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Prepping Your Business for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

10 tips for businesses to prepare for the holiday rush

In 2016, consumers spent nearly $7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That number continues to grow each year with Black Friday starting on Thursday, Cyber Monday starting on Sunday, and Small Business Saturday becoming more and more popular.

With consumers hungry for good deals and locally made products, an influx of orders could be coming your way. Is your business prepared?

Below we cover 10 steps your business can take to stay organized, sane, and open during the holiday season.

Wondering when you should start preparing for the holidays? Most businesses kick things into gear between Summer and Fall.

1. Stock Up On Packing Supplies & Inventory

Prepare for the holiday rush: stock up on shipping and mailing supplies

Analyze what supplies are needed to fulfill your orders. Besides the products themselves, do you need packing tape, tissue paper, shipping labels, shopping bags, product labels, etc?

Make sure you have enough, and well before the holiday season starts. Stores and carriers are overwhelmed themselves, which could mean your regular products are out of stock or have a delayed delivery time.

Having orders is great, but not if you run out of the essentials to complete them. Getting everything in ahead of time could save you a lot of headaches.

Get your product labels custom printed! When we handle the printing, we eliminate the most tedious part of the labeling process for most customers – alignment and printing. Our prints are guaranteed to be high-quality and hassle-free. See how affordable it is to streamline your business, get a custom printed quote.

2. Pre-Produce Your Products

For a lot of small businesses, products aren't made until the order comes through. But with double or triple the sales coming through during the holiday rush, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

You may want to consider pre-producing your offerings leading up to big shopping days. It would speed up your fulfillment process and help relieve some of your stress.

Before making excess of every product you offer, though, evaluate your sales in the months and year(s) prior. What's your top-selling item? Are you discounting one item above the rest? Use these strategic questions to decide what inventory is worth over-producing.

3. Organize Your Inventory

There's more to fulfilling orders than just having your supply on-hand. With product building up in your home or stockroom, it can be hectic trying to find what you're looking for at the drop of a hat.

Try using inventory labels to stay organized. Shelf labels can help direct you and your team where to find an item quickly and easy.

You may also consider grouping items based on relevant categories like size or color if you don't have shelving in your storage area.

For more technologically inclined business owners, create a spreadsheet with your inventory count so you know whether you have it in-stock or not before getting up.

4. Staff Up

Seasonal employees are in high demand, and many are lining up for the opportunity. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 675,000 seasonal positions open during the holidays.

Start early so your team is trained and well-versed in the tasks and products at-hand. College students, neighborhood teenagers, and staffing agencies are great resources.

Note: This step doesn't just apply to businesses with brick and mortar storefronts. While retailers with a local presence may need to hire additional salespeople, ecommerce business owners should consider hiring a team to help make, pack, and ship products.

5. Update Your Website

Make sure your website is accurate and up to date. This includes rereading your product descriptions, retaking photos, and double-checking holiday hours and pricing. Websites with accurate information tell customers your company is active, engaged, and ready to handle their business.

Take your website preparations a step further and make sure you're optimized for mobile use. People are turning to their smartphones more and more – when they're searching for your product or business, you want to be ready.

6. Consider Gift-Wrap Options

Prepare for the holiday rush: offer time-saving services like gift-wrapping and/or gift tags

Buying, wrapping, and sending presents takes time. Offer to take this stress off your customers' shoulders, for a price. Add additional finishing options for gift tags, gift receipts, personalized cards, and gift wrapping. The convenience might just be worth that upcharge.

It may make your brand and products more attractive to potential customers, too, if you can handle everything for them.

Want to add a custom flair to your wrapping paper? Read this article on DIY Christmas gift wrap.

7. Spend on Advertising

Prepare for the holiday rush: promote your sales using in-store and online advertising leading up to the holidays

Many people begin their holiday shopping online. Ramping up your advertising spend on Google, Etsy, or Amazon in preparation for the holidays could help build awareness of your brand and product. Then, when it's time to buy, you'll be top of mind.

If you're not selling on online, decide which marketplaces (if any) are right for you.

8. Get Some Hype

There are tons of websites that list great products and deals during the holidays. Reach out to some of the authors and see if they'll include your product!

News outlets love to feature local entrepreneurs and small businesses as well. See if they too would be willing to host a segment about your business or product.

It doesn't hurt to ask, it may just work out in your favor.

9. Be Active on Social

Prepare for the holiday rush: post on social media so you stay top-of-mind

Social media is a great place to promote any extra sales, products, or services you're offering during the holidays.

It's also an easy way to drum up demand and keep customers informed about out-of-stock items, hours, and more. If your content is engaging and timely, people will keep coming back.

You can also use social media to provide customer service. Customers love the 24/7 nature of social media, and if nothing else, it may keep your phone from ringing a little less often.

10. Keep Accurate Records

Your time is valuable, don't spend it searching for product you don't have or guessing how specific products performed in years prior.

We recommend creating an inventory management system for your business. Learn more about how barcodes can help with inventory management.

You may also want to consider keeping sales logs. Knowing which products performed well and which under-performed can do wonders for your business. It may also spur new product ideas you hadn't thought of yet!

And above all else, having definitive numbers will help clue you in to what your business should produce for the holiday rush next year.

Bonus: After The Holidays

While it may be tempting to kick off your shoes and close up shop once December passes, don't dip off! The holiday rush goes beyond just that one month of December.

Research has shown there's usually a slow drop-off into January, leaving you plenty of opportunities to sell past Cyber Monday.

People are hitting the stores to use the gift cards and cash they received as presents and stores may be trying to clear out Christmas/holiday inventory. There's a possibility people are still on the hunt for a good gift and deal – don't get left behind.

Don't let the holidays stress you out. Start preparing early and consider the tips above for an organized, sane, and strong holiday season. For more business advice and support, visit our Label Learning Center.

Our customer service team is also available at 1-888-575-2235 to answer any questions you may have.