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Retailers and eCommerce sites always enjoy an uptick in sales during the holiday season. However, every year after the holiday spike, the buying boom comes crashing down.
And it’s not just in your head. According to Gallup, January and February are indeed the slowest months for business out of the year, at least for US consumers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to endure the stress of the post-holiday spending slump. While it would be difficult to continue the sales trend of December all-year round, there are ways to avoid crashing and burning in January. Follow these steps and practices to keep your business afloat after the holidays without losing your senses.
1. Refocus your marketing efforts.
Do in the New Year what you did for Christmas—capitalize on the season and re-message your marketing efforts. Take advantage of resolutions. People long for change around this time, so focus your messaging on that. This would work wonderfully if you are in a business that deals with health, beauty, and productivity, as these are popular resolutions. Try to market your products around these, including safety, cleanliness, and organization, in order to attract new sales.
Another marketing strategy you can do is to be aggressive right until New Year. After Christmas, people usually have gift certificates and cash that they received as presents for the holidays. Research on this particular market and channel your marketing efforts toward them.
You can also consider marketing automation. Businesses who use automation find that their revenues go up and they keep their customers longer. Plus, it saves you the time and effort to send individual email newsletters every so often.
Additionally, you can redesign your eCommerce site in a way that can increase sales. Pixc gives us a list of20 eCommerce themes that attract customers and boost sales. Try one for the new year.
2. Don’t forget about social media.
Social media is a powerful advertising and marketing channel. Most consumers will be on social media during and after the holidays, posting about vacations, awesome presents, and holiday parties with friends. So, don’t forget to make social media a priority in your marketing strategy if you want to get over the post-holiday revenue blues.
Share your offers, discounts, and post-holiday specials through every channel that matters. Your audience will be tuned in, eager to find a great bargain. Consumers are going to be cashing in on the gift certificates they’ve received. They will be looking for all sorts of ways to spend the cash they were gifted for the holidays.
You might want to run a social media contest to keep consumers engaged and tuned in to your channels. You can ask them to submit holiday-themed photographs, where they showcase a particular product. Make the rules of the contest clear, so you won’t end up disappointing prospects. Aside from that, you need to inform audiences about the duration of the contest, prizes, and the number of winners.
Make sure to optimize your content for maximum effect. You can check out these social tips to boost online sales.
3. Sell new products.
This is a great way to stay ahead of the competition after the holiday spike. At this particular time, most businesses would lie low to conduct inventory, organize their books, and settle down after the holiday rush. But to sustain sales, you have to come up with a different approach. One way is to release new products. The New Year is an ideal time for that.
On the 1st of January, everyone’s going to be determined to start afresh. Consumers are going to embrace a new mindset, new resolutions, and new everything. You’ve got to take advantage of that if you intend to keep sales high.
If you want to launch new products after the holidays, you’ve got to plan ahead, way before the holiday season kicks in. There’s no time to prepare a product launch during the holidays, and it will be impossible given the amount of traffic that comes in at that time of year.
Just plan ahead, and you won’t have to juggle several problems at once.
4. Offer New Year promos.
Have a post-holiday sale or promo to attract more customers. Discounts draw people in, so go ahead and continue the sale in January. Some ideas for promos include winter clearance, loyalty programs, bulk discounts, and freebies.
Since the holidays are over, you’ve got to clear out your winter closet to accommodate new stocks for spring. The best way to do that is through a clearance sale. People know that the best time to get a good bargain on winter wardrobe is after the holidays, so you better deliver what they are hoping for. If not, someone else will. To further encourage consumers to make a purchase, you can opt to throw in free gifts. Everyone loves freebies.
Consumers love buying in bulk especially during clearance sales because prices are so low. However, high shipping rates often prevent them from making a bulk purchase. You can offer free shipping for orders that go above a certain amount.
During and after the holidays, you are most likely going to see first-time buyers. You can keep them coming back for more by inviting them into a loyalty program. Offer incentives and perks to motivate them to become a member.
