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For retailers, the most wonderful time of the year is also one of the busiest. To ensure your business is making the most of this peak holiday season, there are a few steps you can take to prepare ahead of time.

Here are some eBay tips to help you optimize your business this holiday season.

1. Engage on Social Media

In search of inspiration, consumers often start their purchasing journey on social media before visiting specific online stores to make a purchase. To meet them where they are, share your holiday listings on Facebook, Whatsapp and Messenger. Don’t forget to explain which audience your inventory might attract, any unique qualities of the item and any promotions you are offering.

Document and post your preparations in order to get customers excited for the holidays. Customize your own hashtag and use it to brand all posts leading up to the holidays to attract more customers, e.g. #holidayinspirationwithjulie.

2. Reward Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers want to know they’re appreciated, so consider personalizing your marketing campaigns. By sharing customized messages, offers and discounts to frequent customers, you’ll set yourself up for success all season long. Special promotions and email deals will keep your customers coming back for more.

If you sell on eBay, consider buying a pack of branded eBay Thank You Cards. Thank you notes help to personalize a gift and let your customers know you appreciate them. A little thought goes a long way!

3. Show Why Shopping Small is Beneficial

Highlight the unique benefits of shopping small, like strengthening communities, creating jobs and supporting local talent. Make your appeal personal by telling your unique small business story on social media and in your listings. Buyers care — especially today’s generation — and they want to know where their money is going. By driving personal connections with your customers, you have personal champions who believe in you and your success.

Play into the fact you’re local by hosting a holiday event that brings the right partners, customers and neighbors together to celebrate. By creating a memorable experience for them, people will feel excited about your brand and want to be a part of it.

4. Offer Expedited Shipping

Last-minute shoppers will look for ways to get their hands on gifts as quickly as possible. Offering free and fast shipping can be your competitive edge over sellers who don’t offer this benefit to buyers.

5. Give Back

Now more than ever, consumers are gravitating toward businesses making a positive difference in the lives of others. Offer to donate a portion of holiday proceeds to a local charity — and tell your buyers about it! Not only are they helping support a small business, but they are also supporting an important cause with their purchase.

If you haven’t yet, learn more about eBay for Charity and how it enables you to buy and sell on eBay in support of your favorite nonprofit organizations.  For every percentage you donate to charity when you sell, eBay will reduce the same percentage from your fee. It’s a win-win!

6. Leverage Small Business Saturday Resources

As one of the busiest days of the year for small businesses, Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to be front and center amidst the competition. While mass retailers may promote their low prices and convenience, small businesses offer a compelling story behind what they are selling, making the purchase that much more meaningful and tempting.

7. Plan Ahead

After the business of the holidays dies down, consumers will continue to search the web in their downtime. Buyers still want great deals well into the new year. That’s why it’s important to reflect on your performance, brand strategy and overall business goals following the holiday season and into the new year.

This season and every season, marketplaces like eBay can help small business owners like you compete and access a global community of buyers.

woman online shopping for holidays