10 Tips for Boosting Sales After the Holidays
Updated: Jul 22
You’ve finished the Christmas holiday season and closed out Q4 with a bang! NEW YEAR, NEW QUARTER! Now, it’s January and your store is empty. 😱 Many retailers think that if consumers went shopping during the holidays, they simply aren't shopping now.
To that, we say - WRONG!
Consumers always have money burning holes in their pockets, but it's up to you to show them the VALUE your products can bring to their lives!
That new top you're selling might help them land a new job.
The lipstick you just restocked will give them the confidence boost they've been craving for their Zoom meetings.
Maybe the plush new robe you're selling will make them feel pampered...
Whatever you're selling, you must drill down to the value it brings to the end user, and communicate that through your social content, window displays, your website, product descriptions, and MORE!
With some thoughtful, targeted strategies in place, you can turn this typically quiet time of year into a lucrative money-making season. Here are 10 levers that every retailer can pull to drive more sales.
Convert Returns into Exchanges
Abandoned Cart retargeting
1. Visual Merchandising
Now that the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to change your store atmosphere to reflect the new season. Some retailers wait until February, but that means your customers that visited during Christmas time have no reason to come back.
Take down the holiday decor, and replace it with images of spring, bright colors, and bold signs. Update your store music with plenty of the latest hits. Remove scarves and coats from your window displays, and show off your latest spring goods (dresses, sandals, shorts, etc.). Don’t forget, spring break is just around the corner, and we want consumers thinking ahead.
2. Launch a NEW Product
It’s no secret that some people are obsessed with whatever is ‘new’. They like to set trends and do things first; they thrive on it. Q1 is a great time to launch a new product, especially one with a strong marketing campaign behind it.
PRO TIP: Traditional ad space is generally less expensive at the beginning of the year. Since most other brands save their marketing budget for the holiday season, you are likely to see a nice return on your ad spend.
The new year is a time of hope, excitement, and reflection for most. Seize that opportunity: “New Year, New Products!” People are ready for what's next!
3. Gift Card Shoppers
Many people give gift cards during the holidays to avoid giving the wrong thing, or to avoid crowds at the mall. Many gift-card-shoppers may be visiting your store for the very first time. What are you doing to prepare for engaging these new customers?
Use this opportunity to WOW them with your world-class customer service and your awesome products.
4. Convert Returns into Exchanges
During gifting season, it's inevitable that a few less-than-desirable gifts are received by unsuspecting loved ones, but thank goodness for GIFT RECEIPTS! 😅
There are a variety of reasons why an item might not be right for the person who received it: wrong size, color, style, or silhouette. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the quality or functionality of your product.
When someone comes in to return an item, half the battle is won! They are already inside your store, making it easier for you to engage and convert them. The key to making the best of this situation is to understand what they don’t like about it; ask questions! You'll learn information that will help you recommend more appropriate products for them.
This process is a little more challenging for a strictly eCommerce business, since you’re not there to ask questions and recommend something else. But, it is still possible to turn their problem into an opportunity, and convert them into a raving fan of your brand.
Consider adding a product-recommendations section showcasing your most popular merchandise. You can add this feature throughout the various pages of the return process to catch their eye before they leave your site.
Another strategy some retailers use is to offer a discount on other items to their store to offset the return. Using any of these methods is bound to increase your chances of making the exchange net positive.
Another key component here is making the return feel easy, and uncomplicated. A simple, worry-free return process can leave a lasting impression on a customer. Even if it is their first time visiting your store, they are 75% more likely to return and buy something later if they find the return-process to be simple and seamless.
It is the nature of most industries that items ebb and flow into and out of style or season. Within fashion, beauty, and home decor especially, there may be items that, after the holidays, are no longer relevant and must be marked down.
Many consumers plan to shop after the holidays for that very reason! Make sure that your markdown goods are organized, easy to shop, and have all been ticketed with the current discount price – don’t make them do any math. The markdown racks will have flocks of bargain shoppers that get off on scoring a good deal.
Another popular tactic is to offer Buy-More-Save-More promotions to encourage shoppers to pick up multiple items.
