I’m actually a little bit late this year in mentioning the subject of today’s eletter, so you are lucky to have avoided my wittering on about this topic thus far!
What am I talking about? The ‘c’ word of course.
I’ve managed to abstain from mentioning it up until now, even though I had ample opportunity last month when the giant stacks of Roses tins started appearing in my local supermarket.
And again when I passed a restaurant advertising festive bookings the weekend following. And again just last week when I was on the Tube in London reading about a Harvester restaurant that has already put up their Christmas tree. It’s true!
Look, there’s only 100 days to go now so I feel that it is only right that I’m now officially entitled to mention ‘Christmas’. My self-imposed embargo is over and you can take advantage of this official unbanning and get yourself prepared.
A friend of mine always buys her Christmas crackers, cards, wrapping paper — in fact anything remotely Christmassy that she may need next year — immediately after Christmas is over and she stores them for 12 months.
Some may be of the opinion that this is extremely impressive organization on her part. After all, she’s able to get hold of beautiful luxury crackers that come complete with nice pens and packs of full-size playing cards for the same price as the supermarket ‘value’ option whose fanciest prize is usually a packet of mini screwdrivers!
Others may be of the opinion that shopping a full year in advance spoils the festive fun.
I am firmly in the former camp — there’s nothing wrong with saving money and getting all the extra bits and bobs out of the way early, leaving only pressies to buy in the run up.
This is just a little example, but it does represent the huge ups and downs in price that you will undoubtedly see when it comes to seasonal products. And with that comes opportunity.
If my friend were to buy those crackers in the Boxing Day sale, and save those crackers with the sole aim of actually reselling them near Christmas the following year rather than using them herself, chances are she would make some profit doing so.
However, I think it’s fair to say that most people simply aren’t as organized as my super-slick (and admittedly super-smug) friend and so all things Christmas are often purchased during ‘the rush’ — which is usually the entire six weeks prior to December 25th.
That’s why you need to get organized right now if you want to cash in by selling seasonal goods. You have just eight weeks to research, source and list your Christmas products to ensure they are visible during the big buying period.
But why bother selling seasonal products?
Many sellers won’t entertain the idea of selling seasonal goods simply due to their limited periods of success, the pre-planning required and the peaks and troughs that come with those goods. But if storage isn’t too much of a problem for you then this can be incredibly profitable, albeit over a short period.
Think of it as a profit booster working alongside your year-round sellers because there are benefits to selling seasonal goods that you can enjoy.
Firstly, the price difference on and off peak for a seasonal item is likely to be far higher than any normal item of stock. Summer clothes are provided with massive discounts in winter and vice versa, while the prices of Christmas decorations and items such as gift sets are slashed to next to nothing as early as Boxing Day.
So this can lead to big profits if you can pick up items when they’re off peak and sell them when they are on peak.
Obviously this does require planning in advance. And unless you’re one of the super-organized it’s unlikely you will have a stash of seasonal products ready for this Christmas that you can cash in on – remember this strategy for next year though.
For now, you can still sell seasonal products, specifically Christmas related, and simply source from wholesalers instead.
Secondly, as I’ve already mentioned, some sellers won’t bother looking at seasonal goods and instead concentrate on year-round sellers (which is of course a solid business plan) so pick the right seasonal product and you may find that competition is lower.
This may particularly apply if you can find a specific niche market, leading to greater reward for less effort on your part.
How to find the best seasonal goods
The real trick when it comes to making money selling seasonal products is simply knowing when to buy and when to sell. As I’ve suggested, buying during the troughs and selling at peak is the best strategy – basically opposite ends of the year!
The alternative is to purchase stock as it arrives from wholesalers – and now is the time to do so.
Christmas stock is readily available from suppliers, particularly in the UK. This week alone I’ve received 14 emails (at the last count) from suppliers trying to tempt me with products from diaries to wrapping paper, artificial Christmas trees to sledges, fragrances to party supplies, Santa hats, gift bags and ‘Santa Stop’ signs!
Alongside this, these very same suppliers are also sending me emails with offers and discounts on their out-of-season products such as paddling pools, water toys, kites and garden furniture in great big ‘warehouse sales’ and ‘stock clearances’.
It may not seem natural to be researching beach toys and paddling pools when the nights are dark and cold and you’re snuggled up in front of the fire, but it’s important to keep your eyes open to keep your seasonal strategy on track.
Selling your seasonal products for a profit
Once you’ve sourced your stock, selling it is then all a matter of timing. Depending on which season you’re targeting, you’ll need to learn exactly when you’re likely to make the most sales.
This does get easier over time as you’ll be able to look at the statistics within your online selling accounts to verify how many of which product you sold and during which period.
I’ve already said the big Christmas peak selling period starts around six weeks beforehand but, historically, the first weekend in December is when you’ll see your orders rocket. This is when everyone typically realizes that time is running out!
Maximising your profits through each season will be a learning curve for you, but with experience you’ll soon get the hang of it and understand how to boost your profits year-on-year purely by adding seasonal lines.
My recommendation for anyone just starting out with seasonal selling is to take this strategy on alongside products that will provide a more regular income.
So research your ‘year rounders’ and get them up and running while simultaneously taking advantage of seasonal peaks – such as Christmas.
This will help you manage your finances throughout the year, as the regular sales will cover those off-peak periods. By diversifying your products you’ll keep yourself in a good financial position the whole year round.
So, Christmas here we come!