The popular saying “what goes up must come down” primarily referred to the effects of gravity on all objects. However, people quickly learned that this phrase is actually a general truth - affecting everything including the ecommerce industry!
The holiday period starts at the end of November with the Thanksgiving weekend and extends all the way to the new year. Retailers witness a spike in shopping activity with Cyber Monday being the highest grossing day.
“Cyber Monday shoppers spent a record $9.4 billion online, up 19.7% from a year ago”
Naturally, the spending spree comes to an end following Christmas and stores feel this huge change during the month of January. Average customers cut down on their expenses and other shoppers start returning their purchases, most of which are gifts, which contributes to a colossal decline in sales and a total logistical mess.
While this phenomenon is the organic result of the holiday shopping spree, it also announces the beginning of the ‘low season’ period. Merchants naturally began developing techniques to keep the holiday shopping momentum going and, more importantly, halt the sales plunge.
U.S. Retail Sales Monthly Change (2017-2019)
The post holiday blues are real!
The good news is that you can use the checklist below containing the 7 best practices to help you slow down your sales decline and get back on track faster!
1. Benefit from the New Year’s Resolutions
The long-standing “new year, new me” mindset is the result of a shift in the consumers’ behavior. People are now focusing on implementing new healthy habits in their lifestyles following the holiday madness. They continuously strive towards changing unwanted behaviors, empowering good practices, accomplishing their goals, and overall improving their lives.
In view of this new trend, consumers are ready to invest in the following categories to kick off the new year in a positive mindset:
- Sports: probably the most common resolution and the spike in gym memberships is the proof! Sports equipment, apparel, and even tech gadgets are definitely in high demand.
- Healthy Diet: exercising and good food go hand in hand; if your business revolves around offering dietary plans, vitamins, or even supplements then this is your time to shine.
- Productivity: after the holiday season, people are planning on regaining their focus and boosting their workflow. That said, they’ll be looking for books, computers, and anything in between!
Try to ride the wave by proposing offers on products that mainly promote health and wellness. Even if you don’t sell them, you can create marketing messages around that theme and position your product as an answer to that need.
2. Start a Clearance Sale
It’s no secret that discounts and price drops are the best shopping incentives out there and, better yet, they are not limited to the holidays. They are an excellent technique to help you recover from the post holiday slump since consumers love discounts - any time of year!
That said, you can start a winter clearance sale because it helps you offload your old inventory while simultaneously boosting your sales.
3. Introduce a New Product
With the new mindset taking place, people become attracted to new products and they are psychologically more likely to buy during this time because they want to introduce fresh habits into their lives.
This is an opportunity to introduce your new arrivals instead of restocking on old items or simply analyzing their latest data.
Make sure you balance out your campaigns between advertising your deals on existing items and introducing the new collection. That way, you can target those seeking a reduced price as well as those in search of the latest releases.
Mobile commerce sales are expected to make up 54% of all ecommerce sales by 2021
4. Optimize The Store’s Mobile Experience
Mcommerce is already making the headlines as the future of ecommerce and the numbers prove this trend. Smartphones have been driving more site visits than any other device for the past couple of years but desktops were always the leaders in terms of conversions.
This is about to change and it already has during the 2019 holiday season in which mobile shopping resulted in almost half of all transactions.
Here’s how you can make the best out of it:
- Optimize your storefront and inside pages to fit mobile phones
- Add beautiful product pictures and easy to access descriptions
- Simplify the cart and payment pages by removing annoying forms
5. Adopt a Multi-Channel Strategy
It’s not rocket science! Selling on different channels has proven to be a successful technique to grow your sales because it creates different opportunities to sell.
Focusing on your online store is definitely a priority but you can attract new customers by selling on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, HiCart, and Souq, or by connecting with other vendors. Think about how you can establish partnerships with other retailers to increase brand awareness and ultimately drive more sales.
Needless to say this tactic is not reserved for the holidays or post-holiday period but it should be applied all year round. Basically, being “vocal” on the internet is the way to go for all businesses who wish to be heard.
