Save Time & Money During the Holidays


Veteran online sellers shared some of their time-tested ways for smoothing the path through the holidays. They showed us how to plan for our own holiday celebrations last time we spoke.

This time they’ve tell us about saving time and keeping sales soaring. Their advice comes down to two basics: solid infrastructure and good time management. They start with your inventory and shipping operation, but there are some good moves to make with your listings as well.

Organize your items

“Do inventory now,” says eBay seller Kathy Keefe of Sassy’s Savings. “Make sure it is organized and can be easily found when sold.”

Keefe recommends using plastic tubs or banker boxes, and suggests you use the custom label field for locating the item.

Prep your shipping supplies

But it isn’t just your inventory that needs to be well organized. Many sellers recommended taking a hard look at your shipping operation, too. Keefe agrees.

“Take inventory of your shipping supplies, ” she suggests. “Organize boxes and envelopes by size. Having your shipping area streamlined and organized can save countless hours. ”

Top Rated eBay seller Cie-Bay says you should order free boxes from USPS now and stock up on tape, labels, bubble wrap, and other supplies you’ll need. “You won’t have time to get any of those things once the holiday sales go into full swing,” she adds.

Schedule mail pickups

Being well supplied is a great way to start, but you’ve got some other strategies you can take, too.

“If you can use USPS carrier pickup, log on to now and order daily pickups for the next few months,” says Donna MacMurray-Klein, who manages a popular Facebook Group on selling online. “If you are not using a thermal printer for postage, consider getting one. They’re fast and actually pay for themselves quickly.”

She likes the Dymo 450. MacMurray-Klein’s advice is to evaluate how you can keep maximum accuracy, but gain the most efficient process.

Time management helps

Another crucial step on the path to a sane holiday season is time management. Luckily, our experts have wisdom to share about that, too.

“Plan and do so now, ” says veteran online seller Kathy Terrill. “I use Google calendar. I put everything on it, including how much I plan to pin daily on Pinterest, to when I want to launch auctions and the duration of the auctions.”

Technology makes planning ahead even easier. “Set up your social marketing campaigns in advance using one of the social media management applications,” Keefe says. She recommends Hootsuite, Buffer and Social Oomph.

“Set your promotion schedule and have your graphics ready in advance,” she continues.

Look back to last year

Keefe also recommends looking at your past sales to plan for this season. Although every year is different, looking back over sales records can help you predict and plan for what’s likely to be your busiest period again. With this in mind, you can easily change some things to smooth out the crunch time.

Keefe starts with the practical, part of your weekly time at work. “Try to have a specific time for shipping set aside,” she says. “It’s better to overestimate than to underestimate the time you will spend on this task.”

She also recommends setting a cutoff date for guaranteed arrival by Christmas and making sure that detail is apparent in all your listings.

Remember, you and your staff are not the only ones who are busy this time of year. The closer we get to the season, the busier your customers are, too. “Think like your buyer,” says MacMurray-Klein. “Holiday shoppers tend to be crunched for time and want to cross gifts off their lists.”

So offer a variety of shipping options. “If your listings don’t use calculated shipping, revise them and offer your buyers three mailing options: slow (First Class or Parcel), Priority, and Express,” MacMurray-Klein advises. “This allows your buyers in a hurry to simply upgrade their postage without nagging you. Enter the shipping methods in order of slowest to fastest, so they display right.”

MacMurray-Klein also had some advice to make your life as a seller easier. “As time becomes scarcer, end any listings that are really time consuming to prepare for packing unless, they’re super high profit,” she adds.

Those are likely to make any seller’s holiday happier!

Are You Reaching Your Promoting Potential?

Are you reaching your promoting potential?Instantly Increase Your Sales Potential By Promoting Regularly

Did you know you have free and easy marketing tools right at your fingertips? In your Merchant Toolkit, you can create Posts, coupon codes, storewide discounts and opt in to our highly successful Credit Rewards Program. Whether you’re a brand new merchant (welcome!) or an experienced seller, it’s important to brush up on the many ways you can instantly increase your sales potential and ensure you’re maximizing your reach on a regular basis.

Here are some easy ways to take advantage of your built-in marketing tools:

The Credit Rewards Program: Hands-Free Marketing

Make sure you’ve opted in to the Credit Rewards Program! Join other successful merchants and increase your exposure without lifting a finger.

Here’s how it works:

  • Customers can use “credits” to shop on OpenSky. These can either be earned or given during our high-traffic promotions called Credit Events.
  • By opting in to the Credit Rewards Program, you’ll automatically be promoted during Credit Events, and customers will be able to take a certain percentage off your products (20%-70%) using their credits.
  • You can set your credit level by choosing your desired percentage. (You can change this credit limit at any time.)

Remember, only enrolled merchants can take advantage of Credit Events and you can opt out at any time.

Posts: Your Most Powerful (& Free!) Marketing Tool

Have you Posted lately? If not, you may be missing out on your most powerful—and free—marketing tool.

  • Posts are simple communications that are fast, free and easy to create.
  • Posts broadcast across your followers’ feeds on OpenSky and social channels.
  • You instantly increase your sales potential when you post.
  • Emails triggered to OpenSky shoppers from Posts are twice as good at driving sales than general marketing emails because messages are tailored to each shopper.

Learn more about Posts here.

Posts with a Punch: Best Practices

  • Post about your best and most popular products.
  • Create best-selling Posts by including beautiful imagery and limited-time promos.
  • It’s OK, talk about yourself! Include product-related tips and inspiration, and behind-the-scenes features such as tours of your space.

Want some easy examples to get you started? Get inspiration here.

All Hail the #Hashtag: Increase Your Posting Power

  • Hashtags are an easy addition to your Posts and automatically link to other content that has the same hashtag.
  • By adding hashtags to all your Posts, you make them more discoverable to shoppers browsing trending hashtags.

Cash in on trending hashtags by familiarizing yourself with hashtags that sell.

Ready to get started? Put together a weekly schedule of Posts (just remember to post properly and keep the content fresh for your customers), and get going on an easy (and fun!) way to get the word out about your amazing products and story.

You can always refer to these helpful tutorials for everything you need to know about posting. As we head into the holiday season (yes, it’s still hot out but it’s time to start preparing), you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the promotional tools that will come in handy during the height of the shopping season.