While most of the world is focusing on summer, for online sellers this time of year is all about holiday sourcing and planning.

40% of online shoppers will make their first holiday purchases in the month of September!

This means that if you don’t have your holiday inventory loaded by September 1, you’re leaving money on the table.

As of June 1st, that leaves a scant 90 days to source, receive inventory and get it listed.

The Pitfalls of Waiting

Unfortunately many online sellers don’t even  start thinking about what to sell for the holidays until September 1!

(And most ecommerce publishers don’t talk about holiday planning until October or November when the season “hits”.)

By then…

  • It’s much, much too late and you’ll have lost thousands of dollars in sales
  • Suppliers run out of hot holiday products
  • Sellers run out of money to buy inventory
  • There’s no time to keep up on the holiday trends
  • The weather intervenes and shipments get delayed
  • Experienced online sellers who were prepared snag the early bird customers who keep coming back to by more
  • Early bird shoppers spend more to get selection


The Four Areas of Holiday Planning

To maximize holiday sales, you need to focus your planning on four key areas:

  1. Product Sourcing. What will you sell?
  2. Strategy. How will you sell it?
  3. Marketing. Where will you promote it?
  4. Operations. How will you deal with the increase in business?

If you don’t start planning in these four areas now, you won’t end up planning at all! And not planning means you’ll lose sales and make less money.

Today’s blog post will help you get started!

And start, we need to look at the foundation of a successful holiday selling season – having the right inventory!  Without enough product to sell and without the right product to sell,

What Will People Buy This Holiday Season?

The first thing that people ask when thinking about sourcing for the holiday season is “What will shoppers buy this year?”

There are several ways to answer this question.  We’ll get started with three strategies:

The first place to start is by looking at your holiday sales reports from last year.

  • What were your top sellers last year?
  • Did you sell out of action figures, games, candle sets, wallets, slippers?
  • What were the styles, brands, products, that flew off your virtual shelves?
  • Take that list and use it as a springboard for this year’s holiday sourcing.

For example, if action figures where a hot seller for you last year, find out which action figure themes are popular this year.  Were candle sets with silver holders a top seller last year? Contact your supplier and ask them what new sets they have slated for this year’s holiday selling season.

Manufacturers forecast what their best-selling holiday products will be. All you need to do is ask them which products they expect to do well this year! This will help guide you in your holiday sourcing.

Start paying attention to trend information. If you’re not yet on top of what the trends are in your niche, it’s time to make this a focus. Whether you source products wholesale or do arbitrage sourcing, you have to have an idea of what consumers are buying now.

There are many ways to do this:

  • Reading trade journals…
  • Consumer magazines
  • Talking to suppliers
  • Scouring the web for trend articles

What brands, colors, styles, and products are in demand this year? Make it your business to know!

Sales circulars that come in the Sunday paper provide great clues to popular brands, new products and up and coming trends. Big stores spend of millions dollars a year on market research  and advertising to get the right products in front of the customers.

And it’s all there, free and in color for you to leverage in your business.

What are your best selling products today? Look for seasonal versions of your current best sellers. For example, do you sell a new brand of glassware that your customers love? Does the manufacturer offer seasonal styles? What about gift sets and holiday exclusives?

Start talking to your suppliers about these products now, because by September all the best seasonal inventory will be spoken for.

You can also source brand new seasonal product lines. Lights, decorations, Christmas ornaments, outdoor decorations etc. The time to buy seasonal merchandise is now. This is also a great time to scour the web for deals on seasonal merchandise that you can obtain through arbitrage sourcing!

Get Started Now!

When you get started for the holidays now, you have…

  • Time to plan
  • Time to make informed sourcing decisions
  • To budget your inventory capital
  • To locate the best products and the best prices on holiday merchandise

Thomas Edison said..

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”

Strong holiday sales will bring good fortune to you, your business and your family. But you have to start planning now in order for that to happen!

So check back frequently for more holiday planning tips!

To help you get started, we’ve put together a brand new 2013 Summer Sourcing Guide: 15 Strategies for Summer and Holiday Sourcing.

It’s 100% FREE, download your copy today.