If you have an online business, and especially if you have an online business that is seasonal, you should expect a substantial slump in sales and revenues following the holidays.
Or should you?
It stands to reason that, although consumers won’t be buying like crazy from your website once the holidays pass, there will still be interested parties who will be purchasing your merchandise. The key to enabling those purchases lies in presenting your wares as a good value for the money. To this end, you can use the following strategies:
Offer a gift.
Many consumers are lured into making a purchase if there is a free incentive involved. To encourage such purchases, find an item that complements your current merchandise and offer it as a special bonus. Alternately, turn that bonus item into a secret gift that comes bundled with our merchandise.
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Do the BOGO.
Buy-one-get-one-free promotions work particularly well for moving merchandise that is unpopular but needs to be sold in order to recoup initial costs. The BOGO offer is also often used in place of a bulk discount because BOGOs draw more attention and appear more unique than bulk discounts.
If you offer several different items on your website, consider bundling like items together and offering a special price on those bundles. The advantage of doing this is that consumers will be exposed to products they would not normally consider purchasing. Those bundled items can also include their own up-sells and cross-sells so that consumers will eventually purchase additional items from you.
The drawback with bundling is that you must offer a significant discount for your bundle to be perceived as a good value. However, the loss in item-specific profits can be mitigated by an increase in overall sales volume.
Slash your prices.
This is a more extreme tactic but works especially well if you have slow-moving merchandise and/or would prefer to sacrifice certain items in exchange for higher traffic. Why? Rock-bottom prices are very likely to inspire current website visitors to tell others about your amazing deals.
When slashing prices, make sure that this promotion is for a limited time only. By limiting how much time consumers have to buy your items, you create a sense of urgency, which is imperative for post-holiday online sales. Likewise, you don’t want to keep those slashed prices going forever, so a limited time only deal is a good method for capping your revenue loss.
Ship for free.
If your items aren’t too heavy, you should consider offering free shipping to shoppers. Why? Oftentimes, shipping costs are the biggest barrier to online shopping versus buying the same items in-store.
If you’re worried about shipping costs and how to cover them, you could subtly incorporate those costs into your items. Alternately, you could eat the costs of shipment and view shipping as your product discount.
Purchasing PPC ads on sites like Google is one way to increase your site’s exposure and get more eyeballs on your pages. You can also combine ads with social media posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Within these ads you should prominently highlight your product discount, bundle, etc. and describe it thoroughly in the accompanying social media post. You might even ask current users of your sold products to provide reviews and/or ratings.
Focus on past customers.
Don’t assume that past customers won’t be eager to buy from you again. If you introduce a product bundle, BOGO offer, free shipping, etc., track down your previous consumers and offer them an even better discount than that advertised to regular consumers. Just make sure that you don’t inadvertently start a price war with items that were sold in the past and are now being offered even more cheaply.
Introduce a new product.
Consumers are hard-pressed to buy presents and spend cash just before the holidays, which means they are less discriminating in terms of product novelty and price. After the holidays, consumers are less likely to be interested in what you have to offer…unless what you offer is completely new. In light of this fact, you should always release new products just after the holidays (instead of before).
You can build up to your new product release all through the holidays without making your big announcement until after the festivities die down. This way, you’ll be sure to have your audience’s attention, as well as their pocketbooks.
You don’t have to be a lone wolf when it comes to selling your wares online and garnering interest around your products. Other bloggers, affiliate marketers and website owners can work with you to sell your goods and vice versa. This is useful if you yourself don’t have a new product to offer, for example. Additionally, involving others helps ‘vet’ your products, generating credibility around you and your brand.
Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that your online sales must suffer. Using the tactics outlined above, you can easily generate new excitement around your products and maintain online sales even after the busy shopping season is done. Doing so will help sustain your bottom line until the next big holiday comes along.