In many ways, our economy is still trying to find its feet since the last recession. Holiday sales in 2014 weren’t spectacular, which may have discouraged you. However, there are ways to beat the sales slump, whether your 2014 season exceeded expectations or underperformed. Here are the strategies you should implement to give your 2015 sales a kick-start.
Online Trends You Can Take Advantage Of
Some sales hacks are already established as being a good idea year round — and you should take advantage of this new consumer market! These include making your web design responsive (look equally good on any device) and optimizing your mobile presence (giving your mobile site just as many features as the desktop version has). The latter is especially important, as more and more shoppers are shopping on the go. Here are some other ideas to boost your post-December sales:
- Make notes of what ran out sooner than expected, what didn’t sell well, and which discounts paired best with which items.
- Give customers the New Year’s deals they expect, but throw in a surprise: entering them to win a new product before you launch it, donating a percentage of their purchase to charity, or a similar perk.
- Reward customers with discounts for sharing holiday photos of their family using your products.
- Use the list of new customers as an opportunity to start or promote your loyalty program, offering them free points for joining now.
- Highlight those items in your inventory that cater to self-improvement, a big theme every New Year.
- Offer established customers a little bonus in the form of discounted items they may like, based on their recent purchasing patterns.
- Provide exemplary return and exchange services, even though you know you’re as tired as they are. Using a discount or free item to convert returns into exchanges can help brighten everyone’s mood.
Whatever consumers expect from you, do something a little extra or a little different. Let them know that just because the Christmas marketing season is over, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your edge. Remind them why they started shopping with you: because you’re worth their time.
Surprising Offline Promotions that Drive Traffic
You don’t have to rely solely on online hype to keep your business afloat during the dull days of January. Think about ways you can reach your customers offline that will keep them coming back to you.
The first technique is perhaps the most obvious: having a quality product. Sure, you may already have that quality product, but could you improve their durability, function, portability, or other features to make them even more irresistible to your customers? When you have a truly high-caliber item, it becomes one of the quietest, yet most reliable, ways to build brand loyalty.
Another clever way to maintain top-of-mind awareness is to include a physical thank-you coupon in each order you ship. Unpacking a discount along with their original order is enough to convince many shoppers to go ahead and treat themselves. This helps them create something to look forward to after the holidays end.
Above and beyond good products and special markdowns, take some time to see how your customers are doing. Have them share their favorite holiday moments with you. Send of your holiday customers a cheerful snail-mail greeting. People remember small touches of kindness for a long time. This also gives you a great opening to mention a little later how your company is settling back into real life, and how excited you are about the upcoming year. Clients will be more interested in updates about you now that you’ve shown interest in them.
Optimizing Both for Maximum Benefit
As always, there’s no reason that online and offline advertising can’t work together. If you operate locally, you can use your social media to highlight offline events (festivals, scavenger hunts, sports team sponsorships) and reward fans with mentions and discounts when they engage with you offline.
Just because we live in a digital age doesn’t mean print promotions are no longer relevant, or that you shouldn’t keep your brick-and-mortar store looking sharp. Many “showroomers” will come and shop at your physical location if they like what they see online. Showing consumers where they can get the best deals, paired with the stellar in-person service you provide, may win you as many IRL shoppers as online ones.
Holiday cheer doesn’t have to end with the holidays. Continue reaching out to your patrons, both new and old, to let them know you’ll never stop appreciating them. A few gestures of goodwill could be your solution to avoiding the dreaded zone between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.
How have you kept your customers engaged during the dead weeks?
Katherine Halek is the lead advertising and print strategy advisor at Signazon and Easybanners.com, leading online printers that provide marketing collateral for thousands of retailers around the United States. Katherine enjoys writing about storefront advertising, retail management, and the ins and outs of marketing. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.