Hi everyone, I’m ashamed to admit it’s been 4 months since I last blogged and I’m well aware that I haven’t finished my social media schedule over Friday/The Weekend but being totally honest I haven’t even had the time to stick to it myself lately!
I’ve been wanting to write this blog post since last Christmas but for some reason I just kept putting it off. Anyway, October is here, winter is coming and as Etsy sellers we are getting our butts in gear for Christmas!
Here are some ways you can get your shop and yourself prepared and ready for the “rush”.
1. Analyse Your Process and Workspace
Is there a way to make fulfilling orders more streamlined and less stressful? Are there areas you could save time? Should you hire help?
I am fortunate enough to have a whole room as an office but last year (my first Etsy Christmas) I worked in a tiny little part of our kitchen that was supposed to be a dining area. I created room for two small tables. One was for making and one was for packing. Trust me having two “stations” no matter how small can make all the difference. I made things, put them in a box and then packed them all up in one go at the other table. It saved time not having to tidy the desk to get all the packing materials out.
My desks these days are bigger (I use 6ft trestle tables for desks! They are only £30 each and a great pop-up surface space!) and I have designed the room to “flow.” I make at one desk and then move the items to the packing desk where they are wrapped and packed up and finally into plastic tubs that sort them into postage brackets.
Time savers are vital at Christmas time. Last year one of the biggest reliefs for me was buying my Dymo 450 Labelwriter. I was writing up to 120 addresses a day and my hands were sore from trying to do it so quickly. There is a blog post under “Etsy Recommendations” all about the Labelwriter.
Another huge time sink for me was going to the Post Office as I don’t drive. Whilst I appreciated the downtime from sitting at my desk, it’s something I need to tackle this year. At the moment I am researching getting a Royal Mail courier to pick up my parcels once a day, franking machines and Royal Mail’s Drop And Go service. I’m not sure which one I’ll choose yet but I’m getting prepared!
Staff are also a good idea if you think you’re going to be snowed under. My mum helps work for me as she is also registered self employed in a craft business and can invoice me for her services. If you want to employ someone and become an employer it is worth getting official advice as it can be tricky with getting the right information for both of your tax returns. You will also need insurance.
2. Order Supplies In Abundance
It’s time to stock up. Remember that as us sellers get busier …our suppliers do too! And remember that as our outgoing post slows down… so does our incoming!
Essential Supplies (the stuff you use for every order):
- Postal supplies e.g. Customs Forms, Airmail Stickers, Envelopes, Boxes, Bubble Wrap, Labels, Paper etc
- Packaging supplies e.g. Thank You Notes/Flyers/Stickers, Tissue Paper, Gift Bags, Promotional Material
- Manufactured Items – get a bulk order in and have plenty ready to ship.
Projected Supplies (the stuff you find yourself using a lot or expect to!)
- Your bestselling items and all the supplies required to make them. Get lots in and you won’t have to worry about running out of stock!
- Seasonal items and the supplies required to make them. If it’s your first year on Etsy it’s tricky to project how many will sell, luckily you can always use them again the following year!
- Planning a huge special offer or sale? Make sure you’ve got plenty in so not to disappoint the bargain hunters.
- Printer Ink, Paper, Card
- Batteries for weighing scales (I wish I’d done this last year!!), camera, extra chargers.
- Decent light for late night making!
- Comforts! I spent so much time at the desk last year I NEEDED a special cushion designed to relieve the pressure on my coccyx, a back support and plenty of deep heat rub and wheaties to get through the pain of the hunch!
- Should coffee come under health supplies? I don’t care. Coffee. Lots of.
- When I got REALLY busy last year I didn’t have time to eat properly and I ordered a lot of take-aways… this year I’m planning to make healthy meals in bigger batches and freeze them ready for the busy times.
3. Christmas SEO
LOTS of customers will be using hot keyword terms such as “stocking filler/stuffer” and “Gift for her/him”
It’s time to start sprinkling these terms into our titles, tags and descriptions. Try not to compete with yourself so try and think of loads of different christmas terms and distribute them across your items rather than having them all on the one listing.
