Slow sales in January have long been considered a fact of life in many industries. There are, however, myriad ways to attract customers and avoid the dreaded January slump. With that in mind here are some tips to boost business sales this January and beyond.
Get to grips with online sales
Attracting maximum sales in the new year will require you to have more than just any old website. You’ll need a website that can heighten your ability to sell. At a minimum, this means it should be optimised for search engines, load quickly and display properly on all devices.
If you use Square Online then all this is taken care of for you. If you use another solution, then you will need to ensure that your website is up to the standards modern customers expect.
In either case, these days, having a website on its own is unlikely to be enough to maximise your online sales opportunities. Instead, you need to be active on at least one social media platform which is linked to your website so visitors can quickly be converted to customers. Shoppable posts on social media sites like Instagram can also be a great way to boost sales.
Boost your marketing
When done astutely, start-of-year marketing can boost your business sales and improve your relationship with your customers.
The key thing to remember when honing your marketing strategy is that the annual January slump is largely due to the following three main factors:
- Consumers want a break from shopping after the stress of mass-buying for Christmas.
- Consumers are occupied with other commitments (e.g. a New Year health kick).
- Having recently acquired more goods and services than normal thanks to the holiday period, consumers are not that interested in buying new stuff.
Additionally, financial pressures may be an issue for some customers during this time. This is not an insurmountable barrier to making sales, however, as customers watching their finances carefully are likely to be drawn to good deals.
In short, with the right approach, it is very possible to attract customers at off-peak times. You just need to offer them a compelling reason to buy. It can be helpful to add incentives such as a loyalty programme. You might also want to make it easier for them to pay by offering buy-now-pay-later.
Make your real-world store appealing
It’s unwise to rely on the January sales to drive in-store traffic as they are short-lived and typically over well before February.
This means you should be actively looking for ways to draw in customers. That could mean persuading them to make a special trip. Alternatively, it could mean persuading them to pop in as they pass by. For many businesses, it will mean a combination of both. In either case, it’s important that your store looks appealing. Here are seven tips to help:
Take down your Christmas decorations promptly. Once the festive season is over, it’s over.
Use your windows. Keep up the effort with your displays and change them regularly.
Ideally, have some seasonal (but not Christmas) decor inside too. If you offer refreshments, ensure they’re appealing and comforting but be ready with healthier options (e.g. tea and coffee rather than hot chocolate).
Keep the inside of your workplace tidy. This may sound like stating the obvious but shop interiors can easily get unkempt at this time of year, especially during the busy January sales.
Update your range. This could be a good time to launch new products or services. At the very least, move on from Christmas/New Year items.
Have regular promotions. In particular, highlight anything that fits in with the “New Year, new me” mood many will be feeling.
Run competitions. The prizes don’t have to be big to be appealing, even something small like a hand cream or a free drink can get people’s attention.
Host at least one event. This could be an online or hybrid one. Remember, entertainment usually drops off in January and February. This gives you an opportunity to fill the gap. Your event doesn’t even need to be sales-orientated, it can just be aimed at building relationships with your customers.
Actively reach out to potential customers in the real world
If your customers aren’t rushing back to your shop, then maybe you should go out to them. The post-Christmas/pre-spring period can be a great time to run a pop-up shop, and gain presence in fresh places with access to new customers and sales opportunities. What’s more, these customers know they have to buy now or miss out. Running a pop-up shop also helps you to direct more people to your online presence which can lay the ground for future sales.
Work to develop new income streams
Do a thorough review, not just of your business but of your entire sector. Actively look for opportunities to develop new income streams, in particular, passive income streams.
For example, if your main business is selling products, then look for ways to sell services and vice versa. Also, remember that content can be an income stream as well as a marketing tool. It is arguably not entirely passive as you usually need to keep producing content to keep people coming back. Good content can, however, go on producing revenue indefinitely.
January doesn’t have to mean sales slumps for businesses. Implementing some of the above strategies will help you attract customers in the new year and beyond.