6. Apply an Effective Marketing Strategy
Throughout the entire history of ecommerce, big retailers have tried to enhance their marketing funnel to attract visitors and turn them into recurring shoppers.
While there’s not a single strategy that works on all business models, you can apply some (or all!) of the techniques below to ensure maximum benefit.
Online Ads & SEO
Leverage the power of Google ads and social media platforms to promote your products. Make sure you boost your SEO to rank high on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in your respective niche because it’s bound to drive traffic to your website if shoppers are not directly searching for you.
Create intriguing content to engage with your followers: play games, post about your new collection or your winter clearance, provide educational tips, and spread the good new year vibe.
Social media platforms enable you to convey the image and personality of your brand, build a community to retain your customers, and introduce your brand to new clients.
Companies are focusing a lot on emails since it’s somewhat of a personal approach with a high conversion rate. Use the email addresses you’ve gathered during the holiday season and update your customers on your new collection and/or deals.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
It’s fairly common for online shoppers to abandon their carts but this is not necessarily a bad thing. You can convince them to come back and claim what they left behind by adding the right incentives - a small discount will definitely do the trick!
Not all customers can purchase the items that they want whenever they want, especially after the holiday spending spree. They can create their ‘new year’ wishlist and save these products for later purchases.
This can also give you the opportunity to understand your clients more, learn about their shopping habits, and ultimately tailor your offers to their needs.
The more customers purchase from your store, the better their rewards, it’s as easy as that! Create an awesome loyalty program to keep clients loyal to your brand.
It’s only logical to assume that targeting existing shoppers will result in higher conversions than trying to nurture new ones. Use the data you gathered to create personalized ads based on your shoppers’ purchase habits and needs.
“Consumers who visit the brand site are 20 percent more likely to act on a message”
- Jeff Jarrett, VP of global digital marketing, Kimberly-Clark
7. Create Powerful Sales Promotions
Coming up with smart deals is a technique mostly used during shopping occasions such as Black Friday, Christmas, or Valentines' Day. You can apply this technique throughout the year, especially when your business starts suffering from the low season effect.
The ideas below can be used by both online and offline businesses:
Gifts and Giveaways
Don’t hesitate to offer a complimentary item once your customers reach a certain amount. This could increase the average order value especially if you’re giving them a useful gadget like a power bank or a phone case.
A popular sales technique which gives your shoppers a sense of urgency. It pushes them to benefit from those deals since they wouldn’t want to miss out on such low prices.
A good idea to boost your sales is by putting together smart bundles containing complementary items which will make the original product irresistible. Adding protective gear to that bike can surely come in handy!
This tool smartly displays products based on the customer's shopping behavior, past purchase history, most popular or trending products, most viewed products, and other important criteria. Simply put, it drives the customer to buy more.
Don’t underestimate its importance, according to Invespcro, 75% of customers are more likely to buy based on personalized recommendations.
Overcoming the Post-Holiday Slump
By following the techniques mentioned above and using some (if not all) of these ideas, you can tackle the cold month of January. Make sure you don’t disappear completely though as you might get caught up with things like return and inventory control - both results of the holiday season sales spike.
Show your customers that you’re still there and have a lot to offer during the shopping low season.
Ecomz is an award-winning ecommerce platform that allows merchants to create their dream store, manage it like a pro, grow it better and faster. It is the only solution that offers the ultimate shopping experience to customers thanks to an AI recommendation engine, a suite of advanced marketing apps, and innovative multi-channel capabilities.
Ecomz operates in more than 55 countries, serving more than 7,000 merchants and helping them generate over $50M in sales. Named 2018 Top 5 B2B website by Seamless Conference and 2017 Top 10 Business by ArabNet, Ecomz has also been recognized by Google, Disrupt San Francisco (TechCrunch), and MIT Silicon Valley Program for its achievements and has been awarded by the 2018 Touch Innovation Program (TIP) and BLC Bank’s 2018 Brilliant Lebanese Award (BLA).