The end of the year is an important time for businesses – especially those looking to sell photo products. With Christmas, New Years and various other dates fast approaching, you need to plan ahead to make the most of these opportunities. Here’s how you can anticipate all of your sales events for the last six months of the year and prepare your business for the peak holiday season.
A while ago, we posted an article regarding the seasonality of photo products. Now it’s time to discuss this topic again, but this time from a different point of view: the holiday peak. Search trends in the US indicate that the most popular photo products gain the most interest near the end of the year. For your business, this is a great time to make extra sales – but only if you’re prepared to take advantage of the season.
To be prepared for this period, you need to know what popular dates are coming. Here are some of the biggest days that people are likely going to want to memorialize:
- The start of the school year – if you sell personal school supplies, this is when they should be promoted.
- Cyber monday – this is one of the biggest days of the year for online sales, so why not offer a discount code? It’s also in the runup to Christmas, so people will also be on the lookout for gifts.
- Hanukkah and Christmas. There will always be late shoppers, so be prepared to make offers and sales right until the very end of the gifting season.
- The New Year – if somebody didn’t get a calendar for Christmas, they might want to make their own unique one instead.
Once you have a list of these events and dates, what’s next? Here’s our 5 step guide to preparing your photo product business!
Have The Correct Software
Proper software is vital. This isn’t just true for the holiday season, but an efficient editor should be installed before this season. Imagine having to correct, fix and edit all of your customer’s products yourself, because you didn’t take the time to install a better editor?
Ultimately, a lack of efficient editing & printing software can result in many returns and declining purchases: two things you definitely don’t want during a period of increased sales. Instead, having software with a beautiful editor that’s easy to use – and complete with plenty of customization options – will give you a competitive edge.
However, doing all of this on your own will be very time-consuming. Instead, let Printbox do all of this without creating any downtime on your site. This is something you can easily get done ahead of the season – right now, even! – so you’re prepared in advance.
Get The Website Ready, Too
If you’re website can’t handle larger traffic, you might lose out on potential customers. When your page takes too long to load, interested users may very well look for another company. This also applies to websites that are hard to navigate: if users can’t find what they want easily, they won’t stay on your site for too long.
Furthermore, you should also never forget about the importance of mobile friendliness. In 2017, a non-responsive site isn’t going to agree with your customer’s expectations. According to Outerbox, 62% of smartphone users have made an online purchase via their mobile in the last 6 months. That’s a lot of business to lose out on and it’s very likely that there will be more people making holiday purchases via mobile devices in the next 6 months, too.
Let’s put it another way: last year, Cyber Monday became the first day to generate $1 billion on mobile shopping – can your website afford to miss out on this?
Some software providers, like Printbox, offer a comprehensive packing of hosting, ecommerce storefronts and even adaptive mobile apps to go with the software. All of this results in a smooth and fluid experience that doesn’t lose customers. Do some research and be sure to choose the ri
Plan Your Marketing Budget For The Right Periods
While you should be selling products throughout the year, it’s important to prioritize your marketing efforts around periods with peak activity. While the summer has many important dates – such as Valentine’s day and the wedding season – you shouldn’t ignore or underestimate the last half of the year in your marketing budget, either.
We’ve already mentioned a number of important dates for the last quarter of 2017, but should you designate vital parts of your budget for every single occasion? No – look at your sales from previous years and make decisions based on when your campaigns have previously proven to be the most successful, generating the most sales.
Create A Promotional Calendar
During the holiday season, you need to think about many different things at once, so some planning tools are essential. For marketing, a promotional calendar can make everything easier, displaying when each marketing campaign or promotion will take place.
When creating this calendar, be sure to include the following:
- The holidays which you have chosen to participate in and promote. Each of these should have their own campaign with clear start and end points.
- What resources you need for each campaign, including who is responsible and when you need the content by. This can include website content, social media activity and sponsored ads, for instance.
- Set dates for each promotion. When do your Adwords and Facebook ads go live, for example, and how long will they run for?
How much detail you include will depend on the nature of your promotions. Larger campaigns may require more detail, for example while simpler efforts may just need a start and end point. Use your calendar wisely and you will always know what is going on.
Know Your Limits – Or Set New Ones
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve able to sell: what matters is how much you can print in a reasonable timeframe. If your customers are faced with lengthy waiting times, they will likely choose a competitor that is quicker.
There’s a reason why extra staffing is always recommended during this period. Studies have shown some of the biggest companies in the world drastically increase their staffing power during this part of the year. This is certainly true for the printing industry. According to the Independent:
Vistaprint, Snapfish, Shutterfly and PhotoBox, the last of which covers Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and employs about 400 extra staff at this time of year to cope with an estimated 2.5 million orders in December alone.
If they need extra staff power, the chances are you might as well. If you’re already close to your printing capacity, consider investigating the possibility of improving your production rates in anticipation.