Most retail businesses have a seasonal sales pattern. Seasonal sales are any period of your retail fiscal calendar year where your business usually experiences a surge in conversions and customer traffic. It can happen yearly, quarterly, bi-annually, or with any other repeatable occasion which you can predict. Businesses can have seasonality for various reasons, including your product’s niche or unique category, where you sell, the demographic of your customer base, and of course, the time of the year. For instance, if you run a travel business, you’ll likely make most of your revenue in the summer. Similarly, if your business involves the sale of gifts, you’ll likely generate more revenue during sales seasons.
If your business is seasonal in nature, you only have a limited time frame to generate a significant portion of your revenue. Therefore, you need to maximize your seasonal sales and make the most of the opportunities available to you.
1. Plan Early
Early planning is key to success in seasonal sales, so you should avoid leaving your planning till the last minute. During your planning process, ensure you factor in all the resources you’ll need when the sales begin, including human and financial resources. It’s crucial to have staff to attend to customer complaints and inquiries.
In order to create a solid plan, you must decide which occasions or holidays are relevant to your business. If you identify it early, you’ll have enough time to develop a comprehensive plan for every aspect of your business. Try to put your plans in place at least six months in advance.
2. Prioritize Forecasting
Seasonal forecasting is a must-have for any retailer who desires to achieve success during peak periods. They can help position you for increased sales margins and return on investment.
Also, forecasting helps prevent stockouts and overstocks and allows you to reduce inventory mistakes and losses that could result from stock ordering errors. It also helps you cut costs by scheduling future orders at optimal times or procuring just the right amount of inventory you need.
3. Improve your Merchandising process
Merchandising is a crucial aspect of any business, especially for retailers with seasonal sales fluctuations. If your retail merchandising is well implemented, you’ll be able to draw the attention of your target customers and encourage them to make purchases from your store, whether physical or online. It goes beyond simply shelving items in your physical store or just having them on your e-commerce platform. You need to be strategic in your merchandising effort.
If you get it right, you’ll provide shoppers with a pleasing shopping experience, which can ultimately translate into improved customer satisfaction. Also, your merchandising can subtly direct customers once they enter your physical store or visit your ecommerce platform. The visual and spatial cues, comfort elements, and interactive displays can guide them to view your displays on their own. With this, you’ll see an evident increase in your sales and revenue during the seasonal periods.
4. Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping can incentivize shoppers to make purchases. So, consider offering free shipping to customers who make purchases over a certain amount during your seasonal sales. This will motivate them to take advantage of your offering and spend more in your store. You can also offer an annual subscription for customers to enjoy free shipping or make it a one-time subscription for peak seasons. Alternatively, you can make it available to first-time customers only as a way to encourage them to try out your products and services.
Offering free shipping can help you gain customer loyalty because shoppers who receive free shipping are more likely to return for future purchases. You won’t only see an immediate rise in sales during the seasonal periods, but you’ll also build customer loyalty that will continue paying off long after the end of the season. Of course, you’ll gain a competitive advantage over other retailers who charge for shipping during sales seasons. To get the best outcome from this tactic, you need to target customers early with your free shipping campaigns.
5. Create a Sense of Community
Try to create a sense of community around your brand during seasonal sales. Brand communities are customer groups brought together by a common interest in your products and brand as a whole. When you create a strong brand community, you’re able to connect with your customers, foster an emotional connection with your brand, build brand loyalty, and create a better experience for the members.
One great way to approach this during sales seasons is by creating a hashtag for your promotion and encouraging customers to share their purchases on social media. You can even take it a step further by using your promotions to give back to your community or support a charitable cause.