It is never too early to start planning for holiday sales!
Typically, we start our planning in January, after the holidays are over from the previous year. Here is a list of some of the January planning we do for the upcoming season:
- Check out the inventory and make note of what sold best or sold out during the previous year. Since January is already inventory time, it is easy to see what inventory was over-bought or inventory that sold out too quickly.
- Research or develop new products based on the input received from customers. If you exhibit at holiday shows or kiosks, you probably received a few requests for products or changes to currently designs.
- Analyze shipping and customer services systems for areas of improvement. If a customer was upset over a problem during the holidays, find a way to improve or correct the problem for future orders.
The holidays are an extremely busy time with no room for bad systems or repeat mistakes. Planning ahead of time helps resolve these issue before the become a serious problem.
Since we, personally, no longer manufacture or create products (we buy from other producers), we are always looking for new lines, companies or products that fit in well with our currently inventory.
Winter Holiday Planning
If you create your products, winter is a good time to let your creative juices flow to come up with new designs, new recipes and new unique products. If you plan ahead, you can introduce some of these products at the spring and summer fairs and shows to hear feedback from your customers. The best market research is talking one-on-one with your customers or potential customers.
Summer Holiday Planning
By summertime, at the latest, it is time to put your creations into production for the holiday season. Buy your raw materials and go to work!
Since we purchase finished products, we work on developing orders or products based on our research and analysis of items that sold well. We always bring in some new items, along with keeping a good stock of best sellers.
Late summer is also time to order shipping and packing supplies. Thankfully, we have stores in our area that save packing materials for us. If that option is not available, I suggest asking some local retail outlets to save packing material for you. Since they too are ordering inventory for the holiday, stores usually have peanuts, bubble wrap, air pillow and other packing materials that they will, otherwise, just throw out.
Fall Holiday Planning
By fall, we have our products ordered. Once they are on their way, we add them to the website using whatever photos we have at that moment — knowing we can update photos after we have products in hand, if necessary.
By November, we have inventory in stock, packing materials ready, supplies on hand and are ready to start marketing and advertising!
For more holiday sales tips, check out the articles here!