Brand:Made – Planning for Christmas
BRAND:MADE – PLANNING FOR CHRISTMAS
As a maker and seller of your uniquely handmade product, it’s hard to think of everything all of the time. Not only are you ordering materials, creating stock and packaging it, but you are also communicating with your customers, through online sales, markets and social media. However, the lead up to Christmas is the time when a bit of forward planning will make the silly season worth all of the work, allowing you to take a well-earned break in the knowledge that you “sleighed” Christmas.
So, what do you need to do that’s different from the rest of the year? Here is our five step plan.
Step One is definitely to analyse your stock levels and schedule as much making time as you can. At Handmade, we advise stallholders to increase their stock by a factor of at least 1.5. At the Christmas Market, there’s an extra evening of trading, and customers have saved up all year to ensure their Christmas budget is healthy, so you need to be able to accommodate this extra demand. But while the money is there, you also need to make sure that it is spent on your product rather than on another stall.
Step Two is to carefully look at your product and decide whether your Christmas range is appealing to your Christmas target audience, which is often different from the rest of the year. If you are selling clothing for example, have you got designs that people will want to wear to the work Christmas party? Do you have any specific Christmas designs that will have an appealing novelty value? If your offering is homewares, do you have pieces that will grace the Christmas table or candles scented for the season? This is the time you also need to look at your packaging. Perhaps you want to gift wrap items to make things easy for your customers or add seasonal swing tags. You might want to order seasonal boxes or wraps for your products. And you may even want to go as far as adjusting your branding – with colour or decorations – to really help customers get into the spirit.
Step Three is to make your offering as attractive as possible. Your stall is your first impression at the market, and some floral decorations, twinkly lights and Christmas banners or bunting will give your customers the festive cheer they need to stop and look. A beautiful and eye-catching display is easy to create with some thought – enhance your branding with banners, analyse your displays and make them festive and think about how you will be displaying that extra stock.
Step Four is to consider how you are going to persuade your buyers to buy as much of your product as possible. For example, people will invariably be buying more alcohol at this time of year to enhance the festive cheer, whether it’s for the drinks cupboard or as a gift for a colleague or family member. As a brewer, winemaker or distiller, you need to be thinking about how you can corner as much of that gift list as possible. Are you offering the sixth bottle free, packaging your blends in sets or offering a discount? This strategy would work for any producer that wants to incentivise people to spend that little bit extra. “Christmas Specials” are definitely something you will want to give thought to, whatever your product.
Step Five is to promote yourself. We’re all on social media, but now is the time to put a schedule of posts together. You have 6 weeks until the Christmas Market and 8 weeks until Christmas. Producing content full of beautiful, styled and festive images takes time, so you need to make a start. Schedule as many varied posts as you feel you can, tell a story and offer your full range of Christmas gifts to all of your target markets. This is also the time to photograph your festive products, add them to your Handmade Directory profile, send them to your subscribers and talk about them on your blog. There are plenty of Christmassy social media templates available online if you’re stuck, so you can place decorative graphics onto your own images. Christmas giveaways will increase your reach on social media, so why not hold a competition and draw a winner, or create a discount code to encourage people to visit your website? Don’t forget that there are a number of local and online advertising opportunities, not least the suite of Handmade media bookings, from adverts in the online magazine to features on our Canberra Weekly page.
So, while it’s not even November, it’s time to start decking the halls and investing in the festive spirit. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!