Tips for Surviving an Etsy Holiday!


I have been an Etsy seller since August 2012. However, the 2012 holiday season did not apply to me — because I had about 10 items in my shop total and not very much traffic.

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON {2013} — was a completely different story.

I started feeling my sales pick up at the beginning of November. I decided to stock my shop full of supplies and hope for the best. After *officially* surviving a very successful holiday season… I decided I wanted to share a few things that I learned. That way, any of you who have an Etsy shop or decide to open one may have a few tips from a fairly new seller.


Overstock on Supplies

I cannot express how important it is to overstock on everything you will need to make your product BEFORE the holiday season starts! At the beginning of November, I stocked up on everything I could possibly need to make a large load of necklaces. I ran out COMPLETELY after Cyber Monday and then I ran out AGAIN around December 15th.

Next Year: I will be ordering about 3-4 times the amount of supplies that I think I will need for the holidays. Because hey — you can always use it until it’s gone if you don’t end up needing all of it for the holidays!!!


Set a “By Christmas Deadline”

Never in my LIFE have I received so many emails asking the exact same question:

“If I order this necklace today, will I receive it by Christmas?”

I completely 100% understand WHY people kept asking me this — as they were triple checking that if they ordered from me… that their gifts would arrive in time. So, to try and be proactive and prevent the overload of repetitive questions… I figured out that I needed to set a “Order By ____ To Receive By Christmas” deadline. I put it in the “Shop Announcements” portion of my shop.

Around the beginning of November, USPS announces their “Holiday Shipping Deadlines” for each type of method of shipping. It shows when you need your packages to be out in order to be delivered by Christmas. They have deadlines for First Class, Priority, Express, and so on.

really like shipping first class mail. It is the cheapest AND it gets there in a very reasonable time frame. So, I set my deadline to be December 17th because it gave me plenty of time to process any orders received on December 17th in order to send it out via first class mail.

Next Year: I will be setting multiple deadlines. First class shipping will be a certain date. After that date I will have a deadline that MUST include an upgrade in shipping for priority, express, etc.

My Tip For Setting Your Deadline: Be sure that when you come up with your deadline date that you give yourself plenty of time to process the orders {I said orders as in PLURAL}. JUST BECAUSE USPS says you need to have your package shipped by December 20th doesn’t mean that you need to set your date for December 20th. Factor in how much time you need to process MULTIPLE orders and get them out before USPS’s deadline.

Do what it takes to make your customers happy

Having happy Etsy customers is the best way to get repeat orders. No matter WHAT the situation is, try and see it from their point of view. The holidays are crazy — people are frantically trying to figure out what they are going to get for their loved ones. They want special gifts that are going to MEAN something.

It is stressful.

SO — no matter how irritated you may get with the repeat questions, requests and rushed orders ~ NEVER let it show to your customers and always try your hardest to meet their requests.

Not only are the holidays stressful for your customers — it is stressful for you, too! Here’s an example of what I had to do this past holiday season to ensure that my customers were happy:

I ordered WAY more supplies than I thought I needed – and I didn’t worry about re-ordering. I was positive I had plenty. Well, a few days before USPS’s deadline for deliveries via First Class by Christmas — I realized that I was OUT of my most popular necklace piece: Stainless Steel 1 Inch Pendants. I immediately ordered more from my supplier – {who is AWESOME btw} – and I paid for Priority Mail. My supplier got the pendants out on the next day {as they have EXCELLENT shipping and are super fast}.

I suppose that USPS was busy due to the holidays and that made shipping slower than usual. I received my packages a day later than expected. Well, the problem with this was that I was going on a family vacation to Ohio and NEEDED them to arrive when they were expected. They arrived when we were already IN Ohio {I live in Georgia}.

Since they didn’t arrive when expected, I only had a couple of options. I could either {a} refund my customers their money and hope they find a different present for their loved ones or {b} take a financial hit and pay to overnight them their package as soon as I got back from Ohio.

I explained the situation to my customers and they all {4 of them} expressed that they were excited about their product and would really love to still receive it before Christmas. So, my husband and I paid to overnight all four packages to their destinations so that my customers would receive them by Christmas.

