Make Sure You’re Prepared: 2017 Black Friday Checklist

With one week away from our largest sales week of the year, we want to make sure you have all the tools you need to be setup for success. For that reason, we’ve created a Black Friday checklist.

 

Black Friday Checklist 2017

 

▢   Schedule your store sale. We HIGHLY recommend offering discounted prices between November 23rd and December 15th. During these weeks, we see the highest amount of traffic and page views. Sellers who put their store on sale or offer free shipping are more likely to convert those page views into customers. Because of this, we’re even hosting a giveaway for all sellers to participate in the holiday promotions.

▢   Update “exclusive” or “lowest price” items. Make sure to update your products so they accurately reflect what you offer on Educents. If your product is not the lowest price or exclusive to Educents, you will need to deselect these features or we retain the right to remove your product from our site due to false advertising.

▢   Guarantee your exposure. To guarantee page views over the holidays, we still have a handful of spots left for our promotions! Sign up now before they are sold out.

▢ Upload any NEW products one week before Black Friday by November 22nd. The earlier you can upload your products, the better.

 

During Black Friday and the holidays

 

▢ Check your SPAM and make sure you are receiving notifications and emails from Educents.

Stay on top of your messages from potential customers on Educents.

▢ If you are going on vacation, email sellers@educents.com.

 

Sellers who ship physical items

 

▢ Set clear expectations on your shipping methods and turnaround times, especially if the package is unable to arrive by Christmas.

▢   Make sure your inventory is updated. You can now set inventory limits on Educents. Over selling items is a poor customer experience (we have to email them and refund them) and it won’t look great for your brand, so you will want to prevent this from happening!

▢ If you are backordered email sellers@educents.com immediately.

 

Cross-Promote Your Educents’ Holiday Sale

 

We will be re-sharing posts from sellers through out the holidays! Cross-promoting helps with overall social media reach, engagement, and your page views.

To make it easy, we’ve created copy and paste the snippets below (don’t forget to replace YOURSTORE with the link to your storefront and YOURPRODUCTLINK with the link to one of your products).

 

Who loves a great price? Check out my store while it is on sale this season and use the code HOLIDAY for an additional 10% off: www.educents.com/YOURSTORE #sale @educents

Are you ready for #blackfriday? Keep your kids #learning with this great product! Use the code HOLIDAY for an additional 10% off www.educents.com/YOURPRODUCTLINK #family @educents

Getting #kids excited during #christmas with these! And, they are on sale! Use the code HOLIDAY for an additional 10% off www.educents.com/YOURSTORE #family @educents

Shhh! Kids won’t realize they are #learning with this cool educational #toy! Use the code HOLIDAY for an additional 10% off www.educents.com/YOURPRODUCTLINK #parenting @educents

 

Dates to Remember

 

Friday, November 24th – Black Friday

Monday, November 27th – Cyber Monday

Monday, December 11th – Green Monday (historically, this is another spike in traffic and revenue across eCommerce platforms)

 

If you have any questions about preparing for Black Friday and the holidays, email us at sellers@educents.com. Looking forward to ending the year with a bang!

 

 


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FAQ: “Boost” Your Products

There are a few ways to increase your exposure around the marketplace. Using keywords to rank higher in search, putting your store on sale, or purchasing a sponsored search spot are all ways to increase your visibility on Educents.

Another feature we’ve added is called “Boost”. You can find “Boost” in the Products section of your seller dashboard. When clicking “Boost” you will see different ways to boost your product.

 

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After clicking on “Boost”  there are four different options available to make your product stand out further on Educents.

 

Mark your product as:

 

Exclusive

Is your item ONLY available on Educents? We promote these products via email, social media, and around the site. If you cannot guarantee that your item isn’t sold anywhere else, do NOT select this option.

 

Lowest Price

Is the Educents price the lowest price available for your product? Customers love to get a great deal! If you cannot guarantee lowest price, do NOT select this option.

 

Free Shipping

Can you ship your product to the contiguous US for free? Customers are more likely to buy products that offer free shipping. (Note: You will not receive a shipping reimbursement if you offer free shipping)

 

Feature

Would you like to feature your product in your storefront? Products that are featured are given higher priority on your storefront. Limit of four.

