9 new ways to sell & market merchandise this holiday season

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar storefront or not, the holiday season is a great time to focus on your online shop and get creative with how you market your merchandise and make sales. Here are some creative ideas for selling your products this holiday season, reaching new customers and providing a memorable online shopping experience.

Creative ways to sell your products this holiday season:

  1. Hold a virtual craft fair.
  2. Auction one-of-a-kind items via Instagram.
  3. Collaborate with other makers to sell bundles.
  4. Offer specialty shopping options.

Ready to start selling? Here’s your marketing to-do list:

  1. Get the word out.
  2. Maximize your search engine optimization.
  3. Refine your online shop’s experience.
  4. Incorporate customer reviews.
  5. Use high-quality product photos.

1. Hold a virtual craft fair.

If you can’t make it to a craft fair or market this holiday season, take your booth online. Use this opportunity to lower prices, offer new products and -most importantly -create urgency. If your online fair is only live for a few days, customers will get excited about limited-time offers and merchandise. Generate buzz around your virtual craft fair by creating an event on Facebook or sending a calendar invite to your newsletter subscribers…this way, shoppers can mark the event in their agendas as something to look forward to.

There are a lot of different ways to hold a virtual craft fair…and there’s no one ‘right way’ to do it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create a separate page on your website with craft fair-only merchandise.
  • Sell products through your Facebook event page.
  • Create a new website dedicated to your virtual event, and showcase other makers, too. Use this new site as a landing page that links to shoppable pages of each small business.
  • Join a virtual craft fair -this could be a great opportunity to attend at little to no cost. You’ll save on travel and set-up fees, and get to sell your product alongside other passionate makers.

2. Auction one-of-a-kind items via Instagram.

We’ve noticed antique dealers and crafters use Instagram to sell unique products. Post photos of your merchandise, and make it very clear in your caption that the item is for sale. Use either an auction style, where bidders have 24 hours to comment with their highest bid, or a first-come-first-serve format, where the first follower to message and pay you gets the product.

Make sure to go back to your original post and mark it as ‘SOLD,’ but leave it up so people can see what they missed out on -you’ll build excitement and anticipation around your next batch of auction items.

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Imperfect or damaged merchandise? Unload it at a reduced price. Customers will love feeling like they’re getting a deal on a one-of-a-kind item, and you’ll clear out your workspace before the holiday rush.

3. Collaborate with other makers to sell bundles.

Small business is all about community -so get together with other makers to offer bundled products or gift baskets. They’ll get exposure to your clients, and vice versa…a holiday win for everyone. Start by reaching out to local business owners who run businesses complementary to yours. If you specialize in athletic wear, partner with a fitness studio or gym to give away a ‘New Year, New You’ bundle. If you own a pastry shop, get in touch with a nearby home decor store to create a baking gift basket (with some ready-to-eat treats, of course!).

4. Offer specialty shopping options.

‘Tis the season for shopping…so give your customers options for browsing besides scrolling through your website or browsing your brick-and-mortar location.

  • Private open-studio appointments. Offer one-on-one appointments in your creative space to bring novelty and convenience to customers. Shoppers will love getting an intimate look at your workshop or studio and a sneak preview at your newest merchandise.
  • In-home shopping. Bring the store to your customer’s front door! After a consultation over the phone or video chat, bring a selection of curated items to their home. This private shopping experience is sure to make any customer feel special.
  • Virtual personal shopping sessions. If customers prefer to shop from home, offer virtual shopping. Prior to the appointment, have customers fill out a form with specifics about what they’re looking for. Once you’re on-screen with them, you’ll be able to provide relevant recommendations.

5. Get the word out.

However you decide to sell your products this season, make sure customers know about any new offerings. Create a social post with information about your upcoming virtual craft fair, mail a postcard with information about open-studio appointment, or send an email newsletter with a sign-up link for virtual shopping sessions.

6. Maximize your search engine optimization.

Make sure people can find your business online! Though it’s always a good idea to stay connected with your local community, a website lets you sell to people all over the world. So, when you add new products to your site, make sure you incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) best practices so you’ll show up in more Google searches.

7. Refine your website’s shopping experience.

More people than ever are shopping online…so make sure your online shopping experience is an easy one. If you designed and built your site yourself, you might be biased to the user experience without realizing it -instead, ask trusted friends and family to demo your checkout process and collect their feedback.

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With many people shopping on their mobile devices, make sure your site works well on smaller screens, too.

8. Incorporate customer reviews.

Don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave a review. Include a reminder at the bottom of invoices, the back page of your brochure and at the end of any one-on-one time. Incorporate these customer testimonials into your marketing plan -showcase a few on your Facebook page, add one to the body of every email newsletter you send or print a particularly glowing testimonial on your next batch of flyers or rack cards.

9. Use high-quality product photos.

Whether you’re auctioning a handmade hat on social media or uploading images for your online craft fair, make sure all of your brand photography is in focus and looks good. If they’re shopping online, they can’t see or touch your product in real life…so, use photography to recreate this experience. Show items in natural lighting, and shoot from various viewpoints to give customers a 3-D look at your product.