Here’s a few things to consider when deciding which ones to use for your products.
- Stocking fillers are usually low cost small items that are bought for children or partners. (or pets..) Stocking Fillers AND Stocking Stuffers are both useful to use.
- Gift For Her could also be Female Friend, Wife, Sister, Girlfriend, Daughter, Mother etc etc – likewise for “Him!” try and use a mix of “Gift Fors” in your listings.
- It doesn’t have to be a gender! How about “Gift For Gardener” “Gift For Nature Lover” think outside the box 🙂
- Gift can be substituted for “Present”
- Some people are looking for keywords such as “affordable” “budget” “high quality” “unique” “interesting” when looking for gifts.
- Christmas to some might be “Yule” or “Xmas”
It is also worth changing your shop announcement and shop title to be Christmas keyword rich to rank higher on Google over the christmas period.
4. Clean Up Shop
Clearing up your descriptions and having clear categories is a great way to create an easy shopping experience.
Ways you can achieve this include:
- Have headings in your descriptions (and try and have the same headings in each one.) E.g. a section for sizing information, a section for material information, a section on how to personalise an order. This will make it easy for the customer to answer any questions they may have.
- Categories – you may need to create more or less! I recently got rid of 2 categories that had 4 items between them. It was clearly not a direction I was going with my shop and considering the other categories had so many more items than they did I figured it looked messy. Remember Categories play a part in your SEO. Your category titles should be clear and simple about the products they contain. Avoid naming them after product ranges e.g. Name it “Woodland Jewellery” and not “Into The Woods”
- Not happy with a listing? Time to update it now before the rush starts!
5. Christmasify The Banner! (And maybe your logo?)
Luckily, the Etsy update this year means that our banner is shown even on mobile – it’s time to truly utilise it!
This year I’m going to be creating a banner that includes my last postage dates for each country (I am writing a blog post soon about mine and other seller’s experiences of postage dates).
I also have a cute version of my logo where the little fairy is wearing a Santa hat on a snowflake background – perhaps you can think of a small change that still represents your branding but is that bit more “Christmassy”!
6. List Your Christmas Items ASAP (if you haven’t already!)
You might think you’ll have time towards the end of October or the start of November… but you likely won’t! Plenty of group members are reporting Christmas sales already – including myself!
Other things to consider:
- Offer a Christmas gift wrap service for a fee. It’s up to you how much effort you want to put into it or how much you want to charge. I know a lot of you gift wrap items anyway but not all buyers are buying as gifts and it could be one of those things you can save time on later this year.
- Research creating gift cards for your shop – I haven’t done this but I know other sellers have had success with it. I know that the buyer must receive a physical item and you can never give a 100% discount but there must be a way as I’ve seen them being sold!
- Offer personalised messages for buyer’s that are sending gifts directly to their loved ones.
- Think about combining items into “luxury gift sets”.
7. Get Your Current Customers Returning
I am going to be offering all of my October and November customers a special coupon for use over the Christmas period.
- You can also warn customers of upcoming postal delays or potential early closure of your shop due to demand.
- You can advertise upcoming seasonal items to them e.g. with a flyer in their packaging.
8. Up Your Social Media Game
You can use those same keyword terms e.g. Gift For Her as hashtags on twitter and instagram. #GiftForHer #StockingFillers etc
- Create appealing facebook adverts and boost to your target audiences.
- Post regularly to instagram and twitter.
- Post regular Etsy Shop Updates and share these to your social media.
- Pin everything!!
- Share your posts with family and friends and ask them to share for you.
- Take part in Christmas markets set up in various facebook craft groups.
Okay so that’s over 1500 words now and I am super tired! I feel like I have more to say but I can’t think of it right now! If I think of more items I will add it in later. If you have any tips to add in then please leave me a message! 🙂
Feel free to join my Facebook Group to chat to me and other Etsy sellers:
Thanks for reading, hope it was helpful