Sure, it's late June, and while most folks are planning for the long Fourth of July weekend, we’re thinking months ahead to the holiday retail season. Soon, the biggest retail opportunity of the year will be in full swing. What does this mean for you? It’s not too early to start planning to maximize your holiday sales now.
Let’s get super strategic and break down your holiday preparations over the next few months into three areas to take action: Merchandising, Marketing, and Operations.
Merchandising: What You’re Going to Sell
Whether or not you have a niche category, it’s typical that you’ll have some stand-out items that sell better than others during the Holiday period. The peak timing of your best sellers may vary over the course of the season, especially if buyers follow typical timing for activities like decorating, attending parties, and wrapping gifts. Pro tip: time your merchandising to take advantage of these consumer activities.
Let’s start with a quick look back at 2016 (1). This can help you think about how to determine when to drop prices, how you can increase your average order value, or if you need to negotiate with or manage suppliers differently.
Your Merchandising To-Do List
Marketing: Finding Customers
According to the National Retail Federation, 75% of shoppers are looking for some sort of deal or promotion (2). If you offered a promotion, how would they know? Use your marketing skills to make sure shoppers see your sweet deal.
Think of marketing in two ways: what you can do on-eBay and what you can do off-eBay.
On eBay, there are a number of marketing tools available to promote your store such as Promoted Listings, Promotions Manager, or Markdown Manager. Make a plan to automate your promotions--that will save you time and help maintain sales momentum.
Having an online presence is important off eBay’s site as well. You can optimize your listings so that search engines can pick up your View Item pages. Research shows that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from social media referrals (3), so boost your sales through social selling. Share upcoming sales or sneak peeks into your new products, and cross promote your blog posts with Facebook and YouTube.
You Marketing To-Do List
Operations: Packaging, Shipping, and Customer Service
Let’s look at some consumer trends to inform your planning for these areas.
First, shipping. Expectations around delivery times are only getting higher and higher; buyers want their items, and they want them now. Be sure to set your handling time to the shortest possible time you can commit to and process orders as quickly as you can.
During holiday, you’ll experience peak days, of course, but there are also peak times during the day for order processing. Prep your shipping stations to handle the increased volume. You may also want to schedule multiple pick-ups per day from your carrier.
Secondly, there are a slew of special shopping days (think Black Friday and Cyber Monday) that you should be tapping into to boost sales. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are 110% higher than any normal weekend, it's not the last weekend of big Holiday sales. Plan for the long haul: more than 10% of buyers say they continue shopping until December 23, and nearly half of buyers say they plan to shop the week after Christmas.
Finally, think about your customer service plan. Are you set up for a good customer service experience? eBay saw 7 million new buyers come to the site last year. If you normally turn around responses in a day, you might consider staffing up to cut that time in half. 45% of buyers will abandon an online transaction if they don’t hear back quickly.
Your Operations To-Do List
There you have it—our first set of recommendations about how to approach the Holiday selling season. Be sure to check this blog for more Holiday selling advice in the coming months.
1. Treacy Reynolds, “Holiday Retail Sales Increased 4 Percent in 2016”, https://nrf.com/news/holiday-retail-sales-increased-4-percent-2016 (January 13, 2017).
2. National Retail Federation, 2013.
3. 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (see page 17)
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.