Traditionally, January sees a sudden dip in sales from the heady numbers of December. With people heading away from the stores on holiday, as well as practicing more frugality, it can be a tough month for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. A few simple measures can ensure your business remains on the path of success in the short term and plant the seeds for long-term conversion.
Prepare in advance
Gift cards, while often seen as the last refuge for the uninspired gift buyer, are a great way to ensure a steady stream of customers in the leaner months. Statistics shows that people who enter a store to spend a gift card will generally spend an average of 20% more than the card’s value. Add to this the increased likelihood that they won’t restrict themselves to post-Christmas discounts and a focus on selling gift cards can pay off in the long run.
Maintain fantastic service
After the thrill of Christmas, some people will come to return and exchange the things that weren’t exactly what they were hoping for. This is where you can excel by ensuring the process is quick and easy. Remain flexible and reasonable to ensure customers have a positive experience. This can bring them back to your store for future sales.
January can be a great time to reconnect with your customers by sending out email notes thanking them for their custom and continued loyalty. This simple gesture shows a personal touch that people will appreciate. Include a discount voucher for the first month of the new year to bring them back sooner.
Sales and discounts
This is tricky ground. Sales are inevitable and many customers will be looking forward to spending Christmas gift money snapping up bargains. While this can be an important way to prop up a generally slow sales month, it can also trigger buyer’s remorse among customers who purchased an item at full price in December. It is important to study your sales and inventory figures and not discount your most popular items. This makes business sense, but will also help prevent customer complaints from those who paid the regular price.
Think of it as a chance to upsell with complementary products for those that sold well. For example, if a particular red skirt had good sales, offer discounts on a matching shirt or jacket that weren't as popular pre-Christmas. It can be a great way of moving slower stock and preparing for a new range.
Stay active and visible
January doesn’t have to be a lost opportunity. While sales may be lower than other months, it can present a great chance to build your brand in other ways. Take advantage of the free time many people will have over summer with a strong social media presence. Providing interesting links, images, and updates will keep your business at the front of people’s minds. Although they may not be ready to buy immediately, your business will be the first one they think of when they are.