Christmas is fast approaching and hopefully it’s one of the busiest and prosperous times for us Crafters. But this has got us thinking about Christmas from a Commercial point of view as buyers and now as sellers. This has thrown up a whole can of worms of questions for us and we expect for others too?
As this is our first Christmas as craft sellers and we have no previous retail experience of selling, just buying! When should you really start planning and preparing for Christmas and marketing your Christmas stock and events?
We know the shops on the High Street start moving their Christmas stock into the shops more or less as soon as the kids go back to school in September, some even start setting up their Christmas displays in August! Should we be doing the same as sellers? Personally from a buyers point of view I don’t usually start thinking of Christmas until the beginning/middle of November, ie. after Halloween and will walk out of a shop if I as much as hear a blip of a Christmas song, but now as sellers is this far too late?
Is the time to start planning and making, different depending on what you do, make or sell? For instance if you sell Christmas Supplies, make Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, Christmas themed items etc., or organise Christmas events, do you start planning and making earlier than others who make items like jewellery, gift items for the home etc? If so, when do you start and when do you notice the start of your Christmas items selling? Also, how much do you make and how much stock do you order? On-line stores say the search for Christmas related items usually starts in September, but how does this compare with your impressions, have you sold anything Christmas related yet? I sold at a Craft Fair in September some gift packaged book marks, which people told me were for Christmas presents, but I hadn’t packaged them up as Christmas items, I wasn’t even thinking Christmas then, was I being naive!
Christmas shopping on-line this year is predicted to be earlier, mainly due to last year’s issues with the early December snowfall and postage problems. This is known commercially as Cyber Sunday and Cyber Monday and these dates this year are the 4th and 5th December. This is when on-line retail traffic peaks. So if those dates are anything to go by, be prepared for an onslaught of shoppers early December! Also, for those who have mailing lists, Wednesdays, predictably the 14th December and 21st December is good for emails and is a good time for you to use your mailing lists to target your customers.
Also, we suppose we do all have to bear in mind the Christmas postage dates as well, so buyers get their items in time for Christmas, Royal Mail recommends posting earlier than later! (See link: http://www2.royalmail.com/greetings)
So now the question of Christmas has been asked, we have another. When should you start your Christmas/New Year Sales?
Do those retailers on the high street who start their Christmas/New Year Sales early, ie the last week or so before Christmas, do it too soon? Personally as a buyer it puts me off buying from them, knowing that if I had waited I could possibly have bought items at half price. As a small business selling mostly on-line and at Craft Fairs when should you start your Sale and how successful is it? Will shoppers peak too early this year with their Christmas shopping, so have no money left for the Sales or will they remain savvy and wait for the last-minute to see if they can get a bargain, this is a gamble for both shoppers and retailers, so who will win?
So what do you think, we would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this subject?
Lastly, we at The Crafty Network are trying to do everything we can to attract and educate shoppers to our Facebook Page and Blog, so we can act as a kind of portal out to the bigger retail world of Facebook and on-line craft sites. So many people we have spoken to are just not aware of the buying opportunities on-line, especially buying UK Handmade items. That’s why we asked recently on our Facebook page if people would be willing to print and hand out our leaflets at Craft Events so we can spread the word. We make
no money from promoting Handmade Crafts etc., and we give up a large amount of time to keep these pages going so a little bit of help is really appreciated.
We have also asked on our Facebook Page for Sellers to send us 3 photos of handmade items that people may want to buy as gifts this Christmas, so we can publicise them in a Christmas Album on Facebook and on here. The closing date is 6th November, so far we are disappointed with the response, we really thought a lot more people would use this opportunity to promote their items. All you need to do if you would like to join in with this promotion, please send us 3 good quality photos of items you are selling this Christmas, along with a description and price for each item and where the items can be found, ie. your Facebook shop url, or on-line shop url. Send these to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and please don’t leave it to the last minute.
Linda & Kay xx