I think we can all agree that the fourth quarter of the year makes just about everybody in the e-commerce world extremely happy
With back-to-back shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and pre-Christmas shopping, November and December are nothing short of a buying frenzy.
Throw in Halloween and thanksgiving and maybe even a little bit of late back to school, and for virtually every business it's the most productive and highest revenue part of the year.
But what if we didn't have to wait, is there a way we could take this extra boost in sales of mostly seasonal items and make this work all year long?
The good news is we can use what we refer to as the “holiday hacking” strategy.
With the appropriate planning, the holiday hacking strategy allows us to take any major holidays that our market cares about and create specific products that will appeal to our niche during these times of the year.
For a very easy-to-follow Example, let's just think about the four major seasons.
Imagine for a minute that our Etsy store was designed to serve the bass fishing market, do you think that someone willing to buy a yard flag of a bass fish wearing a Santa hat, may also be likely to buy a yard sign of a bass fish and a Halloween costume, wearing bunny ears for spring, or even potentially buying a yard flag of a bass fish on the beach to show off how much they love summer?
The answer is obviously yes…. Even if the example is a little bit ridiculous just to prove the point.
If we can create products that can help our customers show off their pride for or love of our niche across different seasons and holidays, there's a great chance that they will buy more than one and potentially all of them.
Additionally, even if they only really like one of the flags for their favorite holiday, there's a great chance that we will be able to sell that product again next year to that same section of the niche.
Although we typically advocate for creating evergreen products, products that can be sold all year round, using the holiday hacking strategy is an excellent way of taking what would be a potentially seasonal product and turning it into evergreen Revenue for your store.
If that's interesting to you, let's dive into the process and show you how you can implement this strategy in your shop.
Step 1: The Planning
The biggest “catch-22” of the holiday hacking strategy comes down to your ability to do just a little bit of planning.
The good news is, even if you aren't the world's best planner or the idea of mapping things out makes your skin crawl, the process couldn't be easier.
The very first thing you'll need to do is to think about all of the major seasons or holidays that may be interesting to your market.
I'm going to leave a few quick examples below, that would apply to the markets we serve, but feel free to add as many to your calendar as you think would fit your market. Your market.
Remember, if you feel overwhelmed by this process, you can just simply start by thinking about how you could seasonalize your products (making variations for each of the four seasons) before taking the step of creating specific products for major holidays.
Below is a quick list of a few of the holidays we will be focused on for our shop:
- New Years
- Valentines Day
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Teacher’s Day
- Nurse’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Independence Day
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Now that you have a list of the important days, it's time to start mapping out when we would need to have products created and listed for each of them.
As a general rule of thumb, we would want to be creating and launch products around 90 days before the actual holiday.
This means, if we were creating a line of bass-fishing Christmas ornaments, that we would want to have all of our ideas and designs created at the end of September or the beginning of October.
This 90-day window helps to ensure that we have enough time to not only have the products launched and ranked inside Etsy but by the time people are thinking about the holiday.
Additionally, this gives us a big enough window to sell and ship the products so that they will arrive to our customers before the holiday.
We typically like to build in 7 to 14 days as our holiday cutoff.
This means, starting the end of the second week of December, we will no longer be focused on Christmas products and will be moving on to our next holiday in terms of our focus.
Take a few minutes now to find the dates of each of the holidays or seasons you want to hack next year and begin to plan out the 90-day window before those specific dates.
I found that this is easiest if you use something like Google calendar because it very quickly and easily allows you to block off that entire 90-day period to serve as a reminder of what you should be focused on every time you look at your calendar.
With that out of the way, let's move on to step two in the holiday hacking process.
Step 2: The Research
Even if our market loves all of the different holidays we plan to hack if we don't have products they will be interested in. It's all meaningless.
That makes the product research phase of the holiday hacking process, potentially the most important.
Although you can do product research however you wish, we typically recommend that you use a tool like Everbee to help you with this process.
Not only does it make this process substantially easier and way faster, but they also give you a good idea of how well the products you're looking at are selling.
Additionally, using a tool like Everbee allows us to understand how products have sold over time.
This becomes extremely important when we are talking about something like holiday hacking because it allows us to see how products sold in the previous year.
This helps us ensure that we can stick to that 90-day window we talked about in step one.
We can get all of our product research out of the way before we enter into that 90-day window and we can spend the first few weeks of that 90-day window launching our products without having to worry about whether or not they will sell.
What is this look like in real life?
Let's say, for example, that we were looking for Christmas ideas for our space.
If we take a quick look at some of the signs that are selling well, we can see not only the total volume of sales but also the estimated monthly sales if we use a tool like EverBee.
Given this example, if we added something similar to a store focused on rustic design, we could simply take the total number of sales and divided it by the age of the listing to understand what the potential monthly sales would be.
We would also need to keep in mind, that the vast majority of those sales are not going to occur in February or March, but rather in the 90 days leading up to the time of the holiday.
In this case, this sign has been around for 3 years and 2 months as of the time of writing those posts and has sold 2,675 units.
I don't know about you, but if I were in the rustic design market this would be something I would look at including in my store as well.
Now, it's important to keep in mind that we're not going to copy this design, but rather make it our own as we move into step three of holiday hacking…the product creation.
Step 3: The Product Creation
Now is when the rubber hits the road, it's time to create our products.
The first thing I suggest doing is pulling any of the winners you have from the previous year.
If this is your first year selling on Etsy, you can't do this, but keep it in mind for next year.
Before creating any new products, take a quick look at what sold well for you last year and see if you can apply the same or a similar design to other product types.
For example, if you had a yard sign that sold really well, consider putting it on a pillow or throw blanket to test for this year's holiday.
We've done this with several of our products and have noticed the skyrocketing sales for very little work because we had already created the design and simply needed to repurpose it.
Once you've gone through your previous winners, take any of the winners that you found from your competitors or other design inspiration in step two of the process and begin to create designs for each of them.
Just like with your previous winners, don't be afraid to put these designs on multiple products that can be used in different ways.
The truth is, even if you have the world's best design. If it's not on the right product, it will never sell and the only way to know is to test a few different variations.
Lastly, if there is any place for you to add personalization to your design, consider doing it.
If you're not familiar with the concept, personalization would be changing one element of your design to be personalized for the buyer. The easiest example to think about is a Christmas ornament.
If you create a very nice Christmas ornament with a design of a family on it, you could personalize the name of the family for each buyer.
So instead of your Christmas ornament saying Merry Christmas 2022, it could say Merry Christmas 2022 and then underneath the image say the words Smith family or something like that.
It does add a little bit more work to the fulfillment process, but products that have personalization can sell for a higher price point and are even more likely to sell for special events like Christmas.
If you are looking to make the most out of seasonal or holiday products, using this holiday hacking strategy is a month.
Just to recap the three steps really fast, they are:
- Identify all the seasons or holidays you want to create products for
- Do product research to see what sold for your competitors in the past
- Create and launch your products
As e-commerce sellers, we are constantly looking for ways to sell more with less effort.
Using this holiday hacking strategy and making sure we are 90 days in front of the next big event, can help us quickly and reliably grow are seasonal sales into an evergreen earnings machine.