For many retailers, January sales feel like a slump after the high-flying holiday season. But stores can still take steps to earn relatively more.
Here are five tactics to try.
Boosting January Sales
Feature buy now, pay later. In November, the National Retail Federation estimated that 2020 U.S. holiday spending would be up between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent compared to 2019. That amounts to estimated retail sales of between $755 and $766 billion.
Thus consumers will have just spent a ton of money in November and December and could be short on cash in January. Buy now, pay later — from PayPal, Klarna, Affirm, more — could help shoppers acquire the items they need.
Consider email promotions in January that feature the BNPL option, including recommended products based on a recipient’s segments or shopping behavior.
Promote self-giving. Another January offer could encourage gift-givers to buy something for themselves.
The campaign could begin with identifying customers who gave the most in November and December, such as those who spent $500 or more.
In January, the business could email each of these customers, praising them for their holiday generosity and offering a $50 gift card to use toward a purchase of $150 or more. The card would expire on January 31, but they could give themselves a nice gift at an attractive price before then.
The campaign can be effective for a few reasons. First, sending this offer via email would be inexpensive. Next, the retailer doesn’t have to pay the discount ($50 in this example) unless a purchase is made. And finally, this sort of offer encourages purchases greater than the $150 minimum.
Try live streaming. The holidays are an excellent time to grow an email list. Most ecommerce retailers should strive for an email opt-in with every sale. Brick-and-mortar sellers should aim for this too, perhaps offering cashiers a bonus to obtain an email address (think 25 cents each) at the physical point of sale.
All of those addresses create strong promotional opportunities in January. For example, consider hosting a live streaming event that features overstock items and even product returns at deep discounts.
The retailer would use its email list to promote the live stream, creating a QVC-like environment.
Add clearance channels. Unless it’s wine, your inventory is not likely getting better with age. Packaging fades, dust creeps in, and manufacturers roll out new models.
Thus, it can make sense to get rid of older items (or returns) in January via Amazon, eBay, or similar channels. The aim is to generate as much profit as possible while freeing up cash and warehouse space.
Don’t give these products away. Experiment with various prices to find those that move the inventory quickly and still make a profit.
Keep marketing. Retailers sometimes cut expenses when sales fall, for good reasons. Spending a lot of money in a relatively small sales market is not wise.
However, there is a difference between right-sizing a marketing budget and eliminating it.
In January, look for ways to keep marketing to customers and prospects. Affordable options include email marketing, content marketing, and off-season advertising.
A Slow Month
Retail sales in January, if not the entire first quarter, will be lower than in November and December. But your business can still take steps to generate sales and profit.