January and February are statistically the slowest months for e-commerce sales around the world, and the United Kingdom is no different. After the busy festive shopping period, retailers feel the hit of dwindling sales as people cut back on spending after indulging in the run-up to Christmas.
But what if we told you that it didn’t have to be this way? Most e-commerce sites have everything already baked into their systems to have a happy start to the year; you must use what you have to your advantage. Treat Q1 as you would any other quarter by continuing your marketing efforts, promoting your site on your social channels and pulling people into your website.
Let’s take a look at some of the tactics you can use to help increase January sales and get the year off to a successful start.
Here are Actuate’s top tips on avoiding the January and February sales slumps and e-commerce
The number one rule when it comes to starting the first quarter with a bang is to join in with the festivities. Yes, Christmas is officially over, but it is not necessarily that way in people’s minds. When people think about January, thoughts focus on sales and bargains, or for somewhere to spend their Christmas money, so use this to your advantage. Do not suddenly stop your marketing activity on 25th December.
Make sure your storefront is at the forefront of people’s minds, send out newsletters, ramp up your social media activity and consider PPC (Pay Per Click) to nudge people in your direction. Once you have people on your website, utilise CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) to encourage more sales and consider tactics designed to drive up the average order value of users to get the most out of people this time of year.
The phrase ‘January Sales’ can fill a store owner with dread, after all with January and February being traditionally slow months, the last thing you want is to reduce prices and therefore your profits. Turn your thinking around and use the January Sales as an opportunity to rid yourself of old or slow-moving inventory and to clear room for this year’s next big thing!
Consider combining deep discount offers with tactics designed to push up the average spend, meaning consumers will be buying a variety of both discounted and non-discounted products to reach a predefined spending threshold and ultimately driving up the profits for you.
No business enjoys processing returns and the period directly after the festive rush can be overwhelming with more than your fair share of return requests. Again, shift your way of thinking and see these requests as an opportunity. If a user is returning something that is damaged or broken, suggest a replacement. If the return is simply because an item is unwanted, a duplicate or unsuitable then consider offering an incentive to accept store credit rather than a refund. A great example would be offering an additional 10% in-store credit during January and February turning a £50 return into a £55 in-store voucher instead of a refund. Not only would this keep the money in your business bank account, but it would also promote happiness and loyalty with the customer and could even turn into additional sales when they come to spend their credit.
For those customers adamant on a refund, if you have their permission to send them direct marketing campaigns, consider emailing or texting them a code for a discount off their next order, again attempting to bring them back to your store.
Yes, we’ve spoken about marketing throughout this post, but that’s because it’s so important. Many companies turn off their marketing once they break up for Christmas, which is the worst thing you can do. Capitalise on the season and the reasons people may wish to come to your store and use this to drive sales.
Utilise the information gleaned during the festive months and send out newsletters to your new consumers, urging them to return and spend. The same can be said about your social channels which should be busy with posts and chatter making you stand out amongst your rivals.
Finally, if you have the budget, consider PPC (Pay Per Click), traditional print advertising and remarketing, all designed to get traffic to your website.
Finally, start the ball rolling for the next big holiday in your yearly calendar and remind your customers that they need to start shopping again. From Chinese New Year to Valentine’s Day and even St. Patrick’s Day, there are plenty of holidays to promote and get people excited about.
Think new banners, redesigned gift sections and offers or promotions. The year is just beginning and has plenty of opportunities for those willing to grab them.
3 Min Read
Published: 31 December 2020
Mat is the founder here at Actuate. His role focuses on strategy, culture, looking after our clients and every now and then getting stuck in with coding.