Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

More Shop Tips for Pre-Holiday Season Prep

The 'sellers' season is fast approaching. You can feel fall in the air with cooler temperatures, the leaves on the trees turning gold and burnt orange, and the harvest begins. It is time to start thinking of holiday sales and getting your Ruby Lane shop ready to meet the crowds. The online selling season generally runs from the middle of September through February with brisk sales, then during March, April and May sales start to taper off. The summer months with vacations and other activities shoppers tend to do very little shopping. Now is the time to get moving and get your shop and items fixed up and positioned for optimum sales success during the major selling season of the year.

So how should you prepare?

Get your items listed in your shop. Where the summer was a time to go on the hunt for new items, fall is when shops load up their new treasures so they can get picked up and indexed by Google and other search engines, well in advance of the season. And of course share them across Social sites to put them right in front of potential buyers. Some shoppers have already started planning for holiday purchases and are using shop Wish Lists to keep track of potential gift ideas for family, friends and co-workers, or themed items for decorating their home and garden, or party clothes for celebrating, or a special gift for themselves.

Great Photos
Be sure to take great photos of new items, and take the time to freshen up old inventory photos to give items an updated look.

Item Titles
Titles should not include unnecessary punctuation and crazy characters - ever! Google and other search engines are not wild about them and may in fact, not index an item because of them. The biggest culprits are double quote marks (" ") and exclamation marks !. Other characters that should not be used are: #, *, ~, and those endless dots ... The only punctuation marks that should be included in a title are dashes - , slash marks /, the ampersand &, and single quote marks (' '). And remember to include a space before and after the dash and slash mark symbol. If you don't, Google will not recognize the two words as individual words and a keyword or tag search will be fruitless for a shopper. And finally, drop the fancy adjectives: like stunning, beautiful, etc., especially at the beginning of a title. Although they sound enticing they use up valuable space and become part of the item URL, which generally means important searchable terms are dropped from the URL. Write your titles using appropriate keywords only.

Item Descriptions
Descriptions are equally important for setting up your items for search engine indexing. The first sentence being the most influential. Restate the item title and add other important keywords or tags relevant to the item. And don't forget item measurements, condition, and other characteristics.

Also, do not put anything in the description that does not tie directly to the item. Google is very strict about enforcing this particular rule. Leave off shipping information, special sales information, and other non-related item information. You can include historical or manufacturer information about the item but do not copy the same information word for word to another listing. This may be viewed as Duplicate Content by Google and your item (or items) will be rejected by Google. Another big No - No.

It is always nice to see a shop in holiday attire. Find a spiffy holiday themed graphic and use it in place of your regular logo. Or add decorative touches to your shop logo to give it Happy Holiday appeal. There are many websites with holiday themed graphics for free or for as little as a $1.

For working with logos and holiday graphics, GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

Get Paint.NET is a free image and photo editing software with a variety useful and powerful tools for creating graphics and logo designs.

iStockphoto - A web source for royalty-free stock images, media and design elements.

Shutterstock - Also a royalty-free stock image site.

Or search Google Images for Free Holiday images.

You can also add holiday photos and graphics to the About Us section of your Shop Home Page using the Shop FTP program. For complete instructions read the article in Selling Successfully: Using FTP to Add Photos & Graphics to Your Shop Home Page

Verify your pricing is accurate and inline with like items being sold across the internet. Decide now which items you will list in a sale should you decide to have one before or after the holiday buying season. You will also want to get your marketing plan mapped out ahead of time. If you belong to social sites determine which ones you will use and how much time you require to implement your plan, and schedule specific dates of action on your business calendar. Marketing is key to a great selling season.

Plan to Dress Up Your Shipping
Finally, it is always a nice gesture to add a festive note card to your shipments. You can also add a few holiday stickers to the outside of the box to add a special touch.

Make the most of the holiday selling season - plan now and get your shop decked out and ready to meet visitors and buyers!