It is the 1st of November and this morning I switched the music channel on to a countdown of Christmas songs! If you have an Etsy business or any micro/small business you will probably already have been thinking and preparing for Christmas. If you are like me you will have had a plan in place since the start of Summer but if you are a little more laid back then don’t worry there is still just enough time before the festive rush begins. I’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare but I’m happy for you to suggest your own too so please get in touch.
Order in your packaging supplies now
These could be your usual supplies but make sure you order extra; more than enough to take you through to the New Year and beyond in fact. It may be harder to get hold of last minute supplies especially as other businesses often shut down for the festive period or wind down their stock supplies and you may get a last minute rush and you don’t want to be stressing about the fact you don’t have any envelopes, tissue paper, stickers etc. You might also consider switching up your packaging, maybe adding a sparkly twist perhaps?
Organise your raw materials
If you make handmade products especially ones that require more than one component then you need to make sure you will not run out of one thing that is crucial to your design. The best way to do this is keep everything organised (maybe invest in some storage boxes) and do a quick stock take of your raw materials, then keep this stock take up to date by checking every few days. As you get busier it might be harder to remember how many you have of something causing a last minute panic when you realise you don’t have any necklace clasps/ varnish/ thread or whatever it might be.
Christmas-ify your photos
I’m not suggesting you reshoot every item in your Etsy shop with a bough of holly in the background but doing a festive photoshoot of a small range of products with ensure you have lots of content to share in the run up to Christmas and give shoppers inspiration. Maybe you could show how your products might be used around this time of year. If you sell specific Christmas products then of course go crazy glittering up your photography but have a think about other products that might make wonderful gifts and style them with that in mind. Don’t forget to include a photo of your festive wrapping if you are offering that.
Update your banners and announcements
It can be incredibly frustrating to get last minute shoppers when you are already snowed under messaging to ask why they haven’t received their orders etc. This will always happen not matter how obvious you make it but adding a banner message with your last order dates/ turnaround times will help. Make sure you are clear about how long you need to process an order and how long it will take to ship. Consider offering shipping upgrades if available as customers are more likely to pay at this time of year. Also leave more than the recommended shipping time especially for international orders as the systems get so busy. Last year some parcels were taking 4-6 weeks to reach USA customers despite it saying 5-7 days. You might also consider adding a note to all buyers giving them an estimate when they will receive their items, this can be done automatically so you don’t have to remember each time.
Keep your customer service top-notch
It may be really easy to let your usual high standards of customer service slip as more and more enquiries come through but this is the fastest way to getting bad feedback and reputation. Make sure you respond to all enquiries, even if it is to apologise that your order books are closed, they might still order at another time if you have taken time to reply. Always address the customer and sign off personally and professionally. If you don’t have time to sit checking messages, you could add an auto response explaining that you are busy right now but will respond as soon as you can to buy a bit of time. Treat every customer/order/enquiry exactly the same as you would the rest of the year.
Don’t forget the office Christmas party!
If you run your Etsy business from home and it’s just you, it can be very lonely. You need to have some downtime and enjoy the festive madness. In the past I have attended Christmas parties organised by Etsy Team Leeds (there may be a local Etsy team near you) and I have also organised a small party for a group of local designer-makers (beer, buffet and crackers in a pub!). Having some time off and having something to look forward will hopefully stop you burning out and ensure you don’t just sleep for the whole of Christmas day! (Napping during the queen’s speech is acceptable though).
If you enjoyed these tips please leave me a lovely comment. Always love to hear from you! Like I said, it can get very lonely working from home all the time…