Mike Grillo
June 23, 2022

Three Tips to Prepare Your Business for the Holidays 2022

Ask any founder and they will tell you the earlier you plan for the Q4 season, the better. Co-Founder at Gravity Products and Investor at Ampla, Mike Grillo, discusses his three best tips to planning for this year's holiday season.

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Preparing for the Holiday Season

While the holiday season may be many months away, any founder will tell you it’s never too early to begin planning. But preparing for a successful 2022 season already looks vastly different than years prior. Brands are facing a host of new challenges that will make having a productive Q4 difficult; from increased prices on raw materials to unpredictable and expensive transit both internationally and domestically, landing your goods on time and in budget for Q4 will be like threading a needle. 

The good news is there are steps you can take right now to get ahead of these challenges and close out the year on a strong note. Here are our top three tips to prepare for an easier Q4 2022.

Invest in First-Party Data Collection

As you’ve likely heard, there are fundamental challenges brands are facing across digital paid media with the data privacy changes implemented by Apple. With this in mind, it’s worth discussing what steps your brand can take to overcome these obstacles. 

The most impactful strategy you can employ to keep your marketing costs in line for the holiday season is to start building and expanding your CRM today. Use this data to inform your holiday marketing campaigns and offer products and discounts to your most loyal customers. SMS and email campaigns have some of the highest conversion rates among most forms of digital marketing channels and the cost to send messages via these channels is a fraction of what you would pay to run a Facebook or Instagram campaign at the same scale.

There are a variety of tactics you can employ to build your lists: 

  • Promotional codes in exchange for email or SMS capture. You can use an email service provider (ESP) like Klaviyo to create these modules for email, and leading SMS providers like Attentive to do the same for text. These modules are typically deployed when a customer lands on your site, and they can be incentivized with nominal discounts (5-10%) that are well worth it in exchange for valuable first-party data. 
  • Giveaways and Sweepstakes. This is a common tactic brands may use leading up to a big campaign like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Simply prompt your social media followers to provide their email or phone number in exchange for a chance to win a free product. 
  • Pro-tip. Teaming up with another brand can help further entice your applicants and expand the reach of your sweeps. Use something as simple as Google forms or a more sophisticated platform like DojoMojo for a simple survey experience. 

Staying Ahead of Inventory Needs

Placing your Q4 orders as soon as possible will put your business in a better position to take on the holiday season. Standard lead times on production runs are the longest they’ve ever been since 1987. Anecdotally, having placed many large purchase orders over the last several years, products that used to take around 3 to 4 months to produce and land are now taking closer to 6 months.  A recent Reuters article shows that in addition to production delays due to shutdowns in China, port congestion is expected to persist through at least Q1 2023, particularly the SoCal ports. 

Instead of waiting on operating cash flow from customer invoices or relying on traditional funding methods to finance your POs, there are a variety of fast, non-dilutive financing options you can pursue. Ampla is a leading provider of flexible credit solutions that enables you to apply and receive financing in under 48 hours. 

Inventory spend will likely be your largest use of cash when preparing for Q4 and having a working capital solution capable of providing you with fast access to funds to get you through the season and beyond is crucial.

Get Creative to Battle Rising Costs

When macroeconomic conditions are as complicated and volatile as what we’re seeing, one must get creative to maintain efficiency. Global inflationary pressures are driving up the cost of materials and transportation across every phase of the supply chain - international, domestic, and last mile.

A strong cash position can help you exert more purchasing power with your manufacturers and transportation partners, and may help offset some of these rising costs. Specifically, there are a variety of tactics you can employ to drive cost efficiency at the manufacturing and logistics level: 

  • Larger upfront deposits. If you’re in a strong cash position - especially if you have a flexible working capital solution - consider upping your standard deposit by 10 or 15%. This may give you leverage with your manufacturing partner to negotiate down the cost of goods slightly or get more favorable payment terms to pay off the balance. 
  • Pursue volume-based discounts. This one may seem obvious but considering how unpredictable supply chain constraints are, it may be advantageous to order slightly more than you typically would and take advantage of volume discounts. This also may help you save on transportation, by; 
  • Booking and filling full containers, rather than shipping LCL (less than container load) or booking a 20 foot-container. In general, LCL shipments are more expensive on a per-unit basis as they take freight agents more time to coordinate. Additionally, LCL shipments generally are more prone to delays, as there are multiple processing, sorting documents, and protocols per container to accommodate the various importers sharing containers. 

Key Takeaways

Many founders are aware that Q4 2022 will be like no other. With many gray areas and rising costs, preparing early in advance can help you stay ahead of your competition. Tackle these three main areas to come out the other side successful:

  1. Invest in first-party data
  2. Stay ahead of your inventory needs
  3. Get creative to battle rising costs 

If you need a working capital solution to help you plan your Q4 season, contact Ampla and fill out your 5-minute application today. 

Mike Grillo
Mike Grillo
VP, Marketing

Michael (Mike) Grillo is an advertising and marketing industry veteran who currently serves as VP of Marketing at Ampla. Prior to Ampla, Mike was the Head of Consumer Products and Retail at Calm, the #1 App for Meditation and Sleep and co-founder and CEO of Gravity Products, home to the world-famous Gravity Blanket. Under Mike's leadership, Gravity was named one of Time Magazine's Best Inventions (2018) and Entrepreneur Magazine's 100 Brilliant Companies. The brand was ultimately acquired by WIN Brands Group in 2021. Mike is an angel investor and advisor to several NYC-based start-ups, including Ampla Technologies.