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Holiday Selling All Year

Mark your calendar now to keep the momentum going.

Just because the winter holiday season is over doesn’t mean your sales numbers need to take a break. Not only are customers looking for great after-holiday deals, but there are plenty of celebratory occasions throughout the year you might want to start organizing for.

Don’t forget that every day is a celebration for someone, somewhere. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, quinceañeras, etc., are always good opportunities to rev up sales during the off-winter seasons. Here are several more key annual occasions to highlight on your calendar to keep the “holiday rush” going all year long.

Chinese New Year/Spring Festival

The Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival, marks the end of the winter season, and ushers in harvest planting based on the traditional Chinese calendar. The two-week celebration is significant because it is based on traditions and myths dating back many centuries, according to Wikipedia. It is a time to “cleanse out” the home and wish all the best for the coming year.

You may want to sell items that honor this observance. Consider paper lanterns, presents, clothing and couplets. The color red is also desirable, as it is believed to frighten away a mythical creature known as “Nian.”

With each year comes a new zodiac animal and branch—another source of inspiration for potential inventory. Wikipedia lists the 12 animals and branches that alternate every year. This year, the New Year will begin Jan. 23 and will be the year of the dragon.

Valentine’s Day

As a seller, it’s up to you to show your customers how your products can be seen as tokens of affection

Scholars can’t pinpoint who the original Valentine is, but today his name is celebrated globally with gifts of affection for those we love. Valentine’s popularity began in Great Britain in the 17th century and was a common annual rite among friends and lovers by the mid-18th century, according to History.com.

Today, Valentine’s Day nets billions in revenue globally, providing an opportunity for online sellers to cash in on the business of romance. Traditionalists seek cards, chocolates, flowers and jewelry. Others like to think outside the heart-shaped box.

As a seller, it’s up to you to show your customers how your products can be seen as tokens of affection. Once the holiday has passed, stock up on clearance items that can later be listed for other upcoming events.

Spring cleaning

Spring is a busy season. Flowers are blooming, pets are coming into the world and window shades are drawn up.

By March, holiday sales have long passed and the time has come to do a little spring cleaning. This is a good time to unload old products and make room for new inventory. If you can’t clear your products online, have a yard sale, post items on Craigslist or donate to your favorite cause. March also tends to draw-out the lil’ leprechauns, so if you have anything green, try selling it then.

Easter is a good spring holiday that nets a lot of income for sellers. Try expanding your product line by incorporating bunny charms and candy-scented candles for this holiday.

Spring also marks the start of baseball season. You can target baseball fans with team paraphernalia, or perhaps go for the younger crowd and sell Little League products.

Consider promoting outdoor games for the kids who are restless after the long winter and eager to get out in the fresh air and sunshine.

“My kids love ring toss games, and they keep them occupied for almost 20 minutes,” says Melissa Summers on alphamom.com.

Additionally, this is the time of year when yard sale addicts are beginning to come out of hibernation for the ritualistic bargain hunting celebrated nationwide. Why not capitalize on those rainy weekends by offering “deals at a steal” to help these budget-conscious shoppers turn your trash into their treasure?

Moms, dads and grads

Consider what sorts of products travel well that will make life a little easier for the outdoorsman—or outdoorswoman

May and June is a time to honor parents and students for all their hard work over the years.

“Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are huge,” writes Skip McGrath, an eBay selling coach. “Sellers should start listing things for those holidays 40 days before the holiday, which means you need to do your wholesale sourcing 30 days before that.”

Buyers will be looking for gifts that say something. They’ll also likely want to give a gift that rewards the person, be it a gift card or an item of particular interest to the honoree. The latest gadgets, or any electronic gadget for that matter, might be just what buyers are searching for.

Summer ‘sell-abrations’

By summer, you’re warmed up and sales should be buzzing. Summertime is an active season. You can sell sports equipment and sports-related accessories—think football, soccer, tennis, golf.

People are also out camping, fishing, hiking and traveling. Consider what sorts of products travel well that will make life a little easier for the outdoorsman—or outdoorswoman, for that matter. More and more women are breaking away from the old homestead for a chance at roughin’ it.

“For that reason, manufacturers are doing what they can to create outdoor products with the female in mind,” says Marcela Spafford on Outdoorcritic.com.

If you read her seven suggestions for outdoor comfort, you might come up with a few more ideas that aren’t on the list.

Summer also invites people to eat outside and celebrate their nation. Picnics, backyard barbecues and anything that states “I’m proud of my country” will be priority for any seller who wants to provide for the needs of these summer celebrations.

Fall back into winter

When the summer is winding down, start stocking up on warm-season inventory for next year.

“In the fall you can find end-of-season stuff on the cheap,” says eBay Top-rated seller Rebecca Miller.

Bathing suits will be on sale, as will sports equipment and other hot-weather items. These sales can be a great source for inventory. It will only be a matter of months until your customers will be looking for hard-to-find items and birthday gifts. Consider offering these items in the cooler months, too, as buyers may be looking forward to a wintertime tropical getaway.

You might also find sale items that can be marketed as Halloween costumes. Work on showing your customers how to think outside the box when it comes to creating unique costumes and décor.

If you take these tips to heart, you may find your sales haven’t dropped since last winter, and now you can gear up for another Christmas shopping blitz.

Just remember McGrath’s advice to allow two to three months prior to each season for sourcing and listing your holiday line.

About the author

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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