We all know that from Black Friday to New Years merchants offer excellent deals that have customers shopping like mad for their loved ones (and perhaps for themselves). However, as soon as the holiday season ends, the sales are bound to take a nosedive.
Just like 2017 holiday-season proved as a record-breaker in e-commerce sales, the 2018 holiday-season had strong online sales growth across channels.
Let’s have a look at the data provided by eMarketer, where it shows how U.S. online businesses performed in November and December, particularly from 2015 to 2018.
Source: Data via eMarketer
The 2018 holiday season featured 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with Cyber Monday being the key performer of all the biggest online shopping days. Also, a study conducted by Shopify revealed that ‘December is expected to outperform November with a projected sales of approximately $7 billion.’
These numbers are great, but what happens after online merchants achieve the massive spike in their e-commerce sales? Generally each year, with the fading holiday sparkle, consumers try to recover from holiday spending and work to clear their debts. Moreover, people may start returning things purchased in excessive amounts before Christmas which leads to jamming the merchant with loads of return requests. A decline in sales is often observed as customers start cutting back on their spending.
From a merchant’s perspective, soon after the New Year, they get busy calculating the profits and losses from the generated sales. And, often tend to neglect follow-ups with their customers as soon as the holiday season ends. Factors like these trigger a steep decline in January eCommerce sales.
Took a look at the sales chart from Gallop below for the first quarter after the holiday season.
As you can see below, soon after the euphoria of the end-of-year shopping in 2015, 2016 and 2017, there is a deep dive in the number of eCommerce sales during the first quarter for the average U.S. consumer online retail market performance.
Some savvy shoppers may take advantage of the January sales, yet most of the online businesses are going to lose a considerable amount of sales during this month.
It Crucial to Strive For a Lucrative Post-holiday Sales Period
Your strategy for the upcoming months needs a proactive approach. Though you have spent a lot in the holiday season to market your business, you can increase your profit by making one more push to capitalize on the post-holiday sales.
According to consumer behavior, the peak buying time is going to be either right before Christmas or after Christmas. Thus, for a company which focuses on a profit-making January, this is an exciting proposal.
Furthermore, a study shows that the Black Friday sales aren’t as lucrative as the base figures show. With a 50% higher return rate for purchases and traffic rising soon after Christmas, the time is ripe to get quality conversions during the first half of January.
While there is no magic wand to put a halt on the post-holiday sales slump completely, ecommerce businesses need to devise some smart ways to beat the seasonal slow down.
Here Are 11 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Post-Holiday Sales Slump
1. Harness the Power of Marketing Automation
Tracking ongoing customer journeys, via marketing automation can help you keep your post-holiday sales rolling.
By creating action-triggered ‘personalized’ customer journeys you can stay in touch with customers. For instance, in an automated set-up, once a customer gets a personalized email, a follow-up email can be sent which may be the product recommendations based on past spending habits.
This approach fits the customer’s psychology/needs/wants and gives them a tailor-made feel which can increase the chances of a sale.
2. Use Tactics to Encourage Impulse Purchases
According to a study, 72% of Americans made unplanned purchases in the last three months, and 91% of millennials were impulse buyers.
Source: Data via Creditcards
Creating a powerful strategy to stimulate impulse buys could be a winning approach for getting through a sales slump. Here are some ideas:
Utilizing mobile technology: Leverage mobile tools to increase impulse purchases. Put every effort into making your store streamlined and optimized for mobile devices.
Using social media: Make use of social media tools to reach your fans by targeting specific audiences with news about items and with promotional offers. We know millions are browsing through their mobile devices on social channels often, so focus on your audiences with campaigns and increase your chances of conversions.
Attractive web design: Grab the shopper’s attention, and make sure UX is simple for users. They are affected by both positively and negatively from website design. An appealing website design and site structure can encourage customers to make an instant purchase.
Offer conditional free shipping: Calculate the average order value of the customer and set the free shipping threshold approximately between $5 and $20 above the average.
Suggestive selling: Just before checkout, influence your shoppers by suggesting products in a specific price range or by a related product/category.
Time-limited Promotions: Combine incentives with the urgency of a limited-time promotion is a great recipe for impulse buying.
3. Target your mobile audience: As per Statista, 63% of total e-commerce happened via mobile in 2018 and is continuously increasing. So, optimizing content for mobile is a viable strategy to reach your target audience.
