Practical Ecommerce

How to Lessen the Post-holiday Sales Lull

Now that the rush of online holiday shopping is coming to a halt, it’s time to consider how to lessen the blow of the January lull. It happens every year. While November and December are typically the biggest revenue-generating months, a vast decline in traffic and sales is common for January.

If you have not yet created a plan (or if it’s not a complete plan), consider some of these methods of trying to stay ahead of the game in the coming 45 days.

Plan for Returns and Exchanges

January is a good time to utilize online chat so you can not only provide quick answers, but also help guide customers to an alternate product versus a complete refund.

It’s also helpful to have an internal policy for handling customer requests, like offering free shipping if one opts to go with another item rather than a credit card refund. Or offering a bonus gift card to accompany a store credit.

Crutchfield makes it easy for shoppers to ask just about anything.

Crutchfield makes it easy for shoppers to ask just about anything.

By the way, make sure your chat image is of a real person. Those stock images of receptionists with headsets are so common, and can be a turnoff to savvy shoppers. It’s also important to realize when customers are most apt to contact you and have operators available during those times.

Determine Sales and Clearance Items

Everyone expects to find holiday décor, wrapping paper, and other like items on sale starting now, and in January, but consider adding additional items (including gifts) to the mix. Not only will some be looking for deals on gifts for the following year, integrating neutral products can help increase average sale amounts, especially if you offer a threshold for free shipping.

Also consider offering sales on accessories for popular gift items. Think protective cases, refill packages and other popular add-ons.

Create a ‘Resolution’ Category

If your product line applies, create a section to help shoppers tackle their New Year’s resolution. The top resolutions include healthier eating, fitness or weight loss, organization, and activities designed to lower stress levels.

Amazon hosts a section dedicated to common New Year resolutions.

Amazon hosts a section dedicated to common New Year resolutions.

Run a blog? Invite customers to share their resolutions, which you can then incorporate with product recommendations.

Address Shoppers’ Needs Up Front

This is logical for certain product lines. For example, if you sell tablet computers, people may need accessories like cases and portable keyboards. Items that require supplies and accessories provide opportunity to cater to long-term customers. These items should also be advertised throughout the website in the coming weeks to take advantage of post-holiday needs.

Someone who receives a guitar for Christmas will likely want to purchase some key accessories, like picks, a strap or a stand. Source: Guitar Center

Someone who receives a guitar for Christmas will likely want to purchase some key accessories, like picks, a strap or a stand, such as this example from Guitar Center.

Consider this example from Keurig, the coffee company.

Keurig’s home page is already focused primarily on K-Cups and other coffee packs. Chances are this site will be hit hard starting December 25.

Keurig’s home page is already focused primarily on K-Cups and other coffee packs. Chances are this site will be hit hard starting December 25.

Keep Distractions Away

In “6 Checkout Changes to Minimize Abandonment,” my article earlier this month, I wrote about streamlining the checkout process to minimize cart abandonment. You’ll want to keep (or incorporate) these changes because you’ll be competing with many other online retailers also vying to create a steady flow of income during the month.

Sell gift cards? Make it easy for the recipients of the cards to check balances and redeem cards during checkout. (Now’s the perfect time to place a few test orders in this regard, incidentally.)

Regardless of what you sell, getting a jumpstart can help pave the way for the following months in the new year. While the January lull is certainly expected, some retailers have found ways to benefit. It’s an ideal time to try a few changes and see what works for your line of products.

Pamela Hazelton

Pamela Hazelton

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Someone December 30, 2015 Reply

    I don’t understand your comment on the coffee company. What are they doing right/wrong?