders.
- Customer Service: Excellent customer service goes a long way in retaining customer loyalty. Make sure all customer queries are promptly addressed.
- Presentation: Consider adding a festive touch to your shop’s images or descriptions. This shows customers that you’re engaging with the holiday spirit and could make your products more appealing.
When to start selling Christmas stuff on Etsy?
According to Etsy’s guidelines and successful seller experiences, launching your Christmas line in early October is considered optimal.
This time frame allows shoppers to start their holiday shopping early and also gives them ample time for customized orders to be completed and shipped.
By the end of October, online search traffic for Christmas gifts tends to increase significantly, further bolstering your holiday sales.
When should I list holiday items on Etsy?
According to Etsy’s guidelines and successful seller experiences, launching your Christmas line in early October is considered optimal.
Do Christmas ornaments sell well on Etsy?
Yes, Christmas ornaments generally sell quite well on Etsy. Etsy has a broad customer base that looks for special and distinct decorations for the holiday season. Many Etsy sellers capitalize on this demand by creating their own homemade Christmas ornaments, using everything from glass and ceramics to recycled materials, and even wood.
How do you stay sane during these Holiday seasons?
Self-care and moderation are vital to staying sane and enjoying this lovely period. It all begins with setting realistic expectations for yourself and your Etsy shop.