When you were younger, you probably looked forward to the rush and excitement of the holidays just as much as you looked forward to the presents. The curiosity. The anticipation. And yes, even the presents. It was fun while it lasted. But it always seemed to fade away sooner than you expected.
It’s no different in eCommerce. After the holiday sales spike comes the inevitable slump.
You’re not alone. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales make up 19 percent of all annual retail sales with eCommerce being expected to account for as much as 30 percent of that number in 2020. And while you might look forward to taking advantage of other key sales events, there’s nothing quite like the holiday rush.
But can you keep your sales volume high even after the holidays? The answer is a resounding yes.
A New Year: Old Acquaintances, New Customers
Most consumers look at the new year as a time for an entirely new mindset. And it’s no different in eCommerce with one exception: converting casual browsers into loyal customers.
There’s no reason why you should limit sales promotions strictly to the holidays. Many consumers are looking to take advantage of the new year to start fresh with a new health regimen or exercise routine. Maybe they’re hoping to get an early jump on taxes. Or learn a new hobby. There’s virtually no product that can’t benefit from wider exposure during a New Year’s promotion. But keep in mind that most consumers include spending less as part of their resolutions. That doesn’t necessarily mean costlier or more impractical gadgets won’t sell during your promotion. They’re just not likely to see the same sales volume as the holidays.
Ring in the New, Clear Out the Old
It’s a common dilemma. You order a surplus of inventory during the holidays, hoping to meet the seasonal rush. But when it doesn’t? You’re left with an overstock that simply won’t move.
But excess inventory isn’t just difficult to liquidate. It can wind up costing you more than you expect. For Amazon FBA sellers, future storage space can be limited should their Inventory Performance Index (IPI) fall below 500.
Your IPI is calculated in part on your ability to successfully manage your inventory. You can help maintain a successful rating and keep your product line fresh by running clearance sales during the first few months of the new year. Customers can rarely pass by a bargain, even if it wasn’t a holiday bestseller. It may mean less of a profit margin. But it clears the way for new ideas and new merchandise.
A New Year. A New Product Line
Large businesses typically isolate product launches to the holidays when people are spending more. And it’s a strategy that works—for large businesses at least. But what they fail to realize is the average digital consumer looks for new products year-round, not just during the holidays.
If you’re a smaller business, you can’t compete with the marketing budget of a top name brand. But you can keep your name on consumer lips by launching a new product line while they’re hibernating. Customers are already in the mindset of trying something fresh during the new year; and for many of them, that increasingly means shopping with smaller merchants. The holiday season can mean an oversaturation in marketing. By planning your pre-launch to coincide with post-seasonal lulls, you can generate a buzz which elevates your product from a test phase to success.
Retargeting: The New Regifting?
While a new year may mean new customers, it doesn’t pay to neglect old acquaintances. After all, they’ve likely gotten you through previous post-holiday slumps.
There may be a chance new holiday customers can wind up being year-round customers. But there’s a stronger chance casual browsers can be converted to new customers by retargeting them. The average consumer usually takes their time during the holidays by comparison shopping with two or more sites. But nearly three out of five shoppers will notice and click on ads they previously viewed on other sites, with almost a third of them indicating a positive or very positive reaction.
In theory, retargeting works on the premise that a previous customer will be a returning customer. And it can be as simple as notifying your current email list and social media followers of new promotions or as complex as leveraging PPC and external retargeting providers to bounce traffic back to your site. But just like any other form of eCommerce marketing, retargeting requires knowing and understanding your potential audience.
Hibernation is for Bears, Not Business
Digital retail might see the greatest traffic during the holidays. But it never sleeps.
There’s no such thing as downtime in eCommerce. You might be exhausted. But shoppers aren’t. And they don’t want a website that’s only updated during the holidays. They don’t want a silent social media feed. And they certainly don’t want stale inventory. They want fresh content. And if you can’t deliver, they will take their business elsewhere.
Customers want to feel engaged year-round. And they demand innovation just as much as you do. No business can afford to stay dormant, no matter what time of year. That includes your competitors. But there should only be one difference between you.
They’ll be the ones who are sleeping. You should be the one who is singing.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your eCommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.