October 12, 2018

6 hacks to holiday-proof your business

The holidays are always buzzing, whether you’re shipping out gift orders or planning end-of-year team celebrations. Here’s how to handle it all in style.

1. Showcase your seasonal products

If your business sells giftable items, the holidays are a fantastic opportunity to release some limited edition holiday-themed products. Whether it’s a festive cinnamon version of your scented candle, a limited edition graphic print or a set of printed Greetings Cards, your imagination is pretty much the limit.

No bandwidth for new products? Give your existing lines an online makeover by taking new product photos with some seasonal props and wintry settings. Our guide to taking great product photos  may come in handy here. Or why not keep it super-simple and mark the holidays by changing up your delivery packages with a seasonal Sticker?

packaging-inspiration

2. Promote your holiday wares

Whether or not you’re producing special holiday items, get your seasonal strategy in place to make the most of the holiday rush. It’s a good idea to start thinking at least a few weeks in advance. To be on the safe side, call a planning meeting around Thanksgiving to get the ball rolling.

It’s a good idea to promote any discounts or special offers early on so that customers can allocate their gift budget. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are helpful, particularly if you have new product photos to share. You can also take it offline with Flyers or Postcards ­– equally great for adding to customer packages or distributing locally as a way to keep customers in the loop about seasonal discounts or new products.

For more inspiration on smart festive marketing strategies, check out our tips for being competitive during the holiday season.

3. Get stocking up in advance

No, that’s not advice for those expecting Santa Claus. Stock levels may be affected by unusual patterns of buying activity over the holiday period, whether it’s a flurry of gift-purchasing or a drop in sales as customers’ budgets are focused elsewhere.

If you’re not sure what to expect, and especially if this is your first holiday season as a business, it’s better to have too much than too little. (Unless you’re selling perishable items, that is – common sense applies there.) Make sure you’ve got a stash of products on standby for the holiday rush. That means planning ahead, particularly if you’re a drop-shipping business that works with a supplier partner to source and send out your products.

4. Plan your seasonal shipping and returns

Shipping and returns are hot topics for holiday shoppers. Can they guarantee an item will arrive on time? And what if the recipient doesn’t like a gift they’ve been bought – can it be returned free of charge?

It’s a good idea to clearly state the last date for holiday orders to avoid late deliveries. Let people know they’ll need to get their order in before the cut-off point to make sure they (and you) avoid last-minute stress. If you usually offer free shipping , you could offer an additional expedited last-minute service for an extra charge.

When it comes to returns, you might choose to change your policies for a limited time to help customers out. For example, you could extend the return period for items bought during December to give customers more of a chance to return unwanted gifts.

Publicizing your shipping and returns information will also support your festive marketing plans, reminding customers that you’re a good place to find gifts. Why not spread the word with a seasonally-themed Flyer included with your packages?

packaging-inspiration

5. Boost end-of-year morale and motivation

As the holidays approach, you and your team may not be 100% focused on the job – hardly surprising given the flurry of domestic activity that comes with visiting relatives, gift shopping and the planning of delicious dinners. To add to the preparations at home, you may also be dealing with end-of-year crunches in workload. Make sure you’ve got your self-care game on point to help you stay bright-eyed and bushy-tailed until January.

You can also make sure your holiday season is memorable for the right reasons by holding a team celebration meal. Take the chance to spoil your staff with a glam night out, and make it a bit special with some fancy party invitations. Or if you’re a solo entrepreneur, treating yourself to something in recognition of your hard work in the outgoing year. Maybe a fancy new Notebook would fit the bill?

6. Set yourself up for a happy new year

The end of one year, the start of another – what better time to reflect on your achievements and plan next year’s goals with some company resolutions? We’ve suggested a few in our New Year resolutions guide.

Sending out Greetings Cards to your list of valued clients is a sure-fire way to add some holiday glow to your relationships and set the scene for ongoing business in the new year.

Many businesses opt for a branded greeting card which can be personalized with a handwritten message to clients. You can incorporate your brand colors and illustration style or perhaps feature some of your product images in a festive design. Whatever the style, make sure your message expresses how much you’ve enjoyed working with them.

Bonus festive tip: our Square Business Cards make the cutest gift tags!

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