Holiday season? I know, we just finished the holidays. Some folks still haven’t taken down their decorations. But now is the time to start thinking about Q4 – the Winter Holiday Season.
The time between January and the end of February is an excellent time to practice retail arbitrage and score clearance deals. Even those super clearance Christmas decorations are a good buy. Christmas decorations always sell, even in the summertime!
So while sales are slower now through late June, you have time to evaluate your strategy, clean up bad habits, and stock up on fresh inventory. Here are a few things to work on before sales pick up again in the summer:
Reinvest in new inventory
Part of the algorithms of many marketplaces is activity. Posting new listings consistently is one key to getting your items to rise to the top of the search results. So get out to the stores and scour the clearance racks and shelves for new items to add to your inventory. Don’t forget to check online also, online retailers are posting products with deep discounts this time of year too – don’t miss out.
Those left over toys, gift sets, and accessories like hats and scarves? Snap those up! Many people shop for gifts as early as late August or September. So you want your store to be as fully stocked as your budget allows.
Practice good inventory management
Now, during the slow time, it’s good to take stock of any unsold items. Check through everything. Pick out any items that may have become dirty or damaged.
Don’t get dings on your seller account because you’ve sold an item that you can’t find or now has a giant hole in it. Review your listings and ensure that everything you have listed for sale you still have it in-stock and it’s in good saleable condition. Many newbie sellers are surprised at how many items may get damaged or dirtied during the holiday rush of packing and shipping, and how many items get misplaced or “lost” via a family member.
Also, evaluate your storage methods. Is your storage area too small? Is it frequented by pets and/or family members more often than you anticipated? What about your storage containers? Do you have enough hangers, plastic bins, shelving? Now is a good time to fix any issues. Grab more bins, hangers and shelving if you need them, and re-organize your inventory to prevent misplaced items and damage.
Stock up on shipping supplies
Nothing is worse than having a stack of sales and running out of shipping supplies. Having to run out to Staples and pay a premium for poly mailers or tape, or fighting through the crowds at the Post Office for free boxes is a waste of time and money.
If you’re still using free USPS boxes, start ordering them online now. USPS will ship you small batches free shipping boxes at no cost. Order a few batches in different sizes every couple weeks, and by crunch time you will be fully stocked.
Also, hit Amazon and price shop and buy these basics:
- Good quality clear packing tape
- Packing paper (if you sell fragile items)
- Poly mailers in different sizes (essential for clothing sellers)
- Labels for your thermal printer
Evaluate your current listings
Browse through your store. Are the photos good enough? Maybe you could improve the lighting a bit, or the positioning. Retake photos as needed.
Check the listing titles and descriptions. Did you note any and all flaws, and important features? Did you use enough keywords? Improve your listings as needed.
And finally, check your listing for errors. Fix any typos, spelling errors, size or feature errors.
If you take these steps now during the downtime, you will set yourself up for success during the busy holiday season.