Every year, something horrible happens to most ecommerce sites. After the spike in holiday sales — right around the first of January — everything comes spiraling downward. Worse, people start returning things. Returns create a huge logistical mess, especially if you’re responsible for footing all the shipping bills. That huge sales high plummets, leaving you feeling depressed and grappling with sinking revenue.
This is not the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, it’s the most unpleasant time of the year, and one that could leave an ecommerce site reeling for months.
Is there a way to avoid this? Thankfully, there is. Yes, you’ll experience a slump. However, by putting the following six practices in place, you’ll be able to recover from the slump more quickly, and get back into big time sales mode.
1. Start another sale.
Just after you’ve offered all the promos, discounts, freebies, coupons, doo-dads, and free shipping you can possibly take in, get ready to do it all over again.
Shoppers buy from you not only because it’s the holiday season, but because of discounts. So, if you continue to provide discounts, then you’ll be able to win your customers back for a second-round of bargain basement prices.
You may be tired of the sale, but your customers aren’t. You don’t have to provide quite the same level of sale, but a sale alone is powerful enough to get you back on track.
Here are a few ideas of post-holiday sales
- Winter clearance. Dispense with your winter inventory, and label it as a clearance. People love clearance sales.
- Throw in a free gift. Freebies are always winners.
- Bulk buy discounts. Sometimes, you’ll win through a bulk purchase. The free shipping trick is also helpful, as long as you set thresholds for minimum purchase size.
- Incentivize your loyalty program. Once a customer buys from you, invite them into your loyalty program. This is especially crucial for first-time buyers. Market back to them, but this time, provide a perk for joining your mailing list or becoming a member.
2. Market to the New Year attitude.
A consumer’s mindset changes drastically once the New Year hits. Right up until the final minutes of December 31, they are stuffing their faces, getting drunk, spending money, acquiring stuff, and gaining weight.
Something magical happens on January 1st. They transform. Instantly, consumers possess high levels of self-control, steely resolve, and a determination to “be a better person.” This is your chance to make a marketing pounce.
Amazon knows how to snag these shoppers. Even early in 2014, they’ve primed their site for the 2015 resolved shopper:
Their page includes tax preparation software, fitness video games, travel books, musical instruments, stress management books, healthy fitness bars, shoes, and basically everything else.
Few things are off limits for New Year promotion.
It’s time to cater to those better instincts. People aren’t going to buy junk food, indulge in expensive wardrobe purchases, or buy pricey toys. But they will buy items that promise to enhance their New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s what people are willing to spend money on in the New Year:
- Products that provide organization and productivity. There’s a huge category of items in this category. Anything from pens to iPads can be pitched with a New Year attitude. After the hangover clears up on January 1, people are looking for ways to fix their life up. Organization and productivity will appeal in massive ways.
- Products that enhance health. Far and away, the biggest category of sales goes to gym memberships, health supplements, diet plans, and exercise equipment. If you’re in or near these niches, get ready for a New Year’s windfall.
- Products that facilitate cleanliness. Customers are getting into the cleaning spirit after the Christmas spirit wanes. Besides, there’s all that post-party mess to put away and organize.
- Products that promote safety and protection. After the New Year and during the winter’s deep freeze, people start thinking about reshaping their life, being ready for anything, and protecting their family. It’s a prime opportunity to market your safety product, iPhone case, identity protection service, or password protection app.
Basically, anything that can be logically tied into New Year’s resolution is fair game for your marketing prowess.
3. Release a new product.
Just as most marketers are settling down for their long winter’s nap, it’s time for you to step up the game.
Many marketers and ecommerce sites focus on analyzing their sales or restocking their inventory. You do something different. You release a new product.
The New Year is the perfect time to do this. From a psychological standpoint, customers are in the “new” mindset. New Year, new you, new resolutions, new everything.
So why not a new product? Mentally, the building blocks are in place. Consumers want new. Consumers are ready to convert on new. Use the new-saturated mentality to sell a new product.
Of course, launching a new product or app just after the holiday season requires a lot of planning and preparation during the holiday season, the very time when most ecommerce sites are extra busy with managing the traffic increase.
As long as you plan ahead, you’ll be able to do it.
4. Market to those email addresses.
Right after the holidays, you should have a gleaming pile of awesomeness just waiting for you.
It’s email addresses.
If you’ve taken the advice of ecommerce best practices, and harvested email addresses during the holiday season, then you’re in the perfect position to start marketing to those addresses.
Don’t wait to do this. Email addresses have an expiration date. Some people are going to forget that they purchased from you. While their memories of holiday purchases are still fresh, you can start delivering content and information that will keep them alive and active.
The holiday season is the most active online shopping season of the year.
With the vast amount of shoppers coming and going on your website, you should remarketing to them.
According to the statistics, remarketing has incredible power.
- Remarketing can lead to 147% higher conversion rates.
- The average CTR for retargeted ads is ten times that of display ads
- Visitors who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert on your site
- With retargeting, shopping cart completion goes up by 26%
Remarketing is just as likely to work in the new year as in the holiday season. Rather than let your website languish in the doldrums of people’s holiday forgetfulness, give them the retargeting attention that will pull them back and compel them to purchase.
6. Don’t go quiet.
After the holiday season, retailers are exhausted. We assume that the customers are, too. But they’re listening. They’re still there.
If you can get loud when everyone else is quite, you’ll be the voice that people listen to more. Business must go on. Heck, business must get better. It’s a New Year after all!
Don’t go quiet, whatever you do.
This year, rather than succumb to the holiday slump, you can ratchet things up to a whole new high. Just imagine. You can start the new year off with kickass sales, rather than starting things off with a nosedive. Think about the impact that will have on the rest of the year!
What can you do to improve in the post-holiday season?
About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.