I had originally posted this together with a previous post but with the holiday shopping season fast approaching I decided it needed its very own post. So here it is:
1. Get organized. If you don't already have a packing and shipping station set up consider getting one put together. One centralized area where you can keep all of your envelopes/boxes, mailing labels, tape, scissors, ribbon, thank you cards, business cards, and whatever else you like to include with your shipments.
2. Stock up on supplies. Take a quick inventory and make sure you have plenty of the above listed items. The last thing that you want to do is be running to one of the office supply stores everyday to get mailers or labels. And of course don't forget your crafting supplies. Start looking for good deals on the supplies you need to make your product i.e beads, wire, yarn, glycerin whatever applies, and buy in bulk. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
3. If you can try to bulk up your inventory. If you know that you have one or a couple of popular items that you sell alot of go ahead and make extras. That way you might be able to save yourself the stress and anxiety of too many all niters to finish a product and get it shipped on time.
4. Speaking of time...start thinking about shipping deadlines. It's a good idea to check with the postal service once it gets closer to the holidays and see what their suggestions are for the latest date that an item can be shipped and be "guaranteed" to arrive in time for gift giving. Then amend your shop announcement to let customers know that items must be ordered before such and such date in order to arrive in time. Oh, it's also a good idea to start thinking about a cut off date for custom orders. Go ahead and let your customers know that you will only accept custom orders for Christmas gifts up until a certain date. Otherwise you will inevitably have someone want a custom order that would take at least 4 days to produce but they will order it 2 days before Christmas and expect it to be ready for them to give on Christmas morning.
5. Now may be a good time to start considering your promotional/advertising strategies. There are several options from paid ads to social networking and of course the blogosphere, just do what works for you. The important thing is that you get your name circulating so that it is fresh on potential customers minds. And of course start pushing those business cards, give one to anyone that you can.
6. Shop appearance. I can't stress this one enough. Take a good critical look at your shop. Try to see it from the buyers perspective. Tweak your photos and descriptions. Do your very best to give the shopper a good representation of just how great your items are.
I can't think of anymore tips right at the moment but I am sure that there are things that I have left out. Check the forums. There are many great Etsy vets out there who are willing to share really good, helpful advice. I am considering this my first holiday shopping season on Etsy because I just opened my shop last October, so last Christmas didn't really count because I had no idea what I was doing. The things I have listed here are just some of my own personal goals for this year. I am still working on getting a good organized packaging and shipping station set up. I think I am pretty good so far on my supplies. I think the biggest goals for me right now are getting my inventory built up, I would like to have at least 100 items in my shop before the holidays, and promoting. I have also started listing some made to order items which is new for me so I'm not sure how that will go. I may be digging myself a great big hole. I guess we will find out huh.
Well, I guess that is all for now. Sorry about the long post. Please if you have anything to add leave a comment and share with us. Ok, have a great day and I guess I'll catch ya on the flip side.