In our business it feels like Christmas is year-around. It’s amazing how many US and international collectors like to add to their Hallmark ornament collections all year. But, as November approaches, our orders increase dramatically. The serious collectors shop more as they get their trees out and decide to finish a certain series or start collecting a new series. We also get a lot of first-time customers who buy only one specific type of ornament for their grandkids, best friend or parents.

Either way, business picks up in a major way starting in November and doesn’t slow down until after January.

Getting the Word Out

Starting in October, we increase the bandwidth of with 3dcart so that our site can handle a high volume of shoppers. It’s better to have too much bandwidth than not enough. This year we focused on making our Google AdWords campaign more efficient. We did this by working with 3dcart’s Search Marketing Department. We wanted to make sure our keywords were drawing the right shoppers. There are a lot more people “clicking” this time of year so we wanted to make each click count. AdWords, organic search engine results, and word-of-mouth are the avenues we take to reach new customers.

Stocking Up on Supplies

Also starting in October, we make sure we have all necessary supplies on hand. These include invoice paper, shipping labels, toner, boxes, tape, packing material, etc. It is much better to have extras than to run out of something. During this busy season, we can not go a day without shipping. And running out of supplies would put us way behind.

Promote, Promote, Promote

We advertise our promotions on our site’s homepage so all our visitors can take full advantage of what we have to offer. We also send emails to our mailing list to keep our loyal customers in the loop. We offer daily deals using the 3dcart plugin. And we offer free shipping on all orders over $50 and offer low flat-rate shipping on all orders.

Making Your Customer Feel at Home

Ornament Mall is a home-based business that started before online shopping existed and there are important elements that keep that personal feel. Most orders go out same day or next day, which ensure that they are received within 3 to 5 days. We accept personal checks and take phone orders. If we are out of an item, we help the customer locate it through another source.

Finishing Strong

We ship all of our orders through the US Postal Service. It is important to have a good relationship with your shipper. We use the Endicia 3dcart plugin to post our packages and provide a SCAN report to our carrier so that the post office can process our shipments quickly.

My advice for new merchants in their first holiday season is to make sure your website can be found on search engines and social networking sites. Search engine optimization is crucial because it doesn’t matter how great your website is if customers can’t find it. When the customers do find you, be sure to provide great customer service so they return -- and tell their friends.

About the Ornament Mall is a family owned ecommerce website specializing in Hallmark ornaments. It is run by Jane Bigham and her family.