Just remember, even if profits are lower because of all the discounts, it’s still better than having zero revenue from zero sales, and a static inventory. You don’t want your stocks to collect dust in the warehouse just because you’re exhausted from having sales and promotions.
5. Capture consumer data during the holiday season.
In December, your online website sees an increase in traffic from customers looking to purchase goods from your business. You can take advantage of that holiday spike to build your email list. Get your customers’ email addresses or contact information, so you can use them in the next few months for your marketing endeavors.
An effective way of driving sales is to continue customer engagement, especially at this time of the year. Don’t go into hibernation mode just because the holidays are over. You can add first-time buyers to your email list and keep them up to date about your promotions and offers when the holidays are long over. You can notify them about new product launches, special discounts, and free shipping promos.
This is also an excellent opportunity for you to make personalized offers based on your customers’ past purchase history. You can recommend products that they might like or products that they once abandoned in their cart. If your consumers received cash over the holidays, then they will have the means to purchase the items they abandoned.
You will have an edge over other businesses if your customers have you at the top of their minds, so be sure to keep in touch with them. If they need to buy something (perhaps birthday or wedding gifts), you would be the first thing they would think of. The key is to remind your customers that you’re always there to answer their shopping needs.
6. Go offline.
Scan your community for post-holiday events, where you can set up a stall and sell your wares offline. A lot of businesses will take advantage of such post-holiday gatherings, so you most likely will have trouble securing a spot if you didn’t plan ahead.
If you’ve got excess winter inventory, pop-up shops are the perfect opportunity to clear out your closet. You will be able to get new customers, open up another marketing channel, and increase your sales.
Not only will you draw in new customers, but you can also take advantage of being “limited,” sending the message, “Come buy from us now before we leave!” The psychology of scarcity establishes a sense of urgency and drives increased interest in products that are only limited in number and are available for a particular amount of time. When you’ve got a few items left, be sure to let your audience know.
Another trick is to bundle fast-moving products together with slow-moving items. One product’s popularity can help move other items that aren’t performing really well. The combination of products gives consumers the perception that they are getting more for what they are paying for.
Remember that you don’t have to cease all your online efforts. Social media is always an easier and quicker way to spread the word about your offers. Plus, you can use it to update customers and prospects about your inventory levels.
7. Offer free shipping.
Make it easier for consumers to decide to purchase products online instead of a nearby store. Free shipping is one thing you can offer that most shoppers can’t refuse.
Nothing perks up customers quite like the word “free.” Studies show that about half of all online orders have free shipping, and because of that, consumers spend more if you include it in the package.
To determine if free shipping is a possible option for your business, take a look at your average order value. It has to be high enough so that you can offset the extra shipping fees. This way, you can guarantee that your efforts will be profitable. You might want to offer free shipping for certain product types, especially if you have a small average order value but have a few pricey items. You can also opt to offer free shipping exclusively to members of your loyalty program. This will further encourage returning customers to sign up and become a member.
Just make sure that audiences are aware that your company offers free shipping. You can make your message clear from your homepage. You can also inform visitors about the offer and how they can qualify for it when they add an item to their cart, where a message pops up to remind consumers that shipping can be free if their purchases go above a certain amount.
These seven tips will help you avoid the post-holiday slump, but remember that these should be a part of your long-term strategy. These tactics will not work as well if you did not plan and prepare for these in the past year.
Marketing involves reaching out to consumers all year round, and the months of January and February are not different. To maximize these months, consider boosting your multi-channel approach in your marketing around this time. To see how successful effective marketing strategies are, read about these eCommerce stores that were able to effectively communicate their stories.
Lindsey Carnett, CEO and President of Marketing Maven, also offers advice on how to sustain your sales both before and after the holiday rush. You can check out her post on Forbes to read more about other small but effective strategies on keeping sales up in the New Year.
In order to have effective marketing and sales strategies, you need to have a comprehensive plan on streamlining all your efforts after the holidays. Executing these strategies smoothly would most definitely drive sales up for you in the first few months of the year, but only if you’ve spent enough time and resources beforehand to prepare.
Author Bio:Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and business intelligence software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.