Vendor Tips with Kim Bauer: 3 Strategies to Boost Holiday Sales


Kate Stamas Photography

Kim Bauer is a former maker who now works tirelessly with small businesses and crafters, guiding them to go grow and develop a successful business. Renegade Craft is so grateful that Kim will be offering tips and advice on our blog while sharing examples of her past experiences.  Thank you, Kim!

3 Strategies to Boost Holiday Sales

Ready or not, the holidays are coming. And they’re going to bring out the holiday shoppers in full force. By planning ahead and by making a few strategic tweaks, you can appeal to the senses of the holiday shopper and boost your sales.


1)    Make enough to sell enough

As a soy candle maker, I sold nearly as much after Nov. 1 as I did the entire rest of the year. Selling that amount in 6-8 weeks required advance planning so that I had enough inventory on hand.

Select 2-3 popular items: Last year I wanted to buy a handmade gift for a close family member, but the turnaround time was six weeks for each custom piece. The seller had a long list of items she could make, but she hadn’t made them in advance for the holidays. I couldn’t give this family member an IOU, so unfortunately, I had to purchase a different product. A better strategy would have been for her to refine her long product list into a few popular items and make them in advance. Even if she had leftover inventory, it would have been useful the next year, and she wouldn’t have lost important sales at the holidays.

Forecast sales: Many crafters estimate that 25-50% of their sales for the year come after November 1. Which means if you have sold $5,000 to date, you can probably hope to sell another $2,500-$5,000 depending on your marketing efforts. It’s also important for your booth to look full, even if it means having leftover inventory. If your shop looks picked over, buyers may likely believe the good items are gone and pass you by.


2)    Get gift-ready 

At holiday markets, shoppers are on the prowl for gift items —and the way that they think about gifts is different than the way they think about items for themselves.

Price points: Buyers give many different gifts at the holidays, from a $20 office gift to a $100 significant other gift. Providing items at a variety of price points will help you capture as many gift sales as possible —especially on the $15-$30 end.

Product cards: If buyers choose to shop for gifts at a craft market, they care about giving a gift with a story. Have your product story printed on small cards to be included with gift purchases and have these cards displayed for shoppers to see.


Wrapping: At holiday markets, I displayed brown paper gift bags with green or red tissue paper. It signaled to customers that they could walk away with a giving-ready gift. I included the gift wrapping at no additional cost to the buyer because the cost was nominal and it helped me to close many additional sales.


3)    Draw customers to your booth with sight, smell and sound

There’s a reason that many stores start playing holiday music in early November: it works. Certain cues serve as signals of long-held holiday traditions and put shoppers in the mood to browse and to buy. Creating a memorable experience is key to helping buyers to choose you and to remember you. Get festive with your booth and appeal to the holiday senses of shoppers.

Sight: Decorations  like lights, garland, wreaths and bows are all inviting signals to a memorable holiday booth.

Smell: Certain smells conjure up holiday memories for many shoppers. If you can, include scents in your booth, like sprigs of a fir tree or cinnamon sticks.

Sound: You know the music —the songs we hear only during the last couple months of the year. Your playlist can include whatever music you can tolerate, and it is a tried and true tactic to increase holiday purchases.

Kim Bauer

Kim Bauer is a business counselor and former crafter. She has worked with more than 300 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to help them position their businesses for success. Kim has an MBA in strategic management and entrepreneurship from Tulane University. You can find her in cyberspace at: KTBAUER.COM.


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