Ramp Up To The Holidays - Wholesale Supplies Plus
 
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Ramp Up To The Holidays

Ramp up for the yuletide season using this holiday soap making guide.

One of the busiest and most exciting times of the year is the holiday season for crafters and small businesses alike — including beauty and self-care brands. This primetime for retail stretches from October to the end of December.  In fact, many small business retailers cite the fourth quarter as their most profitable time of year. With a bit of advanced planning and preparation, both small and large volume sellers gain the ability to make the most of the holiday sales season without adding a ton of stress to your life.
A “ramp-up” period happens in business when the demand for a product or service is expected to surge. This could be before a product launch, before a major buying season (like back-to-school or holidays), or before a rebranding period or special promotional event. A ramp-up period typically requires a significant amount of preparation, from product manufacturing to communications to marketing.
 
Lead times for procuring raw materials for holiday manufacturing vary depending on numerous factors in the supply chain, but they are always more compressed during the ramp up to Black Friday and beyond. 
 
This means that you should be planning well in advance of the rush for your holiday soap making products so that you do not experience delays in the arrival of your raw materials, including bases, embeds, and embellishments. Delays create a snowball effect which affects your ability to not only manufacture, but deliver your finished goods in time for holiday buyers.
 
Here are four tips to make sure you can take advantage of the increase in demand and your holiday soap making processes do not fail during crunch time.

Beef Up Sales Staff for Holiday Manufacturing

Even if your business is too small yet for employees, it’s helpful to have a backup plan using part-time or seasonal assistance. This keeps your systems in place in case you become busier than expected, get ill or overbook yourself for holiday markets or shows. Start looking for qualified helpers early on, so you don’t find yourself in a bind as it gets closer to the holidays. You will need enough time to train them to understand your sales, product line, and pricing structure so that they can easily communicate with potential clients.

Review Software Efficiency and Social Media Readiness

If you’re using software such as a website or portable credit card reader to collect sales, now is the time to run a system check and verify that everything is in working order. One of the worst things that can happen is for technology to malfunction in the middle of a potential sale. Here are some other tips to ensure your tech is ready for the holidays: 
 
  • Update your listings online
  • Use new product photography to highlight your holiday soap and beauty offerings 
  • Create a holiday marketing strategy
  • Streamline social media presence by listing the pertinent information to allow potential buyers to reach you in one click or to purchase directly 
  • Add a link to your website that allows potential clients to sign up for your newsletter so that you can keep them in the loop for any special offers or sales.
 
Getting all of these systems in place well before the holiday season helps everything to run smoothly and maximize your sales.

Check Your Existing Raw Materials and Submit Supply Orders Now

If you are planning to cash in on a hot trend like Pumpkin Spice or Turmeric, now is the time to stock up on the ingredients required to manufacture those items. A few years ago, there was a shortage of pumpkin right before the holiday season, and skincare manufacturers scrambled at the last minute to stock up on what they could find or to revamp their holiday offerings entirely. 
 
There’s nothing worse than planning an entire product line around an ingredient that you can’t or won’t be able to procure. Avoid this misstep by researching your raw material needs and planning in advance so you can ramp up your inventory ahead of the rush. 
 
If you offer gift sets or gift wrapping, it's also the time to stock up on your packaging materials. Supplier lead times will begin to increase as we inch toward the holidays, so prepare for longer delivery times and out-of-stock notifications on seasonal packaging and trendy materials that are in high demand. With just a bit of elbow grease in advance, you won’t be surprised or disappointed when you can’t get the materials needed in the timeframe you expect.
 

Perform a Post-Holiday Review

The best way to prepare for the demands of the holiday season is to use your own business data to make decisions for next year. Review areas that had the fewest issues. For instance, if you added the right number of seasonal staff or spruced up your software to improve efficiency, take note of the processes that led to those successes so you can recreate them next year. If you had problems with inventory, staffing, or technology, identify the root cause of each issue so you know how to fix it before the next season. Failures, just like successes, need to be viewed as a learning experience. 
 
By tracking your company’s sales trends, successes, and failures you can set your business up for a happy new year. Once you’ve put all of the pieces in place, focus your attention on keeping your shelves stocked and your customers happy.





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