Even if fourth quarter holiday sales broke all records, there would still be some left over inventory that online retailers would like to sell in the days and weeks after Christmas. And after-Christmas sales and special offers may help increase revenue in the end of December and in January when retail stores are typically slower.
If properly executed, after-Christmas sales may move excess inventory, generate revenue, boost cash flow, and continue relationships with customers acquired during the holiday season. To get the most from this sort of promotion, plan the event in advance, come up with unique for creative offers, segment shoppers and make targeted offers, consider deep discounts on troubled items, and always be aware of other promises you may have made.
Tip 1: Plan Marketing Now
The period from Halloween to Christmas usually garners a lot of sales for online merchants. Cyber Monday alone, as an example, is expected to exceed $2.2 billion this year. With so much marketing activity during this period, some online sellers may forget to plan for after Christmas too.
Be sure to know what your after-Christmas sale goals are. Choose marketing vehicles, like pay-per-click advertising or, perhaps, ads on Pandora, that will help you achieve those goals, and be certain to include funds in your budget to make the necessary investments.
Tip 2: Create Unique Offers
Many retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, will have sale prices, special discounts, or other offers after the holidays. Collectively, the marketing efforts from these many and varied retailers can result in a lot of “noise.”
It may be possible to stand out with unique offers. As an example, consider a buy-one, give-one sale. When a shopper purchases a particular item at your after-Christmas sale, your store might give an identical item to a charity.
Toms.com does this year around. When a shopper buys a pair of shoes or glasses, Toms gives a pair to a child in need. For after-Christmas marketing, retailers might work with local charities or even try to connect with a regional or national charity like United Way, Salvation Army, or Samaritan’s Purse.
Two other relatively uncommon offers include buy now, pay later wherein you might emphasize services like Bill Me Later, and a free item with purchase, wherein you actually give away select items with every purchase. This last tactic is especially good if your goal is to reduce inventory that might otherwise be lost — think candy as an example.
Tip 3: Segment Customers, Make Unique Email Offers
Excess inventory may include items that represent odd sizes or colors. Imagine an online apparel retailer. This retailer might have some very attractive clothes left after Christmas, but only have the items in every small sizes.
On solution to this sort of problem is to segment customers, identifying shoppers who have previously purchased items in sizes that are still in stock. Some software tools monitor this data for you. As an example, merchants using Bronto Software for email and SMS marketing may add sales data to Bronto’s database and then target customers based on preferences, including things like size.
Tip 4: Deeply Discount Troubled Items
While it is certainly important to maintain margin and make money in retail, there are plenty of times when it makes sense to discount items even below cost.
Perishable inventory, like live plants or food, is one example. These items may not survive long in storage, so it is better to sell them and receive at least some revenue that to let them spoil. Other items that may be candidates for deep discounts could include anything that takes a lot of space in the warehouse, that is likely to go out of style soon, or that is being replaced with a newer model. Any of these types of items may be “troubled,” and it is often best to get rid of troubled items even at a loss.
Tip 5: Be Aware of Guarantees or Outstanding Offers
Finally, when you are planning your after-Christmas sales and offers, be aware of any promises that you have already made to customers.
Some retailers, as an example, make low price guarantees that promise to refund shoppers if the same items sells for less within, perhaps, 60 days of purchase. If your business makes this sort of offer, be sure that discounting items after Christmas won’t cause a significant number of claims.
Other retailers may be using a loyalty program to encourage shoppers to return. Think about how low-priced items and the potential sales volume they create will impact these loyalty offers.
Lastly, what about free shipping offers? If your store offers free shipping on orders over $49.00, how will after-Christmas prices impact shipping costs. It is one thing to sell a troubled item at cost, and an entirely different thing to also have to pay to ship that item.