For online sellers, the holidays are dark and full of terror. They’re also full of big online revenue, if we play the game right. According to ComScore, which measures the online activity of consumers, holiday ecommerce sales reached nearly $80 billion in 2017. That represented a 13% jump from the previous year. The winter action is so hot when it’s cold out that the top 10 ecommerce days of 2017 all fell within a couple weeks of Cyber Monday.
The trend toward bigger action is upward. Americans are buying more each year as our hangover from the Great Recession wanes. According to ComScore, Cyber Monday sales were up 11.8% year on year. Meanwhile, Black Friday was up 10.6% and Cyber Tuesday was up 8.3%. So, what’s a small business owner to do? Here are three ways to survive – and thrive – the long night:
Innovate to Generate Online Revenue Before December
December can be a goldmine for online retailers, but it’s important that we get paid year-round. What can you do to generate holiday excitement outside the holiday season? My friends at Fairytale Brownies generate the majority of their revenue during the holiday season. They are in the mail-order gift business after all. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, it’s all hands on deck – seasonal hires, long hours, weekend shifts, etc.
To even out online revenue, they’ve worked their tails off to create excitement for their gourmet brownies around other holidays, especially Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. They even deploy specially-designed holiday-themed packaging.
Stock Up for the Holidays Now
Like furry woodland creatures prepping to hibernate through winter, top online sellers like Chelsea Cavender of SLATHERlotions spend the summer months stocking up on supplies.
‘I start adding to my supply of products in September’, she said. ‘I make anything with a long shelf life way in advance of the holidays. You have to have enough products to sell. Selling out is always awesome of course, but having enough product to keep selling through the holidays? That’s even more awesome.’
If you’re truly hardcore, stocking up isn’t just about products. Stock up on marketing assets too. Build design assets in Canva, set up email campaigns in Mailchimp, and schedule social posts in Hootsuite, and use both analytics and the power of feedback from previous years to help hone this. That way you can focus on business in December.
Hide Your Children. Hide Your Spouses. Monday is Coming
The data is the data. No matter how much online revenue you generate in the other 11 months, no matter how much summertime prep you do, December Mondays will be here soon to kick your butt. The first three Mondays after Thanksgiving are three of the top six online revenue days of the year. Why? Well, after a weekend of not shopping, office workers are back at their desktops and stay-at-home parents are back to a quiet house (at least until school gets out). And they’re out for blood.
In the midst of the chaos, remember to follow the lead of online seller Lisa Chayka of HELLOhappy and take time to treat yourself.
“How do I survive holiday season?” she said. “Tea. Coffee. Naps. Netflix.”