Today’s Volume II of the Holiday Selling Series is pretty exciting as it’s also One Crafty Miss’s first guest blogger since this year’s relaunch! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Erin, one of the talented creators of Made Urban. She absolutely loves sharing her craft related business advice on the Made Urban blog https://www.madeurban.com/blog/ and through her ebooks MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS, HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY and THE SUCCESSFUL INTROVERT. Erin has been in the craft industry for over a decade and has gained a ton of valuable information from being a Visual Communications Designs graduate, a regional visual merchandiser for a major retailer, a full-time handmade business owner and a handmade hoarder who goes to way too many craft shows. (My kinda girl!) So take a few moments to relax, sip you’re favorite holiday drink and dive into Erin’s secrets on creating a festive space for your shop that can attract customers and bring in the sales!
For several years, I worked as a visual merchandiser for major retails and November/December were without a doubt, the busiest shopping months, year after year. Retailers know a good chunk of yearly revenue is made in those two months so it can’t just be business as usual.
The holidays are likely the busiest time for your business as well and if you want to make the most of sales, you need to step outside your usual routine…just a tad. Let’s take a look at how your products, presentations and messages can be spruced up for the festive season.
Product collections should be planned to introduce holiday inspired items such as gingerbread-scented soap, jewelry using deep red gems or plaid printed pajamas, pillow covers or scarves. Holiday collections are a great to market to existing customers, inspire gift giving and boost sales.
You should also consider shifting your stock around. One of the retailers I worked for stocked up on dresses for the holidays. An item that normally made up ¼ of their inventory expanded to at least ½ to give shoppers plenty of options for Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.
Are there any of your products people are more likely to purchase for holiday occasions or gifts?
For example, if a bath & body vendor offers bars of soap, hand lotion, bubble bath, face wash and face cream, they may find customers who buy the face wash and face cream are purchasing for themselves, based on their personal needs. On the other hand, their bars of soap, hand lotion and bubble bath are often purchased as gifts, so they may decided to shine the spotlight on them and stock up for the holidays.
Products can also be bundled together to inspire gift giving. Consider the price ranges people typically purchase gifts in:
- Under $20 for acquaintances or stocking stuffers
- Under $50 for friends and extended family
- Over $50 for immediate family
If you don’t have products that cater to each of those budgets, you can bundle items together.
For example, the bath & body vendor may offer:
- Under $20 – a soap sampler with three scented bars of soap
- Under $50 – a bar of soap and hand lotion gift pack
- Over $50 – a bar of soap, hand lotion and bubble bath combo
You can even consider purchasing products at wholesale prices to add value to a gift pack. For example, a soap dish, loofah or washcloth can be bought for a couple of dollars per piece but allow the vendor to charge several more dollars for the gift pack, without adding much more work.
Ensure you stock up on marketing materials as well, so they can be packaged with gifts. Use postcards to share your product’s story with the receiver and use it as an opportunity to market to someone new.
Communicating a message through visuals is extremely important, especially during the holidays when people are busy and don’t have time to hear lengthy sales pitches or read full descriptions. They’re scanning craft show booths and product thumbnails to quickly decide if a business has what they’re looking for.
Photographing or displaying your products in a festive setting will take a regular product and instantly make it gift-worthy. You may try changing your:
- Backdrops – switching up the backdrop in your photos by using red, green or even black poster paper can make a dramatic impact. Apply the same idea to a craft show display through your tablecloth or fixtures. An all-white presentation can mimic a winter wonderland while hints of silver and gold also give a festive feel.
- Props – you don’t want to get too cheesy but consider adding items to your display or photos that signify the holidays: sprigs of evergreen, pine cones, cranberries, Christmas ornaments, wrapped presents, candy canes, etc.
You may also consider the way you package your products for the holidays:
- Gift boxes – adjust your pricing to add a box with clear lid and ribbon to each product. Seeing a scarf, pair of earrings or piece of art boxed and ready to be wrapped makes it easier for a shopper to imagine giving it as a gift.
- Gift-wrapped – show a few boxes wrapped with ribbons and gift tags. As long as the items inside aren’t one-of-a-kind, you can offer them to customers for a few dollars extra, so all they have left to do is add a name and place it under the tree. Wrapped presents also make the perfect festive prop while on your craft show table.
During the holidays assess the language you use to sell your products online and in person to see if you can tailor it towards the gift-giver.
- Greeting – the home page of a website or online shop should let visitors know as soon as they arrive: you have great options for gift giving. At a craft show, you may break the ice with “Who are you shopping for today?” or “How’s your holiday shopping going so far?” as opposed to “What are you shopping for today?”
- Product titles – online, it’s important to have your products show up in searches, so consider who people may be shopping for and the keywords they might search. “Shave Soap” may turn into “Shave Soap Gift Set for Dad”. Consider the titles of your shop’s categories as well. You may decide to group products by “Stocking Stuffers”, “Gifts for Him under $20”, “Gifts for Him under $50”, to make shopping easier. Apply the same idea to signage and product groupings at a craft show.
- Descriptions/Sales pitches – instead of helping shoppers imagine themselves wearing/using/displaying/consuming your product, help them visualize who your products are perfect for and what it will be like to give them as a gift. Also, mention any perks that make gift-giving easier; do you include a gift tag, snip prices, gift-wrap or package your products in a gift box?
- Shop policies – consider if your exchange or return policies need any updates for the holidays to encourage more buying. Retailers will extend their exchange/return period from 30 days to 60 or 90 to give people who receive the item enough time to make it into the store after unwrapping their gift.
- Shipping policies – keep in mind; there are a lot of last-minute shoppers, so offering additional shipping options may help boost sales. If you only provide standard shipping and a shopper needs the item as soon as possible, they’ll just go to the next guy and you’ll have lost a sale. If shipping costs are high, consider if it makes more sense for you to increase your product’s price to reduce your shipping price slightly. It’s the same price in the end but when I go to checkout and realize I’m paying almost as much as the product in shipping charges, I usually abandon my shopping cart. A $15 product & $5 shipping fee seems more reasonable than a $10 product and $10 shipping fee.
The last tip is to enjoy the holidays! It’s a busy time of year and we’re all guilty of taking on more than we should, so be sure you leave time for yourself. It’s okay to say no to a customized order or a customer who needs an item made last minute. Prepare as best as you can and make the most of sales, but not at the expense of your happiness.
Wishing you a successful holiday season!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the first post of the Holiday Selling Series here if you haven’t yet!