Holiday Selling Tips and Tricks

Much like traditional retailers, online stores experience their biggest sales in the last two months of the calendar year. eBay is no exception to this rule either, so sellers should also prepare for the holiday season appropriately. Here are some great tips to help your holiday selling season be as successful (and as profitable) as possible.

Buy It Now

Most Christmas shoppers have a long list of gifts to buy and not a lot of time to make each purchase. Patience is not a virtue at this time of year and impulse buying is common. Take all of these factors into account and offer more Buy It Now and fixed price listings instead of auction style. Buyers are less likely to hang around to see whether they win an auction or not; by the time it ends they may have already bought it somewhere else.

Flexible returns

Extended return policies for the holiday season are common for both traditional retailers and online stores. eBay recommends offering 60 day returns for purchases during November and December to help increase buyer confidence. It is not necessarily essential for every seller to go as far as this, but extended returns are a great way to appeal to buyers who may have some initial reservations about a purchase.

Swift shipping

Already impatient when browsing, Christmas shoppers don’t want to have to wait long for their items either. Firstly, be sure to ship items on time. Tensions are higher at this time of year so do your part as a seller and ship promptly and as promised.

Give buyers the choice of different shipping options for the holiday season; the flexibility and convenience will be appreciated. Consider shipping items for free; this can increase visibility on search results, sales and overall customer satisfaction. eBay rewards sellers who offer free, quick shipping with their Fast ‘N Free program.

Optimise for mobile shoppers

Online shopping on mobile devices has never been more popular (over half of all eBay transactions involve a mobile device) and this holiday season will be no exception to the rule. If your eBay listings are not already optimised to be mobile-friendly for shoppers, make it a priority this selling season.

An item’s description, photos and product identifiers are all important in ensuring an easy and straightforward shopping experience for buyers. More advice is available in the recent Auction Nudge post ‘Optimising eBay Listings for Mobile Shoppers.’

Listing holiday delivery dates

One of the biggest concerns shoppers have in the run up to Christmas is whether or not their orders will arrive in time for the big day. Both extreme weather and extreme pressure on shipping services mean that service can be slow. Sellers can’t physically help with either of these issues but they can assist the buyer by listing last Christmas delivery dates on an item’s description page. These dates are usually announced by the shipping companies (regular mail and courier too) at the beginning of November.

Not only does this provide the all important dates direct to the buyer without further research (potentially prompting a sale) but it also can help with post-Christmas complaints if items do not arrive on time.

Other quick tips:

  • Don’t get caught out and have plenty of shipping supplies ready for the rush.
  • Consider having a holiday sale with a discount or special promotion to help increase sales.
  • Change up your eBay store pages with a holiday theme to get buyers in a shopping mood.
  • Be clear about shipping times when creating listings to avoid confusion and frustration from buyers if an item does not arrive on time.
  • Customer service is as important during the holiday season as any other time of year – Christmas shoppers may turn into year round, regular customers.

Have a break

The holiday season is about more than just selling. Make sure to take some time away from it all and enjoy spending quality time with your own loved ones. If you plan to have an extended break from eBay, take a second to explore the options of putting your eBay business on hold before going on vacation.

Looking to next year

Take note of what sells well and when. This will help you to spot potential patterns and trends that can be used when making sourcing decisions ahead of next year’s holiday season. Always be looking ahead; whether this year’s holiday sales are good or disappointing, learn from the experience and look to improve selling performance next holiday season.

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.