For shop owners, this time of year is one of the busiest. In order to be the most successful you can be, it's important to plan for the important dates that fill 4Q. Have you thought about which days you will participate in? What deals you will offer? How you will advertise them? Having a plan in action will not only make your job easier, but you more than likely will make more sales.
THANKSGIVING DELIVERY CUT OFF DATES
Do you sell Thanksgiving specific items? You need to figure out when the last possible day your customers can order those items and receive them in time for their Thanksgiving celebrations. Your customers won't be too happy if they receive their orders the day after. Take into consideration any vendor deadlines you may have and always over estimate. Make your cut off a couple of days before you actually think it should be. You never know how things will go once you drop your packages off at the post office. It's better to under promise and over deliver.
BLACK FRIDAY / NOVEMBER 27, 2015
Traditionally, this is one of the largest Christmas shopping days of the year and while it has received some backlash, it mainly is aimed at brick and mortar stores opening as early as Thanksgiving, making their employees leave their families. Because most of us are online based, I don't think this applies to us. I don't see any harm in doing a little Christmas shopping from the comfort of your home while everyone is watching some football.
So, I guess first you must decide if your business will offer any special deals on Black Friday at all. If you are, plan those out now. Have your social media and newsletter graphics ready to go. Make sure your messaging is CLEAR. There are so many ads and sales going on that you want to get right to the point.
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY / NOVEMBER 28, 2015
The first Small Business Saturday was on November 27, 2010. This is only the 6th year of it's existence and it has grown so much. Many people who aren't normally small business conscious make an effort to shop small and locally. This is the perfect opportunity for a pop-up shop or even to offer a free shipping/pick-up coupon code to friends, family and those local to you.
CYBER MONDAY / NOVEMBER 30, 2015
This of course is the biggest sales day for online retailers. If you are wanting to offer any sales or specials, have a plan in place, ready to go. The sooner the better and the more you'll be able to enjoy the holiday weekend. I'm creating all of my graphics, coupon codes and newsletters this week. That way come Thanksgiving weekend, I'm free to enjoy my friends and family but my shop is still running smoothly.
GREEN MONDAY / DECEMBER 14, 2015
Green Monday is an online retail industry term similar to Cyber Monday. The term was coined by eBay to describe its best sales day in December, usually the second Monday of December. I haven't participated on this date in the past but am thinking it might be beneficial as one last push before my holiday cut off dates.
CHRISTMAS DELIVERY CUT OFF DATES
These are even more important than your Thanksgiving cut off dates (in my opinion). Your customers are counting on you for Christmas gifts for their loved ones. You do not want their packages to show up after December 25th. Again, it's important to under promise so you can over deliver. I also set clear holiday cut off dates but I continue shipping up until I shut down for the holiday. The packages may still make it in time, but my customers are aware up front that they might not be in hand on Christmas.
HOLIDAY SHOP CLOSURES
If you are planning to shut down at all for the holidays, make sure you have clearly communicated this everywhere you reach your customers. Make sure they know that if they place an order after a certain date, it won't be shipped until day x. You're entitled to a little time off, so take it. Just make sure you let your customers know what to expect.
NEW YEARS EVE/DAY / DECEMBER 31, 2015 AND JANUARY 1, 2016
These are other great opportunities to take advantage of. People are off work, they are celebrating. In what ways can you offer them something they need? Have a plan for these days, even if it's just a fun graphic for social media wishing them a happy new year.
JANUARY & THE NEW YEAR
Don't forget to plan for January and the new year. January is typically slower for product based businesses because everyone is dealing with their holiday hangover. What products can you launch or push that will speak to people in the new year. Have a game plan in place so if times are slower, you are still making progress.