Holiday Blues: How to Jump Start Your Post-Holiday Sales
Every year, the patrons take businesses by storm during the holidays in preparation for their respective gift giving days. And every year, all that excitement seems to disappear as businesses enter the post-holiday season. Don't let the holiday blues swallow up your business this year! Diamond provides a list of tips to maintain sales and team spirit during the winter slow down.
Show Customer Appreciation
The holidays are prime time for customers to give their phone numbers and emails to your small businesses mailing/coupon lists and loyalty programs. Don't let this data go to waste! Ring the new year with a specially designed thank you note to your loyal customers, and consider adding in special monthly offers to encourage patrons to come back during the slower months.
Take Advantage of Gift Cards
One of the most well-known excuses for the slow post-holiday sales is that customers have already spent all their money during the holidays - thowever, those same customers also received gifts for the holidays, and many of those gifts include gift cards. Implement a promotion encouraging your customers to use their newly obtained gift cards at your store. Examples include: free product when using a gift card on purchases of set minimum amount; giving a percent discount when using a gift card; or giving extra points/stamps to a loyalty card.
Host Special Events or Viewing Parties
While it may seem like a norm to accept the slow season after the holidays, not every industry experiences this. TV shows, movies, and other media still hold strong after the holidays, and utilizing their appeal is a great way to drum up business by hosting a viewing party. With the mid-season premier of the Walking Dead coming in February, this is the perfect opportunity to tap into an always hungry (for brains) fandom! See below for relevant examples:
- Hosting a themed event for popular shows that aren't due back on the air until the Spring
- Hosting viewing parties for first episode premiers of highly anticipated shows
- Create a fandom specific store holiday
Start A New Social Media Campaign
We live in an age of technology, and we are long past the point of no return. Technology is embedded in every aspect of our lives, and failing to take advantage of this is doing yourself a grave injustice. If you haven't tried starting a social media campaign, then the new year is the perfect time to try out something different. Successful social media campaigns can range from contests to small promotions to simply reaching out to your followers.
Be Ready for Returns
While returns are not the best part of the post-holiday slump, acting like they aren't going to happen this year only leaves you ill-prepared. Instead, embracing the idea and taking the challenge on head first will allow your business to turn what could be a tragedy into something profitable. Consider implementing buying incentives for people returning a product such as making a same day purchase as a return gives the patron a 10% discount if the item is of equal or higher value; or line the asiles of your store leading up to your return counter with intentionally placed impulse merchandise. And of course, always provide excellent customer service during a return to ensure the customer may return later in the year.
Budget for the Year Ahead
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are still some cases where the rush of the holidays sweep businesses off their feet, leaving them overwhelmed with the idea of budgeting into the new year. Take the time to take a step back from your business and re-evaluate the goals you have for the new year and create a solid plan for reaching them. Closing up shop for one day to plan the year is well worth any loss of sales over the alternative of being behind in finances due to lack of preparation for the rest of the year.
Maintain Holiday Cheer After the New Year
The holidays are over - no one has anything to celebrate anymore, right? WRONG! This is the best time of year for you to give people something to celebrate. The cheer and pleasantries of the holiday season should not be reserved as a once a year occasion, instead make a point to carry over your holiday spirit with customers and employees. While Christmas decorations in February may seem too out of place, consider always having some kind of special decor to spruce up your store internally and externally. Remember, people like shiny things, so make sure your business shines.
Appreciate Your Employees
Customer satisfaction often becomes a business' main priority, but what about the people you hire to maintain that customer satisfaction? Disgrunted employees create disgrunted customers, and while you cannot control an employees satisfaction outside the walls of your building, you can make conscious efforts to make sure they are not dreading coming to work every day. Consider throwing a post-holiday pot luck or host a superlatives contest.
Already planning next year's holiday rush? Check out these preemptive tactics to implement during the holiday rush to avoid any dry spells post-season.
Implement Post-Holiday Coupons
During holiday check out, be sure to include some kind of after-holidays incentive to keep customers coming back during the slow season. This can bef a discount coupon or a list of specially designed promotional days. Just make sure you stay creative with your incentives so that your promotions are something a customer remembers in January even if they were told in November.
Become a Master of the Upsell
Having a comfortable financial cushion after the holidays always helps bridge together the peak seasons for shopping, but creating that cushion isn't always an exact science. However, investing in the upsell is one of the best long term ways to make sure your business is in a financially healthy condition after the holidays. Keep key impulse merchandise near the registers, strategically place non-book related merchandise in the same section as their book source for easy one stop shopping, and have your cashiers promote an item with every purchase.
Take Advantage of Customer Referrals
Loyalty cards are all the rage amongst customers, but have you tapped into the world of customer refferals? Chances are, if a customer is shopping at your store, they have friends or family members who might also love your store. Implement a referral program that allows loyal customers to gain some kind of incentive for referring new customers to your loyalty program. After all, word of mouth is the Mother of Marketing.
Improve or Increase Online Reviews
Again, technology rules everything around us. And an unhappy customer's favorite past-time is talking about their unhappy experience online. Instead, use reviews to your advantage. Having a customer fill out a survey or write a review for some kind of incentive can lead to new customers as well as raise your position when searched on Google. A bad online standing inevitably leads to poor foot traffic, but no online presence can be just as detrimental.