Combat the Seasonal Slump with Eight Tips for Revenue Generation Online.
January 27, 2022
If you take a deep dive into any statistical data on eCommerce, it is well known that online sales can dive as the days get lighter and the mercury rises. If you sell barbeques, garden furniture, and other classic summer lines, you can make hay while the sun shines. But, most online sellers have to compete with holidays, great weather, and lower sales volumes.
Understanding your retail peaks and troughs is half of the battle. When something is coming, you can plan for it and execute some strategies to help keep the sales coming no matter what time of the year it is.
This is where the fun starts. Here are eight tips you can consider helping prevent seasonal decreases in sales.
Content is King!
You’re reading this, right? Ok, customers love it when you add value. Give them content that they can use. It takes time, and it is not easy, but it is gratifying. People like free things, and sharing knowledge and advice is low cost but high yield; try the following:
Recipes and ideas
Getting the best from your (products/purchases)
Go further than you need to. Treat your customers well, share with them, gift them, educate them and entertain them. They will love it. That love will translate into loyalty and sales.
Give your look a makeover
When the orders are not piling in ten to the dozen, you’ll have some downtime. Why not use this to give your site content a makeover? I think it was Yoda who said, “A change is as good as a rest.” Re-writing your product descriptions and changing your pictures and display content will give your site the spring clean it deserves. Returning customers will engage for longer, and browsing will increase. It’s the reason why your local supermarket has a change around now and again. It keeps people guessing, and didn’t Yoda also say, “familiarity breeds contempt”?
Keeping features, descriptions, and item specifics refreshed and exciting will capture your customers' attention, which will lead to sales. Not to mention giving the descriptions and details a rewrite will go miles to optimising your site too. And Google loves fresh content. Look at your metadata picture descriptions and do some research on keywords.
Downtime is a gift – use it to give your online store and channels a profit-generating makeover.
So, quiet time is coming. You’re watching your metrics take a dive, and you’re tempted to start moaning. Don’t do it! Get your chin up and put some energy into making people happy. How do we do that? I hear you ask. Well, it is easy. People love to win stuff. Have a competition. There are many ways to host a competition; here is a great guide.
Competitions help drive traffic, collect data and generate buzz. One competition that one of our customers ran over a dead period was this:
It was based on a high-ticket item. Any customer who bought these items was entered into a prize draw. At the end of the period, whoever was drawn out of the (metaphorical) hat got their money back. The beauty of this was, rather than put a massive discount on the item, they sold it at full price and sold a lot of them. Everyone buying had the chance of getting their thing for free. Giving one of these items away cost them far less than giving £200 + off each one sold. The competition was promoted well through socials and went viral on competition forums.
You could do something similar – every basket over 'x' value goes into the draw – at the end of the week/month, the customer drawn gets their basket refunded. It is exciting, it’s also generous and when you draw a winner write about it. Tweet it, go mad through the socials. Transparency with competitions breeds goodwill and massive uptake on further promotions.
It’s Sale Time!
Put your prices up! You read that right. When your slow months or weeks are here, mark up your prices. There’s some benefit to this. Firstly, sales will be down due to the season and not for anything that is yours or the fault of your products. So why not make a bit more money on what you do sell?
Now, if, like me, you have stared at the gogglebox in disbelief as to the permanent sales that seem to be on with every furniture retailer and seller of electronics and washing machines. You’re not dreaming; these guys genuinely have deals on all the time, except in their fallow periods.
In their slow periods, their prices go up, and they go up for the reason above. So that when they do have a sale, the price has genuinely been reduced. And it’s fully visible online. The telly was £1500 now it’s £995. It’s £995 for most of the year, by the way, but the sale is genuine.
So, during busy times, create a commercial feeding frenzy by announcing your ‘sale.’ Flash up your site, make those higher prices visible with a lovely big strike-through, and get ready to dispatch those orders.
This is an all-year-round optimisation strategy, so make sure you plan it. Make the discount is clear, the length of time of the sale, items included, etc. And plan it. Put it in your strategy, and make sure your ads and collateral give the deals the promotion that they deserve. Mainly, make sure that your Google shopping feeds are up to date and carrying the markdowns.
Loyalty Card? Kerr Ching!
Suppose you are in the fortunate position of selling commodity goods and have a raft of regular customers, good for you. That is a great position to be in. But that position can be on a knife-edge as the more commodity orientated you are, the more competition you have. So why not reward the loyal customers and set up a points scheme.
As they buy, they get points, and at the end of your designated period, you send them a discount code as a reward for their loyalty. Every supermarket does this, but only major retailers do it online. Think about this – those loyalty/club card points you earn; you can only spend them in the store you earned them in. It’s like corralling your customers but in a good way.
If you do not have the capability within your online store to do this, have a look here, and you’ll find some companies who can help you set up a scheme—no need to thank us.
The Avengers have a Hulk; he’s their secret weapon. We have an Ian. With over 30 years of warehousing experience, Ian will tell you that stock sitting on shelves that isn’t moving is costing you money.
Keep an eye on your sales; when lines dip, clear them out. Look at the numbers, see what works discount wise and make the online shopping world an offer they can’t refuse. Use newsletters, pop-ups, and online ads to promote the clearance but get rid of it. Even if it’s Christmas decks you’ll sell next year – don’t take the risk; they are taking up space, they may not be in trend next year, and you have other things to sell that need room on those shelves’ Get rid! And watch pennies roll in.
To quote the curly-haired, glam rocking warbler from the Black Country, “It’s Christmaaaaaas!”
November arrives with tedious inevitability, and our most brutal American import, Black Friday, is upon us. This is almost like a starting gun for consumers to empty their bank accounts.
As is the trend in the UK currently, it is getting acceptable to put your Christmas decorations up in November. Why stop with an inflatable Santa in the garden? Why not decorate your site too? Adding seasonal touches to your home page, product pages, and product descriptions will go some way into swaying your customers into the festive spirit.
Also, if you have the capability either via a pop-up or newsletter, remind your customers that there’s one payday and about 30 days left until the big day. Highlight your last posting days for guaranteed Christmas delivery and gently and subconsciously let people know that the clock is ticking.
Don’t just do this for Christmas either; there’s Valentine’s Day, there’s Easter, get what you need for that trip away – summertime’s here, Halloween, and before you know it, Black Friday is here again. If you cannot easily make changes to your site, do it through pop-ups and add décor to your product pictures. Create a calendar, get planning, and you’ll be prepared to face everything the year throws at you and drive sales in the vertical trajectory.
Why not Create some collections?
As per the above tip – seasons are not just Christmas. They are all year. Why not make purchasing easier for your customers by grouping products together. Not only will this help with purchasing decisions, but it will push your basket value up.
Not done a collection before? Well, here’s an example. Box of 50 Christmas cards, four rolls of wrapping paper, two rolls of Sellotape, an excellent pair of scissors, and 20 gifts tags. That, ladies and gents, is the Christmas gifting set.
Here’s another – a couple of beach towels, high factor and low factor sun cream, inflatable beach ball, over shoulder beach bag – et voila! the quick beach kit. Also, seasonal kits make great content for your newsletter. Themed newsletters promoting these collections break from the norm and will see excellent engagement.
StoreFeeder gives you the ability to create kits like this and will also effectively manage the stock in those kits. Seasonal collections are a deceptively simple idea that very few people do. Get it right, and it is all upsides.
Any of these tips should help you combat seasonal slumps in orders. They’re easy to do, and if you’re serious about trading online, you need to stand out. We haven’t mentioned customers service, have we? Well, that will be another blog. Use the above to stand out. Find out what works for you, make it habitual, and let us know how you get on.
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