How to Avoid a Holiday Disaster

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We’re just a few weeks away from putting up the Halloween decorations, now is the ideal time to make sure your small business is set up for holiday sales. If you make the bulk of your revenue during the biggest shopping season of the year, it’s time to get started with what you need to avoid a holiday disaster. Planning is critical—especially for those in retail and ecommerce—but a little bit of advanced planning will go a long way. Trust me, you can never start too early getting ready for holiday sales. Use this as your checklist to ensure that you’re ready to roll once November gets here.

  1. Get Your Holiday Offers Ready

What are you going to put on sale or bundle together? Think about creating a limited-time only promotion or giving your merchandise seasonal flair with custom-printed packaging labels featuring holiday designs from Avery Design and Print. If you have aging inventory, it’s a great way to give it a little boost, or consider bundling it with more in-demand products. Your sales strategy might need to get more aggressive to compete with your competitors who will be slashing prices. Also consider offering free shipping – not offering it is the #1 reason for shopping cart abandonment.

  1. Set Your Sales Goals

What are your goals for your holiday sales? You should have specific, measurable sales goals that you will work toward. Review last year’s sales records, assess your sales results versus your costs. Did you run out of anything? Did you have enough staff? What were your packaging and shipping costs? Did you have any unplanned last minute costs that can be budgeted for this year?

  1. Have Enough Inventory and Packaging Supplies

You’ll likely need more inventory, packaging and shipping supplies, so don’t wait until November to order. You risk the products you want being out of stock, or potential shipping delays, both of which can cause you to aggravate paying customers. Before you order your inventory, do a deep assessment of which products you want to push in your holiday campaign. When ordering, ask your supplier for a discount for placing a larger order. It never hurts to ask. If you use boxes or bags with special tissue papers, be sure to stock up on those too. Lastly, don’t forget your shipping and mailing labels, and make sure they’re dependable! Nobody wants labels that will fall off when mailed or won’t print correctly. Avery Labels feature Sure Feed™ technology provides a more reliable feed through your printer. That means accurately printed labels the first time.

  1. Determine Your Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re trying to ride the wave of a hot new item or get rid of old inventory, your marketing promotions should be aligned with what you want to sell. With your selling strategy, you can either drop the price below what your competitors or offer some additional value with the purchase. For example, giving a store gift card with a purchase can increase sales, and get people to come back and spend more later. The latter strategy, doesn’t cut into your profit margin as much, and can create repeat business.

  1. Develop Your Marketing Plan

Once you know your strategy, it’s time to develop your marketing plan. Your content marketing, advertising, promotions, and PR will need to be stepped up to appeal to your audience for your holiday push. Consider creating targeted emails to your loyal customers to preview what is going to be marked down. Promote your Black Friday sale on social media with branded graphics. Or try Facebook or Instagram ads? Consider writing holiday-round up blog post with gift ideas or launch a holiday giveaway contest. Each of these are marketing tactics can help boost your sales this holiday.

  1. Line Up Seasonal Help Early

If your business tends to pick up at holiday time, you’ll need more staff. The holidays are all about delivering orders on time or risking a bad yelp review. Bring on temporary cashiers or customer service people early and get them trained well in advance of the holiday rush. You want your entire staff to feel confident operating your new point-of-sale software as well as with assisting customers. If you’re lucky, you’ll hire some quality folks that you might want to keep permanently.

If you make a checklist of the tasks you’ll need to handle before the holiday season, you’ll make life easier. Starting your planning now while things are relatively calm. Not only will you be well organized and ready to make major money, but your holidays will be shiny and bright with a lot less stress this holiday season.

Note: I was compensated to publish this post, but the opinions expressed in this article are solely the opinion of Melinda Emerson.

About the Sponsor:

Avery Products Corporation is the world’s largest supplier of labels, specialty converted media and software solutions for short-run digital printing alongside complementary products sold through distributors, mass market and e-commerce retailers. A division of CCL Industries, the company is based in Brea, California. For more information, visit avery.com.

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