Along about the time the first early morning sports a little chill, I start to think about the holidays. For me, that pretty much means that I begin to look at my search on eBay more often for the one little special ornament I collect.
In the past, I have known when the buying season began and ended on eBay. It was always earlier than some might think. In other words, the Christmas stuff should be listed now. I've seen a little activity in my Etsy shop in that direction so I found this post by a fellow Etsy seller quite helpful.
1337art posted this "get ready" list on the Etsy Forums. I thought some of my readers might find it useful. Even if you don't sell on Etsy there is some good advice.
Be sure you have plenty of ink and paper so you don't run out when you're rushing to print many invoices and shipping labels.
It's a good idea to have multiples of your best selling items available so you can keep your shop well stocked.
Customs forms are filled out with your mailing address.
You have a good stash of shipping supplies including envelopes, boxes, packing tape, tissue paper, packing peanuts, ribbons, address labels, packaging that relates to your brand, and anything else you might need.
If you have a gift wrapping option, be sure it's being advertised now. You can use your last picture slot to show your gift wrapping option whether it's free or available for an additional charge. You can write a blog post about your gift wrapping with beautiful pictures to go with it. You can show off your gift wrapping on social networks as well.
Be sure you follow the venue's terms of service. Many do not allow individual listings to be used to advertise a service or upgrades, such as gift wrapping.
Finalize your shipping cut off for orders to be delivered by Christmas. The United States Postal Service will post their cut off times soon, and it's best to cut off sooner than they state.
Update your policies to reflect whether you will ship orders to addresses other than what is provided with PayPal payments. Often times customers like companies to ship items directly to the gift recipients. Doing so may void Paypal's seller protection due to shipping to unverified addresses.
Set up an email newsletter sign up, and be sure to let your customers know about it. The holiday season is a good time to build up a following.
Be sure your item listings include all the important information your customers need. This includes measurements in standard and metric formats, weight, care instructions, allergy/other warnings, and materials.
If you accept custom orders set a deadline and stick to it. Be sure it is clearly stated so your customers know how long custom orders take, whether they have to pay up front, and other important info.
If you include thank you notes with orders be sure they are as prepped as possible.
Be sure you have plenty of business cards and other promotional materials.
If your shop allows have your samples packaged and ready to drop into envelopes and boxes.
Spend your downtime now making extra meals and freezing them so when you are busy shipping orders and fulfilling custom orders you and your family will not starve. Maybe throw in some batches of cookie dough so you can have fresh cookies after a long day.
List your holiday themed products now! Yes it's only August, but this allows time for search engines to index your listings so shoppers can find your items
If you make items to order be sure you clearly state how long it will take to make the item.
Be sure your profile, shop announcement, and policies are up to date.
If your shop allows create sample packs of items. This could be a candle votive sampler, soaps, or interchangeable earrings.
Consider offering gift certificates. Check with your state laws regarding how to process them.
Offer gift sets. For him, for her, for coworkers, etc.
This is completely optional. Decorate your shop with a special holiday banner and avatar set. You can design these yourself or hire a seller for a small fee.
Build up your inventory. Shoppers love choices. Consider offering different product lines. For example, if you're a photographer you can offer post cards, coasters, note card sets, etc.
Plan your holiday parties now. Do you normally host Thanksgiving dinner? Will you be able to this year if your shop takes off? Maybe have dinner at a family member's house, cater the meal, throw a potluck where you just make the turkey.
Write your Christmas and holiday cards now, address them, and keep them in safe place so all you have to do is drop them off at the post office later on.
Do as much Christmas shopping now as you can. Wrap the gifts as soon as you get them so you don't have to later.
If you know you will be super busy line up some baby sitters and house cleaners.
Enlist friends to help you with the small stuff: putting stickers on your gift boxes, cutting out thank you notes, post office runs, etc.
Check now for local craft shows and holiday bazaars. It actually might be too late to enroll in some of the larger ones.
If you receive several of the same inquiry from different customers you can write out ahead of time a general response that you can personalize to fit the customer's inquiry. That way you're not writing out the same thing day after day - you can simply cut and paste and personalize.
Make sure you have enough supplies on hand.
Coffee! A second coffee maker. Hoard ground coffee.
1337art's shop is a handmade jewelry shop and so this list does not totally apply to me as a vintage seller but it got me moving in the right direction to get more stuff in my shop and to get a little more organized. Here is a link to her shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/1337art
I have Christmas stuff in my Etsy shop which is linked over on the right.
Anything you would add to the list??