It’s official. January is the most depressing month of the year. Post-Christmas blues are beginning to kick in, and the financial situation for many is as bleak as the dreary British weather. While an early Christmas payday seemed ideal at the time – funding our last minute present purchases and a calendar packed full of heavy nights out – we are now left feeling exhausted and drained in more ways than one. To avoid breaking the bank further, we become tighter with our spending behaviour and pledge to stay in and wait for it all to blow over.
For those with an ecommerce business, January can really feel like a downwards spiral. Just as you thought you had survived the festive period, an influx of returns start piling back in – eating away at a large chunk of your Christmas profits, and creating additional work for yourself or your staff.
However, what if January was a window of opportunity rather than a hindrance? What if you could target the shoppers who still wish to indulge in a spot of retail therapy, perhaps to get themselves through the slow and depressing month? By engaging in the following three practices, you’ll put yourself back on the map and get over the sales hurdle.
1. Offer a Sales Promotion
Many retailers take part in a January sales promotion of some kind, often beginning on Boxing Day and lasting until at least the middle of the month. There are a variety of different types of promotion you could jump on. My main piece of advice here is to keep it simple: stick to one or two methods and do not to confuse your customers with too many messages.
With all those pesky returns and end of line winter products you’re just desperate to shift, marketing a sales promotion as a ‘Winter Clearance’ will help you to clear the rest of your stock and make room for new, exciting products.
Who doesn’t love a good voucher code? Entice your customers with discount codes that they can enter at the checkout, for example 20% off your entire basket. Missguided use discount codes to their advantage, in order to create a buzz and a sense of urgency.
If you want to improve customer loyalty, you can also target customers who have shopped with you previously by sending an email thanking them for their support in 2017. Within this email, you could also include a discount code that is redeemable from the 1st January – therefore encouraging them to revisit your site. It costs 5 times less to drive a repeat purchase from an existing customer than to attract a new one, so nurturing your loyal customers is extremely important to your business.
Limited Time Offers
Creating a sense of urgency with limited time offers is a great tactic to increase your sales in January. It encourages customers to be more impulsive and to snap up the deal up right there and then.
Perhaps you have a specific product or product category that you want to create a buzz around? For example, if you have a fashion business you may choose the category ‘coats and jackets’, in order to free up your stock ready for the Spring/Summer season. For one day only, you could offer discounts on said ‘coats and jackets’ to push those products and increase your sales. Debenhams implement this strategy very effectively and often change up the types of discounted products on a regular basis to keep people coming back.
Another way to create a sense of urgency is to countdown the number of days left in your sales promotion. Use messaging such as ‘Hurry! Only 2 days left!’ in your web banners, and update the number each morning.
2. Jump on New Year resolutions and aspirations with clever marketing
It’s time to prepare for the ‘New Year, New Me’ status’ that will be flooding our Facebook feeds. Many of our friends will make a pledge to get fit, while others announce their partaking in Dry January. Consumers will attempt to regain self control, and the New Year transformation will begin. This is the perfect opportunity for retailers to cleverly market their products to consumers wishing to better themselves; either by offering a solution to help them, or by inspiring them to try something new.
Improve health and fitness
This is a biggie for the New Year. Getting fit and improving wellness is at the top of the list for many New Year resolutioners. This journey often begins with the purchase of new activewear; one of the fastest growing markets in 2017. Other products such as fitness trackers, protein powders, health supplements, exercise equipment, blenders and healthy foods all have huge potential to sell.
Giving up smoking is also hugely popular for improving health and wellness. So, if your business sells e-cigarettes or nicotine patches, this trend is ideal for you.
In January, consumers will look for ways to manage their time more effectively. Improving organisation could lead to a better performance at work and overall enhanced productivity. Electronics, diaries, planners, stationery and calendars all fall under this category, along with anything from office furniture to alarm clocks.
Try out a new hobby
New beginnings and new hobbies go hand in hand. Learning a new skill to fill spare time is something many of us are desperate to get around to doing, but we often put it on the backburner.
So, why not inspire someone to buy the Gibson they’ve dreamed of owning, so that they can learn to play the guitar? The scope for products that can be tied in here is huge. Anything from arts, crafts, knitting, and baking to cameras and photography equipment can be incorporated into this category.
Improve your home
In a bid to make their homes feel beautiful and clean, consumers will seek home improvement products to give a little TLC, for example, DIY supplies, tools, appliances and cleaning products. That patch in the wall that has needed fixing up for the past 3 months will finally get the attention it needs!
3. Start a new content marketing series
While your customers are out focusing on new beginnings, maybe now’s the time for you to start something fresh too. You could start a new content series which could be videos, blog posts or podcasts – that will add value to your business while driving traffic to your website. The content could link back to the New Year consumer mindset. I suggest creating how-to’s, or step-by-step tutorials that will teach your customers how to use the products that you sell. This will differentiate you from competitors, and showcases the knowledge and support that you can offer to your customers.
For example, let’s say that you sell cameras and photography equipment.
You could create weekly video tutorials that you upload to YouTube and share across your social media platforms. Begin by teaching the basics of how to use a camera, each week building on the lessons from the previous week by offering something new. Perhaps next week you would show how to set up a tripod? Or explain the importance of lighting, and how to get it right? Whatever the products you sell, there are ways to create relevant and informative content that will improve your brand trust.
In summary, January marks the beginning of a fresh year for your business, and starting off on a positive note will leave you feeling ready to take on the rest of the year. Make sure you’re marketing to the New Year mindset, and incorporate helpful, informative content that will keep your customers engaged for many more months to come.