 

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To boost your product, simply select one or more of the four options for each product they apply to.

WARNING: If you are found to be misusing these features, we retain the right to remove your product from our site.

 

 

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October 2017: Product Updates

We’ve been working on product features that will help make your life easier during the holiday shopping months, while delivering a great experience for customers.

 

What you need to know:

 

Inventory Management

You can now manage your Educents inventory! This has been requested by multiple sellers over the last few years and we’re excited to finally release the feature. This feature will allow you to set the number of items you have in-stock for each product on Educents.

You can also setup email notifications to inform you when you are running low. Once you reach 0, Educents will show the product as “Out of Stock” and allow customers to sign up for email notifications once the product is back in-stock.

If you have limited inventory during the holiday season, make sure to setup your inventory so that you don’t oversell items and disappoint customers.

Learn more about setting up inventory management.

 

Reporting

You can now export orders for any payment period by going to your Earnings tab instead of your Orders tab.

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You can also export unshipped orders now. On the orders tab, you should see that option above your listed Orders.

 

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Free Shipping // Store on Sale

We’re currently working on adding Free Shipping to the Store Sale section of your dashboard. This feature will allow you to schedule free shipping, along with discounted prices for a limited period of time. Stay tuned!

 

Are these updates helpful for you? Is there anything you’d like to see more of in the seller dashboard? Let us know in the comments below!

 


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FAQ: How to manage your inventory

FAQ: How to manage your inventory

 

We now offer an easy solution to manage your Educents inventory directly through your dashboard. It’s entirely optional, so if you don’t set an inventory limit, we’ll keep selling your items with out any knowledge of what you have in-stock.

To start setting inventory limits, login to your Educents dashboard and click “Products” on the left-hand side. You can update your inventory in three separate sections. The first section is “Manage Stock” next to each product and adjusting the number appropriately. Setting this number to 0 will show the product as “Out of Stock”.

 

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If you scroll down, you will see a section called “Stock Inventory CSV”. If you have many products, this is a quick way for you to update your inventory in bulk.

Below is a sample of what the CSV looks like. On the CSV you will see four separate columns. “SKU” is an internal SKU number we use, so you do not need to worry about this number. Do not change this column. You can update “Manufacturer’s SKU” (your company’s SKU for the product) and the Stock. For stock, simply put the quantity/amount of inventory you have for the corresponding product.

Once your CSV is complete, upload it to the dashboard and this will automatically set your inventory limits. You can use this file to update your inventory as well.

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Lastly, when creating a new product, you will see the option to manage inventory. Under “Pricing” you will see a section that says “Manage Stock?” You can set an inventory limit by checking this box and setting an inventory limit.

In this section, you may also setup a “Low Stock Notification”. This will send you an email notification when you hit the inventory number set in this box.

 

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Start managing your inventory limits on Educents today.

 

 

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How to Win a Promotional Package

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If you’ve read our plans for Black Friday and the 2017 holidays, you will know that we’ll be favoring sellers who have their stores on sales, offer free shipping, and give customers the best deals. Our merchandising team will be curating our holiday pages based on these deals for items that make great gifts.

It’s in your favor to schedule your store sale EARLY. Our team receives a daily report with seller stores that will be on sale during the holidays and we’re using this information to plan our promotions. The earlier you schedule your sale, the more likely you will be highlighted.

 

How to Win a Promotional Package

 

  1. Schedule your store sale by November 22nd.
  2. You may schedule your sale for as long as you’d like, but your store sale must be active during November 24th – 27th. We will have promotions that highlight store sales through December 15th. Traffic is exponentially higher November 1st – December 15th.
  3. During the week of November 20th share plans for your store sale using the following hashtag: #holidaysale @educents

You must complete all three steps to become a qualified candidate.

 

Award: Promotional Package

 

1 week – sponsored search

1 week  – sponsored category page of your choice

1 featured e-blast

1 social media post

No commission for the month of January 2018

$50 gift card to Educents to use personally or to offer your own audience

 

We will be randomly selecting 1 winner during the week of November 27th from all qualified candidates. Start scheduling and good luck!

 

Still on the fence? Here are some helpful posts to consider:

 

What types of promotions should I offer customers during the holidays?

