11 new ways to sell (& market!) merchandise this Christmas

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Many small business owners don’t have brick-and-mortar shops… and if you do, we’re guessing that the recent pandemic has affected your opening hours, capacity and foot traffic. With the Christmas season in full swing, this is a perfect time to get creative when it comes to marketing your merchandise and making the sale.

Here are some fresh ideas for selling your products this Christmas (no shop required!), for reaching new customers and for ensuring all of your clients feel safe while they shop.

  • Hold a virtual craft fair
  • Auction one-of-a-kind items on Instagram
  • Collaborate with other makers to sell bundles
  • Hold private open studio appointments
  • Go to customers’ homes for a private shopping experience
  • Offer virtual personal shopping sessions

Hold a virtual craft fair.

With many fairs and markets postponed, take your booth online. Use this opportunity to lower prices, offer new products and (most importantly) create urgency. If your online craft 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 put 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 on your Facebook event page.
  • Create a new website dedicated to your virtual event and showcase other artisans too. Use this new site as a landing page that links to shoppable pages for each small business.
  • Join a virtual craft fair. Many well-known craft fairs are going virtual – 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.

VISTAPRINT TIP

Use a unique sale format to offload some imperfect or damaged merchandise at reduced prices. Customers will love feeling like they’re getting a deal and you’ll clear out your workspace before the Christmas rush.

Auction one-of-a-kind items on 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 an auction style where bidders have 24 hours to comment with their highest bid, or a first-come first-served format, where the first follower to DM you and pay you via Venmo 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 around your next round of auction items this way.

Collaborate with other artisans to sell bundles.

Small business is all about community – so get together with other makers to offer bundled products or gift baskets.

Offer limited-capacity shopping options.

‘Tis the season for shopping… so give your customers options for browsing besides scrolling through your website.

Private open-studio appointments. Offer one-to-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 of your newest merchandise.

In-home shopping. Bring the shop to your customer’s door! After a consultation over the phone or video chat, bring a selection of select items to their home. This private shopping experience is sure to make any customer feel special.

Virtual personal shopping sessions. If customers don’t feel comfortable leaving their homes (or welcoming you into theirs) offer totally-virtual shopping sessions. 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.

VISTAPRINT TIP

If you’re coming into contact with customers, make sure to wear a face mask (and require customers to wear one too), keep a safe social distance and sanitise your hands and merchandise between appointments.

Ready to start selling?

Here’s your marketing to-do list:

1. Get the word out.

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

2. Maximise your search engine optimisation.

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 optimisation (SEO) best practices so you show up in more Google searches.

3. Refine your website’s user & checkout 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 in favour of the user experience without realising it – instead, ask trusted friends and family members to test your checkout experience and collect their feedback.

4. 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 – create a Highlight of reviews on your Instagram page, add one to the body of every email newsletter you send and print a particularly glowing testimonial on your next batch of flyers or rack cards.

5. Use high-quality product photos.

Whether you’re auctioning a handmade hat on Instagram or uploading images for your online craft fair, make sure all of your brand photography is high-resolution. Show items in natural lighting and shoot them from various angles to give customers a 3D look at your product. Since they can’t see or touch your product in real life, use photography to recreate this experience.