Last year, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the supply chain was the major issue affecting everyone from the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, all the way down to the retailer. Guess, what? Right now in the middle of 2021, we still have major issues with regards to the movement of goods around the world.
First, the pandemic isn't really gone. Likewise, the supply chain issues are still being influenced by countries all over the world. On top of all that, the world of shipping and logistics, was at a standstill while a cargo vessel was stuck in the middle of the Suez Canal in April. That backed up shipping to and from Europe and Asia. Furthermore, ports all over the world are still recovering from the backlog. Even more, factor in China's major seaport being shut down due an outbreak of the Delta variant and you've still got supply chain issues.
Why does that affect ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retailers?
Simply, you can't market or advertise products you don't have yet!
It behooves you to start planning super early for this holiday sales season.
Don't be afraid to negotiate with your suppliers! Furthermore, shop around. This is not the time to be loyal to a supplier if their prices don't make it feasible for you to make a profit. Check out the recent article on Pricing for Profit.....
The less distance your products have to travel, the better! Check out Local First AZ's Source Arizona.
10 Tips to help you get a jump start on a Successful Holiday Sales Season:
- You must realize that your gift-giver may be a different target than the people you've been marketing to so far. For instance, if you sell women's accessories, you've been targeting women of a certain age. Now, you need to target their husbands or boyfriends -- the gift-giver. Do some research to figure out how best to reach them.
- Choose the right social media network. If you're promoting a local event venue for corporate parties (B2B), then you'll want to focus heavily on LinkedIn and Google My Business. If you're an ecommerce site, then Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are going to be your primary networks. But, don't forget that LinkedIn users are consumers, too! And, of course, you've got the younger generation on Snapchat.
- Create great enticing graphics. You need to stand out above all the other posts -- not just your competition! Use only sharp, quality graphics and videos. For instance, videos and animated gifs are more eye-catching than static, still photographs. I like Canva.com. It's a free graphics tool and they have all the templates you need. Use the 800 x 800 standard social media graphic template for all the networks.
- Don't use the same images over an over again. You don't want to be boring. There are plenty of free-use graphics out there. I like Pixabay.com. Also, you can create new graphics easily -- even animated ones -- with the free online graphics tool, Canva.com.
- Change your social media cover graphics to reflect the holidays. I'd do this immediately! Furthermore, keep an eye on your competition to see when they've switched over to the holiday mode. Canva free templates for all the social media cover graphis -- the banners -- in the correct dimensions.
- Diversify the people in your pictures. You want to make sure you've got everyone that's a gift-giver covered! Don't use the same type of people in your pictures. For instance, if you're trying to reach the male gift-giver, show a picture of a guy giving a gal a gift.
- Showcase your best gift-giving ideas on your website or social networks -- especially PINTEREST! Like, "gifts for men", "gifts for kids", "gifts for women", "gifts under $---" etc. Create a board on Pinterest for each category. Then, pin pictures from your website there. Some of the shopping platforms connect with Pinterest to make this easy.
- Do some fun videos. Like I mentioned above, videos and any animations are more eye-catching than still photographs and graphics. Have fun. First, not all videos need to be professionally done. Second, use your phone or tablet to record impromptu, casual videos with greetings and messages. Third, upload them everywhere: YouTube, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Facebook, TikTok & LinkedIn. In addition, embed them in your blog.
- Make sure to cover all the holidays! It's not just Christmas! There's Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, too. Also, what about New Years? You may want to change cover graphics to celebrate the new year.
- Budget some ad spending dollars. Face it, you might just have to spend some money to increase your reach. Moreover, what's nice about social media advertising, is that with just a little investment, you can reach a lot of people. Furthermore, you can specifically target your audience. Again, look at your competition. How are you going to stand-out? How are you going to reach that gift-giver? Additionally, Facebook offers free advertising advice to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. If your Facebook ads keep getting declined, work with one of their human reps to find out why their algorithm -- their computer -- is kicking you out. It could just be one word that it doesn't like. You will be wasting valuable time trying to figure out what it is.
Don't Sweat It! Plan It!
AND be flexible! Don't freak out when something you ordered will not come in time. Also, be absolutely clear to your customers on your website on shipping and return policies. Customers are aware that they pick up the shipping costs. It may behoove you to check out your main competitors and see how much they're charging for shipping. Shop carriers, too!