Make Sure You’re Prepared: 2017 Black Friday Checklist

FAQ: How to schedule a store sale and offer free shipping

 

What are your holiday promotional plans? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Fine Print:
The promotional package must be used between December 15, 2017 – October 31st, 2018 unless otherwise noted. The no commission award is only applicable for the month of January 2018. Winner must give 1 month advance notice as to when the promotions will be used. Package may be used together or separately.

 


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FAQ: How to schedule a store sale and offer free shipping

Why should I put my store on sale?

We boost sellers who offer store sales, so it’s a great way to get extra exposure. It’s especially helpful during the holidays when the highest number of customers are looking at our site.

We’re also offering a special seller contest for Black Friday 2017 – see the details here.

 

What happens when you put your store on sale:

 

  1. It’s more likely you will show up in search. We have built in features that allow customers to search by discount amount and to filter down to products that offer free shipping.

 

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2. You receive a badge on your items and store that show your store is on sale, which makes it more likely for customers to add your item to their cart.

 

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3. We send automated emails based on an algorithm which includes your store followers, customers who have viewed your page, and customers that have purchased items from you in the past.

 

 

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How to schedule a store sale and offer free shipping for a limited time

 

Login to your Educents seller dashboard. On the left-hand side you will see “Store Sale”.

 

 

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Once you arrive to the put your store on sale page, follow the step by step instructions to schedule your store sale.

  1. Enter the duration of your sale. You can have a sale run up to 90 days.
  2. Choose to offer free shipping for your sale by selecting “Yes” next to free shipping.
  3. Choose to offer a discount for your sale by selecting “Yes” and entering the % off your listed price. The discount amount will be taken off your currently listed prices.

 

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4. From there, select all items to be on sale OR select individual items that you would like to be included in the sale.

 

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5. Click “Preview” to see your sale prices in the column “Sale Price (Preview)”.

6. If everything looks good, click “Apply” to schedule your sale.

 

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7. Once your store is scheduled, make sure to share it with your audience! We’ve added a button making it easier for you to share it with your Facebook followers.

 

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How Pharmtec Corporation prepares for the holiday season

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Pharmtec Corporation is an Ohio-based company who, designs, manufactures and markets a variety of items including My Very Own House®.

My Very Own House is a line of playhouse items that are made from bio-degradable, eco-friendly materials (including recycled content) that are formaldehyde-free and completely recyclable.

All of their playhouse cardboard is sourced, manufactured and assembled in the United States.

 

What are some things you do to prepare your business for the holiday season?

 

1.We work with partners on promotions, to make sure it is as level a playing field as possible.

2. We review channel strategies to avoid issues.

3. We take our best shot at forecasting and plan accordingly with our suppliers / assemblers.

4. Make sure finances are in order.

5. Get flu shots to be prepared health wise for the busy season!

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 1.54.15 PMWhat else have you learned from running a business over the past 16 years?

 

It consumes the majority of your time and brain power, but the rewards of making a difference are great. You need to be able to make good decisions quickly to deal with the many unknowns and unexpected issues that arise. Have an exit plan.

 

 

How do you prepare for the holidays? Comment below or send your story to sellers@educents.com!

 


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What types of promotions should I offer customers during the holidays?

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We highly encourage all sellers to have special offers, store sales, and free shipping during Q4 (October, November, and December).  If you can only offer special prices and free shipping once a year, this is the time to do it.

During Q4, we see traffic spike to its highest point during the year. Our website’s page views and sales increase dramatically.

In order to take advantage of the exponential customers coming to Educents during this timeframe, it’s in your best favor to offer your lowest prices and free shipping if possible.

 

Why should I offer free shipping?

Customers are expecting free shipping over the holidays. Majority of sellers offer free shipping at this time, so you will want to be competitive.  According to Ecwid, 71% of customers are looking for free shipping during the holidays. If you’re not offering free shipping, you could be losing out on 71 per every 100 potential customers coming to your store.

Fast shipping is also important around this time of year. To provide the best customer experience, make sure you are shipping orders as soon as possible and adding tracking numbers to your Educents dashboard. The customer is notified by email that their order has been shipped after you input the tracking number and mark the item as shipped, so it’s best to do this immediately after shipping the order to alleviate customer anxiety.