Although this was a financial hit and I did not make a dime of profit from those orders — it was way more important to keep those customers happy than to make the profit. My customers ordered in PLENTY of time to receive their orders by Christmas — and it was MY fault that it came down to the very last second. The responsible thing as a shop owner is to take the hit and do what it takes to make them happy!

Have EXCELLENT communication with your customers!

If people are unhappy with your shop, they can open up a claim against your shop. SO — make sure that your customers know ALL the important and relevant details from the beginning. Start by making your listings extremely detail oriented. Tell them EVERYTHING POSSIBLE about the product they are ordering. Don’t leave information out because you’re afraid they won’t like it — they will end up knowing anyways when they receive it!

Then, be sure to respond promptly and professionally when a customer sends you an Etsy Conversation or email. Even if you’re answering your 20th email that asks the EXACT SAME QUESTION — that 20th customer does NOT know that you’re answering the same question for the 20th time. So, be professional, kind, and thorough! These people are paying YOU for something that YOU created — it is an HONOR to receive their business! Make sure they know you appreciate their consideration and treat them with respect!

Ship out in a timely manner

When it is not the holidays, I set my “Estimated Shipping Date” to 1-3 days. That usually gives me plenty of time to process the orders and send them out. However, DURING THE HOLIDAYS, I set it to 3-5 business days. You may think that it’s not a big deal and you’ll be able to process the orders in the same amount of time ~ but when you get 10-15 orders in one day ~ you’re going to want a little time to process.

And — ship your products out when you say you will, OR, communicate with your customer and keep them informed about what’s going on. They may be COUNTING on you shipping your product out in the estimated shipping date and they may need it to arrive by a certain date. Keeping them informed will help keep everyone happy!

Take full advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

I’m going to get really transparent with all of you right now. CYBER MONDAY IS INCREDIBLE FOR AN ETSY SELLER — if you run it correctly!

I received at least 8x more orders on Cyber Monday than I typically receive on any given day.

Here’s a few things that helped me have an OVERWHELMINGLY successful Cyber Monday:

    • Offer a coupon code that people can’t pass up. Just make sure you are still making a profit. I did a 30% off coupon for under $50 and a 40% off coupon for $50+ — let me just tell you, I had more $50+ sales than under $50 on Cyber Monday. People TRIED to push their orders over $50 so that they could get the 40% off!
    • Make sure that people know that your sales are for CYBER MONDAY ONLY.
    • Advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Your Blog, Your Etsy Shop, and however else you communicate with people. ADVERTISE IT.
    • Change your listings to have something about Cyber Monday in it. You can do this by changing the title, tags, and description.


Pay for the Etsy Search Ads

Many people claim that these don’t make any difference when it comes to your Etsy sales.

This may be the case for most of the year — but NOT during the holidays.

I “upped” how much I was paying for the Etsy Search Ads and it most certainly paid off! I am one who will disagree with those who are against Etsy Search Ads because I believe they have helped my shop tremendously!

Prepare as much of your product before the holidays as possible

My shop specializes in necklaces. This year, I didn’t have everything that was not personalized ready in advance. I WISH I HAD! Life would have been so much less stressful had I pre-prepared better prior to the holiday season!

Find a review blog that will feature item prior to the holidays!

As I am obviously a fan of review blogging — seeing as I AM a review blogger — my suggestion is to get featured on a blog. Not only did I promote my shop here on Wee Share, but Designing Tomorrow was featured on the BabyCenter blog! HERE is where my shop was featured.

The MOMENT that the blog post went live — the views in my shop SKY ROCKETED. I had an overwhelming amount of orders for the item featured in the post!

Have a variety of products that EVERYONE in a family can enjoy!

Before the holidays started, I listed new items that could work for each type of member of the family. I have necklaces for moms, grandmas, cheerleaders, little girls, ball markers for men and women, bottle openers — there is something for everyone! I also have big gifts such as jewelry holders, paintings, and topiaries. There’s something in my shop for everyone. I felt like this helped my sales — because just about everyone could potentially be intrigued by SOMETHING in my shop!

As I said, this was my first true Etsy holiday — and these are the tips I learned and the things I will be tweaking next year.

Make sure you check out my Etsy shop — Designing Tomorrow!

Do you have any Etsy holiday tips? Feel free to share!!


Burlap Doilie Signature

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