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There are 30 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021. That’s three days more than you had last year, which saw the fewest number of shopping days possible since 2013. Consumers will still start shopping early, so you need to get your business ready ahead of time to take advantage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and all the other holiday sales.
We have put together a list of things you should do to get your business ready for the holiday sales season. Also, check out our free winter sales templates that you can personalize for your promotions and sales. From Super Saturday and Black Friday to Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, get your marketing materials done now to stay a step ahead of the competition.
For some businesses, the holiday season can account for as much as 30% of annual sales according to the National Retail Federation. And the holiday shopping rush starts earlier each year. So, it’s essential to get ahead of the frenzy.
Black November kicks things off on November 1. Follow that with at least six more cleverly named sales days before it all comes mercifully to an end. However, take heed and get your business ready early, and you can bring home a bigger share of the holiday shopping profits.
Holiday sales dates to add to your calendar
- Black November (November 1): Starts on the first day of November and continues until the end of the month. So yes, the entire month is now one giant sale. But with 40% of shoppers starting their holiday gift buying in October, it makes sense.
- Black Friday (November 26): The term was coined by a police officer in the early ’60s due to holiday shopping traffic jams. It was turned into a positive in the ’80s by businesses looking to get back in the black. The biggest holiday sales day of the season, it’s slowly turning into Black Monday and Tuesday with many companies launching sales well before Friday.
- Small Business Saturday (November 27): It was started in 2010 by American Express as a way to battle big-box retailers’ holiday sales and celebrate the small business owner. It’s now grown to include Saturdays year-round.
- Cyber Monday (November 29): The sale term debuted in 2005 and became a huge driver of online holiday sales for e-commerce stores. Businesses like big-box retailers, airlines and brick-and-mortar stores have now joined the fray. The sale day hit a record $10.8 billion in total digital spending in 2020, up 15% over 2019, according to Motley Fool and data from Adobe Analytics.
- Free Shipping Day (December 14): This sale day was launched in 2008 to boost the online shopping slump in mid-December when customers are worried about getting gifts in time. More than 1,000 retailers large and small offer free shipping on this day with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
- Super Saturday (December 18): Some call it Panic Saturday because the sales are targeted at last-minute holiday shoppers. It’s great for pushing inventory on the last full Saturday shopping day before Christmas.
- Boxing Day (December 26): A secular holiday in the U.K. and elsewhere, it’s a huge gift return and shopping day in the U.S. Many retailers drastically cut prices to reduce their inventory before the new year.
Plan your sales strategy
Get together with your partners, employees, and other stakeholders to prepare for the holiday season. What worked and what didn’t in previous years?
Did your holiday sales go really well on Black Friday but not on Super Saturday? Maybe you ran a better promotion on Black Friday. Or maybe it’s the actual sale day that your target customers respond to and you should put more effort and budget toward that this year. Either way, do your research.
Focus on the industry you’re in and your business model to help plan your strategy. This is especially important if you’re a new business with little data on sales successes and failures.
If you’re strictly an e-commerce seller, then Cyber Monday should be your target to start. Own a small store or boutique in your town? Then Small Business Saturday is a perfect day to promote your community ties.
Whether focus on one big sale or spread your advertising budget across several sales, an editorial calendar is a must. If you use social media, emails, bloggers or other digital marketing efforts have your calendar mapped out. Include image requirements and messaging to keep everyone from scrambling on the due date.
Get holiday sales help
If you were strapped during last year’s holiday season, then get some extra help this year. Make sure to set aside funds in your annual budget planning for extra staffing during the holiday rush.
You could also use an employee from one area of your business to help in another area over the holidays. It’s not only a great way for employees to learn other sides of your business and build stronger internal teams, but it also helps employees serve customers better.
You can also tap into the local college or high school market for budget-friendly help. If you live near a university, many students can’t afford to go home for the holidays so they’re looking for employment or even an internship to keep busy. Students can be valuable employees for several years as they finish their education, and possibly beyond.
Stock up & clean up
If you know the holidays are your sweet spot, then build up your inventory ahead of time. Again, you should have put aside extra funding for the holidays so you can easily increase the stock as needed. This is especially important if you run a small operation making artisan or handmade products for instance. You don’t want to have to quickly create products while also trying to keep your business organized and running smoothly.
Take a look at sales numbers from previous years to get a better idea of what products sold, how much you’ll need, and approximately how many you need this year. But also keep an eye on trends. Your face masks might not be as big of a seller as they were last Christmas.
To prepare for the holiday rush you should also do a clean sweep of your business in the early fall. Clean out storerooms, office space, and the showroom floor if you have retail space. You want both customers and employees to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Keep it organized
Once the orders and sales start rolling in, it’s imperative that you stay organized. Make sure you have a reliable system in place to keep orders straight so products end up in the right hands.
Whether you’re shipping products around the world or handing bags and boxes to customers face to face, you need to have a process for everything. And make sure your employees know the system and are well trained.
Also, if you have an e-commerce store or even a site that gets lots of visitors, do a thorough check of your backend systems. Downtime due to IT failures can cost small businesses tens of thousands of dollars. So make sure you run tests and have any bugs worked out before the sales season. The last thing you want is your website crashing during the holiday rush.
If you hit a lull as you get closer to the holidays, then have a plan ready to fill the void. Start work on your next campaign, organize your warehouse or maybe have some team-building activities to get juices flowing for the next year.
Get marketing materials done
From printed promotional materials and online marketing collateral to seasonal product labels and packaging, get everything done beforehand that you can.
Announce your sales with custom postcards sent by direct mail or as handouts in-store or at farmers’ markets and fairs. Add sales announcements in shipped orders placed ahead of the sale. Put sales postcards in carryout bags and boxes from in-store purchases. On the day of the sale, add custom hang tags to products to call out sales items or seasonal pricing. Create bold price-cut stickers and festive holiday-themed labels and stickers to add directly to on-sale items.
Planning on using a graphic designer? Remember that they will likely be swamped this time of year as well. Book them early and get them started on your designs so you don’t have to pay any last-minute printing or delivery charges.
You can save time and money by simply personalizing a free holiday sales template and ordering your products online. You can also check out our professional design gallery which has hundreds of free templates to choose from. Or you can always upload your own artwork onto a blank template, then simply place your order with Avery WePrint.
Want to do it yourself?
Do you want to DIY your holiday sales materials? With Avery blank labels you can order any size label you need in a wide variety of materials. Then you can order printable cards to create easy direct-mail cards or in-store handouts.
No matter what printing method you choose, you can apply your finished design to a variety of products. This will help you carry a cohesive sales theme across all your channels. It’s that easy.
Still want more?
If you need some a little inspiration for your holiday marketing, check out our 5 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Sales and 6 Items Small Businesses Should Do By Year-End.
If you need any help or have any questions with your labels or templates, please reach out to our awesome Customer Care Center at (800) 942-8379. They’ll be happy to help you with any product labeling, application, or software-related questions you might have.
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