There’s often a grim realization in January that sales are down, and the highs of the holiday season seem like a distant memory. In this article I want to look at a few ways in which you can keep driving sales after holidays have come and gone.
Your business really can be busy all year round – it doesn’t just have to be busy during the holidays. Here are my top tips to help you ensure the sales keep coming after the peak season passes, and your business continues to grow from strength to strength.
Clear old inventory
There’s no better time to reassess your inventory than after the holidays. Take a good look through your stockroom, or warehouse, or wherever you store your stock. Have a look in every box and get a good feel for what you’ve got laying around.
No matter how well you plan for the holidays, you’ll always have some lines left over that didn’t sell – January is the perfect time to reduce the prices on those lines so you can convert them back into cash ASAP.
When we find a line that has no future with us, we cut the price and sell it cheap just to make room. You should do the same. Keeping hold of old inventory only hurts your future growth potential – so sell it cheap and move on!
Run special offers
January is a great month to run special offers in order to entice people to make purchases they might not otherwise make. Offers like “buy one get one free” and “save 20% when you spend X amount” are a great way to keep driving sales.
For a lot of businesses, January is the quietest month of the year. If that’s the case for your business, it’s time to get creative in order to run special offers that draw in more sales.
Sure, you may have to sacrifice some of your margins in order to run special offers and deals, but making something is better than making nothing – especially in one of the quieter months of the year.
Stock exciting new lines
Nothing will get your customers excited quite like adding some brilliant new product lines to your inventory. We always make an effort to bring in one or two new brands during January – it gives us something to shout about, and it gives our customers a reason to return to our websites.
If there’s nothing new and exciting for you to stock from existing suppliers, why not look into sourcing from new companies? If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could even look at developing your own branded products.
Make a commitment to marketing
When sales are down, the worst possible move you can make is to reduce your spend on marketing. The great news is that because average costs per click across PPC networks tend to reduce in Q1, you’ll get more for your money. That doesn’t mean you can just leave your campaigns to trundle along aimlessly, in order to get the best results you should test and refine them.
If you only focus on one type of marketing (search, for example) then the New Year is the perfect time to explore new methods such as display retargeting, advertising in magazines and newspapers, and even sending gifts for bloggers to review. If you pull your marketing budget because sales figures aren’t looking great, you could kill your business altogether.
Engage your email list
Even in 2015 (or 2016, as it’s soon to be!), email marketing is possible the most effective way to advertise your online business. With that in mind, the time is now to engage your email list. On a personal note, I see a huge response to email newsletters, and I always encourage other business owners to look after their email list carefully, in order to create a great relationship with subscribers that’s mutually beneficial.
Engaging your list isn’t difficult – perhaps the easiest way is to send relevant special offers. You can also send links to interesting articles and blog posts that your readers will find useful. Engaging a list isn’t the easiest thing to do – if you get it wrong, people will unsubscribe – but if you get it right, there are lots of sales to be made. Never underestimate the value and importance of your email list. The New Year is a great time to really focus on improving the proportion of your turnover that comes as a result of newsletters.
Increase average spend
Sometimes you don’t need to find more customers in order to make more money. Perhaps the easiest way to increase turnover is to take more money from those people that already shop on your website. Increasing average spend can be done in a number of ways, including cross-selling and upselling the other products in your inventory to customers while on your site.
You can also use incentives like “spend $20 and get free shipping”, or “free gift when you spend $10” in order to bump up the average order value on your website. While trying to entice new customers to your website is always a good plan, making as much money as possible from those customers is also a smart idea – giving you the best possible ROI.
Every business is different, and for some businesses driving sales after holiday season isn’t the top focus. It is a great time for you as the business owner to take a rest after the chaos – and it’s a great time to give your staff a rest too.
That being said, the goal for every business is to thrive and grow. By following my tips above you can ensure that your business doesn’t stand still, even during those quiet months.