Make sure you follow these steps:
Have a responsive online storefront and display products beautifully across mobile devices. Take steps to check for the speed of your website on mobiles.
Analyze the specific times your visitors are coming from mobile devices and start bidding higher during these times.
Make the forms and checkouts simple for the visitors. Do not require unnecessary fields for customers as it can easily annoy them.
4. Deploying a Multi-channel Approach
Instead of relying on merely two or three channels, reaching your target personas through multiple channels would be a wise decision when aiming to tackle a sales slump. You can deploy different platforms like PPC, social media platforms, email, social ads, influencers, etc.
Consumers today, constantly check their push notifications, apps, and emails, thus a multichannel approach gives you a chance to stay in touch with your audience and encourage them to browse your e-store.
5. Social Media and Social Listening
Before running a fresh ads campaign for reaching your target audience, don’t forget to utilize social listening. Monitor the sales graphs from the holiday season and see which social media channels were effective in bringing the sales.
Learning from past mistakes and spending a little more on more effective ad campaigns can definitely help you drive January leads and help boost your brand favorability.
6. Partner Your Customers’ Resolutions
The New Year brings new resolutions to the masses!
Encourage people to kick-start their New Year with a brand new look, healthy body, fitness goals, etc. Tap into your audience’s self-improvement mindset and grab the sales.
Planning festive marketing ideas can help you reach your audience in a fresh way.
7. Commence Another Sale
Though you offered all promos, discounts, coupons, free shipping, etc. already, get ready to do it all over again. It is not necessary to provide the same level of sales as you did in the holiday season, but you can plan some innovative strategies like:
Start a winter season clearance sale.
Engage your audience in Valentine’s promotions and events.
Give your customers offers like ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’. Getting two things for one amount entices customers.
Offer some freebies in the sale.
Give some bulk buy discounts to the audience. Offer free shipping options with the thresholds for a minimum purchase.
Invite the customers to a loyalty program. Offer incentives or perks to your first-time customers under the loyalty program.
Using these ideas can help you persuade a potential customer to buy a product from you because everyone wants a good deal.
8. Let the Content Flow
Underestimating the importance of emails while you are planning to slow down your sales slump is not a sensible decision. As per a survey conducted by Shopify, 7.6 Billion emails were sent by Klaviyo merchants in this season’s BFCM 2018 which generated 24% of sales.
And, the conversion rates via email during BFCM also recorded as the highest when compared to other modes of marketing.
Email marketing content shows no signs of plateauing as a revenue generator as long as you invest in personalization, segmentation, and creating emails your customers will be interested in. You have to keep them reading.
So, brainstorm with your marketing team for innovative email marketing practices and strategies.
9. Chase the Abandoned Carts
Targeting abandoned carts can help you increase sales, and recovering the abandoned carts after the holidays can help boost your revenue.
Create a killer abandoned cart email campaign and chase those who didn’t complete their checkouts during the holiday season — offer them special discounts and deals. Send your customers creative follow-up emails about a ‘missed opportunity.’ Staying in touch with the customers is an expression that you care for them which can bring them back.
10. Retarget Seasonal Customers
According to the statistics, remarketing can generate 147% higher conversion rates and increase the shopping cart completion by 26%. It also increases the likelihood of visitors converting on your site by 70%. Moreover, the average CTR generated is ten times that of display ads.
Selling to existing customers is easier compared to the efforts required for targeting and acquiring new customers. The most recommended approach for remarketing is deploying remarketing using Facebook Pixel Integration with your e-commerce stores.
11. Launch a New Product
Do not make the mistake of going into hibernation soon after the peak sales time is over, as too many marketers do.
The New Year is a golden opportunity for savvy online sellers to attract new customers by catering to their new product demands. While other marketers get busy re-stocking their inventory, stand out of the crowd by launching a new product in the market. Grab their attention by showcasing the new products in your inventory. Customers are willing to convert for new items.
Assemble your go-to-marketing guide and launch a compelling launch. Offer early bird discounts on upcoming products to give your store a competitive edge.
The Final Thoughts on Post-Holidays Sales Slump
No matter how bleak a month January seems, your sales should not be. These tactics can help you get through the sales decline soon after the holiday spending sprees ends. The best thing to do is to not disappear after the holiday season ends. Focusing on both the new and pre-existing consumers can help you beat a post-holiday sales slump.