 

Why should I offer discounted prices?

Low prices and sales are expected this time of year.  Majority of sellers will be putting their items on sale during these months. To increase the likelihood of purchase, we recommend putting your store on sale or specific items on sale. In addition, make sure you select four items to be “featured” at the top of your store. These are the products our merchandising team will be looking at most during our marketing efforts.

While including both free shipping and special discounted pricing for the holidays will benefit you most on Educents, we understand that not everyone can offer both due to their margins. According to RJMetrics analysis, if you have to choose between free shipping and discounted prices, offer free shipping.  Even if it’s the same value, “Free” shipping will appear better than the lower price.

Other promotional options

If you absolutely cannot offer free shipping or discounted prices, there are some other ways to get involved with sales promotions during the best shopping time of the year.

 

Bundle Sale

Bundle two of your items and discount the price for customers who are buying both. This can help increase your margins and ensure that customers are buying two of your items to receive a discount.  You can set this up by creating 1 product from your Educents Dashboard and describing the product as a “holiday bundle”. Make sure to add two or more of your products in the images, title, and descriptions.

Note: This will show in your Orders as 1 order/1 sku, however you are shipping a bundle of items.

BONUS: Make this “holiday bundle” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

Buy-One-Get-One Free (BOGO)

We’ve seen “BOGO” specials do well in the past. You can set this up similar to a bundle. However, in this promotion you will want to use “BOGO” in the title and show the customers they are getting two of the same product in your product images and description.

Note: This will show in your Orders as 1 order/1 sku, however you are shipping two of the same item.

BONUS: Make this “BOGO holiday deal” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

 

Free Gift

If you’re offering a physical item that’s shipped to the customer, you can try including a free gift with the customer’s purchase. Maybe it’s a free t-shirt from your company, a letter from Santa, or something that goes well with your brand. Get creative! Whatever it is, make sure it’s high quality and encourages customers to remember you. Also make sure to advertise this in your product description, title, and product images.

Note: The free gift will not show up as an Order on your dashboard. You will need to include the item as part of every Order you send.

BONUS: Make this “Free Holiday Gift” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

 

Bottom line is we’ll be rewarding products with the best offers by giving them more exposure during our holiday promotions. You can increase your likelihood for exposure by offering free shipping and running a store sale.  We’ll also look out for items with keywords like BOGO, free gift, bundle sales, etc. to find items that offer unique or exclusive promotions for Educents customers.

 


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What we’re planning for 2017’s Black Friday and the Holidays

black friday and the holidays

 

PREPARING FOR BLACK FRIDAY AND THE HOLIDAYS

It’s that time of the year again… get ready for Educents’ highest sales days on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We notice that sales begin picking up in October and last through the holidays.

This year, we’ll be advertising all the sales our sellers are offering through out the holidays. To sweeten the deal, Educents will offer customers an additional 10% off promotional code throughout the holidays. The 10% off code will not affect your revenue at all. We’ll be covering this 10% off cost.  In return, we encourage all sellers to put their stores on sale and offer free shipping.

We already have news that some sellers will be offering up to 70% off their items, so we’ll be communicating to customers that they can receive up to 70% off items and that everything is on sale. Sellers with the most attractive promotions will be highlighted through out Educents and our promotional channels.

 

DATES TO REMEMBER

Friday, November 24th – Black Friday

Monday, November 27th – Cyber Monday

Monday, December 11th – Green Monday (historically, this is another spike in traffic and revenue across eCommerce platforms)

 

In the past, these dates have been the highest online shopping days for Educents and other eCommerce sites, so we expect to have 4x the amount of traffic on Black Friday than normal daysWe recommend having lower prices and free shipping November 1st – December 15th, but especially on the above dates. If you cannot have offer special discounts the entire time, we recommend setting up some short term flash sales for 1-2 weeks during the holidays or check out some other ways to offer holidays promotions.

Again, stores with lower prices and free shipping will be the most visible to customers coming to the site.

 

PRIOR TO NOVEMBER

Customers begin shopping for holiday gifts within the next few weeks, so this is a great time to optimize your products and store. We’ve created a basic checklist of things you can do to increase the likelihood that a user will make a purchase if landing on your products.

