Top 5 Tips for Getting Set for a Profitable Christmas in 2012

Christmas is just over 4 months away! While the majority of the population begins to stress over the costs of the upcoming season, us online retailers can rub our hands together with excitement: The most profitable season of the year is almost here.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to get prepared. To help you make this Christmas your most profitable yet, here are my top 5 tips for holiday selling!

1. Focus on boosting sales on your top selling products

If you are an established seller, you will know what your best selling products are. When it comes to increasing your sales this Christmas, don’t try and reinvent the wheel: Work with what already works.

You might be thinking that in order to make sales at Christmas time, you need to sell tinsel and Christmas trees or items that would make good gifts, but the truth is, all items sell well at Christmas! Even generic household items like cleaning products or office equipment pick up in September, October November and December. So if you don’t have a product range that includes generic Christmas or gift items, don’t fret: Follow my advice to focus on selling your best sellers and you will have a winning formula.

2. Solve your customer’s problems

You will know yourself that sometimes it’s just hard to think of what gifts to buy your friends or family members, especially if they are the type that just seem to already having everything! You can use this as an opportunity to help your buyers out and simultaneously increase your sales. This task is made easier if you sell on your own website because you can create product categories such as “gifts for her for under $50” or “Gifts for dads (that already have socks and ties!”). Gifts.com do this well, check out my screenshot below to see what I mean:

Alternatively, you could just categorise items by price. This is helpful to shoppers because around Christmas and the holidays, most of them have a budget for each person they need to purchase a gift for, so you will make buying from you easy and intuitive for them.

3. Offer a gift wrapping service

Some sellers offer this year-round, but during the holidays it’s vital! By offering gift wrapping services, you eliminate one of the small tasks that makes the Christmas season hectic for your customers, so they will love you for it! If you can, offer this as a free service which will make buying from you a no-brainer for most shoppers. Visit dollar stores to source gift wrap and cellotape cheaply so that it doesn’t eat into your profit margins.

4. Work closely with your supplier and get your wholesale order in early!

Make sure you give yourself and your supplier plenty of lead time to get the deal sealed

and your shipment sent. If you are importing from overseas, make sure you allow time for possible delays with Customs who are extra vigilant during the holidays.

If you are dropshipping, it’s important to keep some stock on hand to avoid lost sales from

back orders which are more likely to occur when suppliers are overloaded with orders during

the upcoming busy months. ‘But that defeats the purpose of dropshipping!’ I hear you say. Well, one might say that losing sales from buyers who don’t want to wait on delayed shipping defeats the purpose of online selling altogether!

5. TOP TIP: Spend up in January

Do not skip this tip! In January and February, eBay.co.uk and other online marketplaces are flooded with unwanted gifts being sold off. These items often sell very cheaply, so it’s a great time for you to snap up some bargains to resell for a profit. I’ve made some very easy money using this method. It works so well because:

- Inexperienced people are listing items on eBay. They aren’t professional sellers, they are just everyday folk trying to sell off gifts they don’t want. Sometimes they list items way undervalue, or they create listings that are dull and unattractive to most buyers. But you will know what to look for and will be able to swoop in on all the bargains.

- While most people are broke after Christmas, you will have just worked through your most profitable period of the year, and you’ll have money to invest. This makes auction-format listings a goldmine because far less people will be bidding on the same items.

- When everyone’s credit card bills start to roll in around January and February, you will see a massive influx of product listings as people try to sell off items to make some quick-cash and get their credit card bills paid on time. You usually see items like laptops, mp3 players, designer handbags and other luxury items for sale around this time. This combined with the fact that the sellers are after a quick sale really sets the conditions for you to get a bargain that you can resell for a good profit.

Will this be your first Christmas season as an online retailer? If not, do you notice an increase in sales around the jolly season?

For a complete step by step guide to making this Christmas your most profitable yet, check out SaleHoo’s 5 step blog series which walks you through everything you need to do to get set for Christmas!

Alice Delore is an education specialist for SaleHoo.com, an online community of over 95,000 online sellers and retailers. Their product range consists...

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