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E-Commerce Sales Techniques

February 5th, 2015
Nearly every industry has slow times. All too often, however, those slumps are considered inevitable. I don’t think that’s the case. Obviously, if you sell something like Christmas trees or fireworks, you’re going to have peak seasons. Slumps, however, should be avoided. Here are 11 suggestions for keeping the holiday slumps away. 1. Know when you slump. In order to take action, you need to know when the slump happens. Take a careful look at your year-over-year trends. Pay special attention to revenue, conversions, and traffic on a yearly basis. Anything that dips on a consistent yearly basis is your seasonal slump. 2. Diagnose the reason for the slump. Once you identify when your slump happens, you can begin to understand the causes. Why are buyers interested in your product at this time of year? What are they doing instead? Where do they spend their time or money? Based on this kind of analysis, you’ll be able to center on some of the ways to overcome the decline in sales. 3. Build marketing for the upcoming season. If customers aren’t buying now, you must try to persuade them to do so. The marketing techniques below will provide more explicit instructions on how exactly to do this, but the general idea is simple: Persuade them to shop now for the upcoming season. What could compel winter skiers to buy equipment during the summer months? There are plenty of things. A summer loyalty program. Summer discounts. Pre-ordering to avoid shipping delays or stock outages. Delayed delivery to test and prep the equipment. Saving money during the cash-strapped holiday season. Whatever your product or service, encourage buying in advance of the peak season. Doing so will not flatten your peak season revenue, but will instead correct your off-season slump. 4. Beef up email marketing. The more you stay in touch with your customers, the more they will buy from you. In nearly all cases, email marketing messages are followed by an increase in sales and conversions. When you’re headed into a traditionally slow season,increase your email marketing output. 5. Start the New Year with a bang. If you start the New Year with stronger than normal sales, then you can carry these growth levels throughout the year. When you launch the year with a strong suite of products, great marketing, and high sales level, the positive trend continues for several months, well past the first quarter. 6. Keep your content output high. Content marketing creates organic traffic, which usually translates into sales. Even though you anticipate your traffic or revenue going down, you shouldn’t let your content slip. Use the slow season as an excuse to improve your content marketing. It will allow you to improve the organic traffic, thereby increasing conversions and sales. 7. Launch a loyalty program. The dreaded “summer slump” of many retailers is the perfect time to give your customers something worth coming back for. Create a loyalty program that will encourage consistent purchases during the slow season. 8. Cater to a different market during your slump. Most seasonal slumps are caused because the market base isn’t buying during that time for whatever reason. Is there another market you can cater to, one that will buy? This is the perfect time to identify that new demographic, tailor your product to their preferences, and get them to bite. If you have a B2B product or service, see if you can develop a B2C application or version, and vice versa. 9. Release a new product. If you have the ability to create or launch new products, then your slow season is the ideal time to do it. New products are one of the primary ways of boosting slowing sales. Timing is everything. When you put a product launch directly in the path of an annual slump, you can explode through the slump with higher-than-normal revenue. 10. Create powerful discounts. The tried-and-true method of offering more discounts is always a good one. Many online retailers are loathe to change their prices during the non-peak season, because they’re afraid of “wasting” sales ideas or promotions. The truth is, the two seasons — slump and peak — are chronologically distant. You won’t waste anything. The likely outcome is that you’ll experience a sizable uptick in sales during a traditionally low season. 11. Make a major marketing push. Slow time approaching? Not if you pull out all the stops with your marketing. Maybe there’s not really a slow market at all. Maybe it’s just slow marketing. If you raise the intensity of your marketing, you can potentially recoup some of the lost revenue of the slow season. Conclusion Seasonal slumps are not a necessity. They are a challenge to overcome. Devise creative ways of powering through that seasonal slump. Then, after it’s over, take a look at your year-over-year metrics again. See improvement? How do you get through seasonal slumps?
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