 

Update your product photos

Make sure you have high quality images to show off your products. These images should communicate the value of the product.  We recommend having at least 3 photos to show different angles of your product and how it’s used. BONUS: Add a “holiday” friendly theme.  Show your product under a tree or next to holiday wrapping paper to make it stand out.

 

Optimize product descriptions

We recommend taking a look at your products from a customer’s point of view. Read your product descriptions and make sure they make sense. Does it communicate the age it’s for? Does it explain the value they will receive? Does it show everything that’s included? Is it clear and easy to read?

 

Make sure you are using categories and tags

For each product, you can categorize by subject, product type, grade level, etc. You can also create up to five custom “tags”. Tags are keywords that explain your product. Make sure you’ve selected categories for your products and have used all five tags. Categories and tags will help you show up in search and will make it easier for our merchandising team to find your products if they are putting together special pages like gift guides.

BONUS: Add holiday and seasonal keywords to boost your product in searches for customers looking for holiday gifts. Start this process asap. It can take a few weeks for search to recognize your keywords, so it’s important to begin adding any of your holiday keywords now.

 

Preview your product on a mobile device

52% of customers will use their phone during the shopping process. To ensure you’re prepared for mobile users, preview your products on a smartphone and tablet. Do your products descriptions and images look clear? Is it easy to read from a smaller device?

 

Add previews for digital products

If you sell a digital product, you have the option of adding a sample of your product. For example, if you sell a downloadable curriculum, you can include a sample chapter for potential customers see to help them determine whether they want to purchase your item. Including a great preview of your item increases conversion.

 

Feature four products at the top of your store

Next to each product you have the ability to mark “feature” for up to four products. If you have a large catalog, make sure to select “feature” for your best selling or discounted holiday items. This will let us know which items are your best sellers and it will push them to the top of your store.

 

Make sure your inventory is ready

Plan ahead for higher order volume. If you are worried about selling out or have limited quantities, let us know and we will make sure to setup an inventory limit so that you don’t over-sell any items.

 

Figure out your holiday shipping deadlines and let us know

Timeliness is crucial this time of year. Families are expecting to receive orders before the holidays. For this reason, we typically stop promoting physically shipped items on December 15th. If you are 100% confident you can ship past December 15th and arrive to customer’s homes prior to December 24th, let us know.

 

Increase your exposure with sponsored search or sponsored category pages

To guarantee your exposure over the holidays, we’re offering some additional paid opportunities. Take a look at the options here. Sign up quickly as spots are limited!

 

If you have any questions about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays, let us know! We’re here to help you! Email us any time at sellers@educents.com.

 

RELATED POST:

FAQ: How to schedule a store sale and offer free shipping

 

 


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How uKloo Kids prepares for the holiday season

Doreen Dotto

As the holidays get closer, we thought it would be fun to ask a few Educents sellers about how they prepare for the busiest time of the year.

We spoke with Doreen, the President of uKloo Kids Inc. uKloo is an educational game for young readers that takes children on a treasure hunt around the house while teaching them to read. Doreen has been running her company for 6 years.

 

What are some things you do to prepare your business for the holiday season?

 

1. I reach out to bloggers and reviewers to ask if they would be interested in reviewing uKloo games. If they like the games, I ask them if they’d be open to including the games in their holiday toy lists. Gift guides are a great way to get exposure during the holiday season.

2. I usually have some fun illustrations done (Illustrator in the family!) and use them in Facebook posts etc. Creating imagery that’s festive and holiday friendly are a great way to promote items during this time.

3. I reach out to the wonderful staff at Educents to ensure that I can participate in your marketing over the holidays.

4. Since I have a very small business run on a tight budget, I have to pick and choose marketing very carefully. I try to get get as many word of mouth reviews, tweets, and Facebook posts as possible from happy customers to promote my items organically.

 

uKlooWhat else have you learned from running a business over the past 6 years?

Running a business as an independent can be very difficult and it can be very rewarding. For me uKloo is a labor of love. Every time I hear that a child has discovered the joy of reading through uKloo games, my heart soars and I know that all the ups and downs have been worth it!

 

 

 

How do you prepare for the holidays? Comment below or send your story to sellers@educents.com!

 


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