Have your sales hit a dry patch? This is normally the case during this time of year when shoppers have exhausted their holiday-through-Valentine’s-Day gift funds. Many are already focusing their budgets on vacations and planning family trips with the kids. Most are not planning on any type of gift spending or personal indulgences. Which brings us to an important topic — what can you, as a retailer, do to drive sales during this commonly low-sales period? Here are five suggestions to help.
Use this slow period wisely.
Spend a portion of your time now to streamline your ordering processes. Often, ordering products can include several people, numerous approvals, and a lot of time. An order received on Monday morning can take up to three or four days to process and ship once it has gone through your current process.
Now is the time to hone in on possible time delays in your ordering process and try ways to speed things up by having a smart system in place.
Tip: Send out a survey to your customers asking for what their ordering frustrations are and their suggestions for improvement.
Arm your customers with what they need to succeed.
When sales are down, across the board, everyone suffers. One of the best ways to grow your own sales is to identify reasons why consumers would need to purchase your products and then put together a targeted sales and marketing plan to address those concerns.
Arming your own customers with valuable information and solving their problems can help them make purchases now that they normally would wait on. Additionally, feeding this problem-solving information to consumers via strategic social and email content can pull purchasers toward your products.
Tip: Try pull versus push marketing. Instead of using all your resources to push your marketing/sales materials out, it can be more effective to pull consumers toward your products with timely content that educates and solves their concerns.
Content marketing can be a powerful tool.
While they used to be called blogs, they’ve been honed into keen sales tools with strategic content and are now called editorials and online magazines. Guest writers and wellness topics grace these pages that are now SEO-heavy and curated to drive specific responses from readers.
A study by the Halverson Group found that “blog” posts have a lifespan of 700 days. These online written resources can be used to drive sales for years after they’re published and promoted.
Tip: Use the right type of keywords (branded, generic, transactional, etc.) that match your buyers’ journey in content articles in order to increase your Google search rankings and promote link-sharing and re-posting.
Invest in videos.
This is why videos are valuable for your business:
- 73 percent more visitors who watch product videos will buy.
- 71 percent of consumers think video explains products better.
- 58 percent of shoppers think companies with product videos can be trusted.
- Among retailers recently surveyed about business video usage, 81 percent saw an increase in sales and 53 percent said customer service question calls were reduced.
Nowadays, videos can be filmed from your phone, making it easy to create content at a moment’s notice. And, keep in mind, 85 percent of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off so there may not be a need to even speak.
Tip: Be creative with the types of videos that your business offers. There’s no need to stick to one type of video format. Consider these options: Vlogs, video interviews, tutorial videos, videos of presentations, product demos, product reviews, video testimonials and video ads.
Use this time to get strategically social.
It seems as though every time you turn around another social platform has appeared. Yes, it can be frustrating to build that Facebook store only to find ads blocked or web traffic not increasing. However, using social platforms to drive sales can still work —if you consider your buyer.
Step 1: Take time to determine who your buyer is.
Step 2: Focus your efforts on the social platform that your buyer uses.
If your buyer is on Pinterest but you’re concentrating on your Instagram feed, then you won’t get the sales return that you’re looking for. For Facebook, their biggest demographic group is between the ages of 25 and 34 — which wouldn’t be effective if you’re looking to connect with menopausal women.
Tip: When thinking of that problem-solving information for your customers, keep their demographics in mind so that your content can be placed on the best social platform.
Overall, there are smart ways to help your customers and increase your sales during the slow months of 2021. Sometimes a cohesive action plan is all that’s needed to make a big difference.
Use the next few months to put effective ordering/shipping systems in place, push resources and pull consumers toward your products, and add valuable content marketing to your arsenal. You’ll be surprised how profitable this slow season can be.
How to Boost Sales During a Retail Slow Period by Sunny Rodgers, PhD., originally appeared in XBIZ