9 Tips to Preparing Your Etsy Shop for the Holidays

Halloween is almost here!!! Raise your hand if you start your holiday shopping in September though 🙋  😂

With that in mind, it’s time to get your shop in tip top shape now. Like, right now! The holiday shopping season can take weeks or even months for online retailers to prepare. Now is the time to act and map out your plans to boost your sales.

If you want this holiday season to be your most successful one yet, check out these 9 tips for preparing your Etsy shop for the holidays.

Sell Holiday Items

Depending on what your actual niche is, there’s usually something that you can sell that is holiday themed. Seasonal items are actually a big seller for me. So for example, I design and print invitations for baby showers, bridal showers, etc. I have created winter wonderland baby shower invitations that sell extremely well during the holiday season.

Let’s use another example. Let’s say that you create hair bows for girls. You can create different holiday bows such as bows for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.

And that’s another thing, don’t forget that there are other holidays in December! Create items related to all holidays for maximum exposure.


Stock Up

This may be a “well, duh” piece of advice, but make sure that you’re all stocked up! Spend the months of September-November really bulking up your inventory to prepare for the holiday rush. 

But besides bulking up your inventory you’ll also want to make sure that you have enough mailing supplies, packaging supplies, etc. I order some of my mailing supplies through the USPS and it takes a few weeks to arrive so I’m going to order some more right now.

If you’re expecting to do a lot of shipping this holiday season I would also recommend investing in a DYMO 4XL Label Printer. Yes, it is a bit pricey but this thing is such a time saver! And also a money saver considering it does not require any ink at all. Grab some extra packs of labels too!


Include A Lot of Photos

Etsy recently expanded the limit on the amount of photos you can use in your listings which is now 10 photos. I know you’re probably thinking how the hell you’re going to come up with 10 different photos of your products. 

Well, offer multiple angle shots of your products as well as your products being used in real life. Photograph them against a plain white background as well.

If you have special instructions for ordering your product you can also use a photo slot for your instructions (because we all know that most buyers never bother to read the details anymore). Simply create a free graphic (1000px x 1000px) with your instructions via Canva.com. Then download it as a JPEG file and upload it to your listing! I know, I’m a genius, right?!

For all of my other genius photography tips, check out my 10 Photography Tips for Your Etsy Shop.


Optimize Your Listings with Keywords

Since I am a computer nerd, I always stress the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). Search engine optimization may seem like a scary subject, but it’s really not. SEO is all about placing the right keywords in the right areas of your listings so that customers can find you by searching for those specific keywords or phrases.

During the holiday season it’s best to include some holiday related keyword phrases in your listings because people are going to be searching for keyword phrases such as “gifts for men” or “handmade Christmas gifts”.

Luckily for you, I’ve included a 50+ keyword phrase list that you can download for FREE!

So, where do you include these keyword phrases in your listings? Well, first you want to choose 1 specific keyword phrase to use for each of your listings. So let’s say for example that you’re selling a customized leather wallet. You may want to include the keywords “Gift for Dad” since it may be a popular gift for a dad. There are three main areas in your listing to include this keyword phrase:

  • Product Title
  • Product Description
  • Tags

So make sure that you’re including that keyword phrase in your product title, description and tags. It’s important to use the same exact phrase throughout your listing to enhance your ranking for SEO.

I cover SEO in more depth in the Ultimate SEO Guide for Etsy Sellers.


Edit Your Category and Other Details

Another important factor when it comes to search on Etsy is checking to make sure you have your listing details filled out as much as possible, including:

  • Category
  • Primary Color
  • Secondary Color
  • Holiday
  • Occasion

When customers are searching for a specific item, they may be ticking boxes to narrow down the search results. So if you don’t have these options chosen you may be losing potential sales because your product isn’t showing up in a narrowed search.


Offer Free Shipping

With the increasing use of Amazon Prime and their free, 2 day shipping option, you may want to offer free shipping with your products.

But shipping is freaking expensive, how can you afford to offer free shipping?! Well, there are two ways:

First, you can offer customers a free shipping offer if their total purchase is over X amount of dollars. Of course the minimum purchase would be up to you. You would have to make sure that you make enough profit to be able to ship the items for free.

To do this, just create a sale in the marketing tools section of your shop dashboard.

Or, another option is to include a flat shipping price in with your product price.

So for example, I usually ship all of my items in a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope (whew.). I know that the average cost of the shipping is $6-$7. When I factor in my other shipping supplies and my time to actually pack and ship the item I get a flat fee of $7.50 for shipping each order.

I have a pack of 20 invitations that I normally list for $12.50, not including shipping. I just factor the $7.50 into that price, making it $20 for the 10 invitations and free shipping.

So essentially I am not missing out on the shipping costs and the customer believes that they are getting free shipping. This seems sneaky, I know. But, trust me when I say that all online retailers, including Amazon, factor shipping into their prices for items that include “free shipping”.


Offer Gift Wrapping

Another possible option that you could offer this holiday season is a gift wrap option. If your product(s) make a great gift for the holidays, then why not offer to include gift wrapping for a small fee?

Etsy recently announced that they will soon offer this add on feature for shops, so keep an eye out for it!


Plan Out Your Calendar

Now is the time to really start strategically planning out your calendar. Plan out your sales and set them on your calendar. Determine what dates are the “cut off” dates for certain holidays so you can notify your customers ahead of time in either your shop announcement, your description, or even by placing a graphic with the cut off date in your photos so they definitely don’t miss it.


Plan Out Your Promotion and Marketing

Lastly, you want to start planning out your promotion and marketing strategies. Promoting and marketing is super important around the holidays because, well, you want the business!

There are so many ways to promote your products and your Etsy shop, including:

  • Using Promoted Listings on Etsy
  • Facebook ads
  • Promoting on Pinterest – check out How to Use Pinterest for Your Etsy Shop
  • Host a giveaway on Instagram
  • Promote on Instagram
  • Start a blog that’s centered around your products
  • Be a guest blogger for someone’s blog


So I couldn’t be any more creative to come up with an even 10 tips for preparing your Etsy shop for the holidays, so I will just stick with 9. I hope this blog has help you and your shop, stay tuned for more!