January and February are typically slow sales months for most retail entrepreneurs. The credit card bills have come in for the holiday shopping sprees, consumers have made resolutions to save more money and blustery weather keeps people inside. Once you’ve enjoyed the well-earned break from November and December’s hectic shopping season, what can you do to get more customers into your store?
How to Increase Retail Sales this Winter
Here are 11 ideas you can try to boost your retail store’s sales.
1. Tap into information about your existing customers. Use your customer loyalty software to tailor promotions to your best customers. For example, if a particular shopper tends to respond to discount offers, you can send them a discount; if another shopper loves checking out the latest merchandise, email them about a new shipment that’s arriving soon.
2. Reach out to new customers who purchased from you over the holidays. Get first-time holiday shoppers to come back to your store once, and you’re on the way to making them loyal customers. For those customers whose contact information you obtained, reach out with a thank-you email showing your appreciation for their purchases. Then entice them back in with an offer for a product that complements what they bought over the holidays.
3. Try direct mail. In addition to email marketing messages, a postcard or flyer mailing campaign can get customers’ attention. After the flood of holiday greeting cards, circulars and catalogs that many consumers get slows to its normal trickle in January, a piece of physical mail will stand out at this time.
4. Tap into the “new year, new you” mentality. You don’t have to sell workout clothing to benefit from customers’ New Year’s resolutions. Just about any type of retailer can position products to help customers keep their resolutions. According to Statista, “Eat healthier,” “Get more exercise,” and “Save more money” are the three most common resolutions for 2018. Can your products help shoppers stress less, be more efficient, be healthier or get ahead at work? With almost one-fourth of people resolved to “focus on self-care,” promoting the idea of treating oneself can work, too.
5. Test out deal sites. Many consumers tighten the purse strings in January, and look to deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social so they can shop, but spend less money. You can put a time limit on your deal that encourages shoppers to come in during the slow season—for example, have it expire mid-March or the beginning of April. When sales are slower in your store, you’ll have more time to ensure that any shoppers who do come in get the best treatment, making them more likely to return.
6. Get help from your suppliers. See if any of the brands you carry have co-marketing campaigns going on. Name brands sometimes offer retailers a marketing budget to promote their brands in the store.
7. Promote your most profitable products. Even if you make fewer sales during this time of year, selling higher-profit items will help to make up for that fact. Put extra effort into the items you carry that have a high profit margin; train salespeople to suggest them.
8. Book business ahead of time. Do you sell gift cards to your store? If so, offer a $25 gift card for $20, a $50 gift card for $40, etc. Getting paid for the cards now can help keep your cash flow strong during the slow months. Plus, when customers come into purchase using those gift cards, they typically spend more than the value of the card.
9. Celebrate a holiday. New Year’s resolutions can only last so long, and around the end of January, many consumers will be itching to get out and spend money again. Encourage shoppers to come out to your store by celebrating a wacky holiday. For example, how about National Spouses Day, National Love Your Pet Day or Random Act of Kindness Day? Plan an in-store event around an unusual holiday you find (or make up) and promote it via email, social media and your website.
10. Host a charity drive. Many of us vow to get organized, clean out our closets and pare down excess “stuff” in January. Why not host a charity drive to take donations of those discarded items? For example, a store that sells infants and children’s products could accept donations of used toys, baby and children’s clothing, and baby gear and give them to a facility for homeless mothers and children. Give your customers discounts for bringing in donations.
11. Get your staff in gear. Even if you don’t normally do so, this can be a good time of year to give your salespeople some extra motivation with bonuses tied to sales. Instead of making it a competition, however, build team spirit by giving the entire team bonuses based on exceeding the goals that you set.
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