All Winterwear (Sweaters, Jackets, Scarves, Gloves)
5% off All Purchases
10% off $100 or more
15% off $200 or more
20% off $500 or more
Some retailers instead choose to acknowledge that January and February are some of the coldest months of the year for some regions. They encourage people to get out of their homes with “Snow Day Specials⛄” or blast out an 🚨Exclusive Coupon Code🚨 their social media followers can use online or in store. Also, see #10. Q1 Holidays below!
6. Abandoned Cart Emails
In your eCommerce store, you can get updates on customers who added items to their cart but did not complete a purchase. You can use this information to send targeted ads and personalized emails. "Don't forget about these goods you left behind!" You can also send messages sharing similar or complementary products that a shopper might be interested in.
7. Post-Purchase Experience
After the holiday season, check in with your loyal customers. Are they are enjoying the product they bought recently? Follow up with recommendations of complimentary products they are most likely to want to drive even more sales.
Take a look at their profile, and send info that is relevant to them. If they bought a dress from you last month, send them recommendations for a scarf and boots to go with it. If they bought eye-shadow primer last month, send links to some gorgeous eye shadows or brushes. If they bought a career development book from you, send an update about your new titles in career development.
Sending personalized messages to your loyal customers about what they are missing out on (make them feel the F.O.M.O.), can help you connect with them emotionally, and elicit another purchase.
8. Order Tracking
Another critical component of the eCommerce Post-Purchase Experience is the period between when an order is placed and when it arrives at their door. Many retailers choose to email a tracking number with a link to the mail carrier so customers can check the status of their items.
The problem with this practice is that you are directing customers away from your site and giving up control. Today, retailers can leverage Enterprise-level capabilities by using tools like Tracktor. Post-purchase order-tracking solutions like this put control back in the hands of a merchant, giving your customers a place to track their orders in real time right on your website!
On average, most customers check their order status at least 4 times on Tracktor between when an order is placed and when it arrives. Merchants averaging +4 lookups per order saw a +114% increase in order volume over the same month the year prior!
Some of the valuable features of this app include product recommendations and a detailed analytics dashboard. These are great to drive brand loyalty, increase revenue, and gain valuable insights. Giving customers visibility to their order, and repeated exposure to your other products will translate to loyal customers who will return to your site again and again.
9. Marketing automation
In today’s tech-age, you can automate just about anything. With an online or physical store, you’ll likely have a list of customer email addresses that have shopped with you in the past. You can set up marketing automations, using tools like MailChimp, Klayvio, or Hubspot, ahead of time to help reduce the manual efforts of marketing in Q1. You can use these tools to send messages about new products, promotions, markdowns, and more!!
10. Q1 Holidays
Last, but not least, though Black Friday and Christmas are the biggest shopping holidays of the year, don’t forget about some other key hitters! MLK Day, Chinese New Year, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, or St. Patrick’s Day (check here for a list of holidays observed in the US). Most holidays in the minds of the consumer are synonymous with shopping promotions or getting a ‘good deal’.
Just because the “Holiday Season” is over, doesn’t mean your momentum has to slow down. Start planning a window display with pops of PINK and RED to inspire a romantic date night for Valentine’s Day. Create an on-floor display highlighting any RED items in your store for Chinese New Year.
Plan out your sales promotions for MLK Day, President’s Day, and create social content that you can share to promote it. Set up a fun display highlighting all of your GREEN merchandise in the week leading up to St. Patrick's Day! There are plenty of opportunities to encourage customers to visit your store and make a purchase.
Employing some or all of these strategies will help you keep the momentum rolling from the holidays right into the new year! Happy Q1, my friends! 🚀
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About the Author:
Taylor J. Daniel is a 13-year retail veteran, and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising, with additional focuses in Consumer Behavior and Business Management. Her career has largely been spent in corporate merchandising departments: analyzing data, managing inventory, devising investment strategies, and making product and marketing decisions.
After successfully managing over $50M worth of goods in a variety of categories for enterprise retailers such as Levi's, Old Navy, and Johnston&Murphy, Taylor now uses her expertise in retail planning to help SMB Retailers create thoughtful and calculated eCommerce and Merchandising strategies that deliver results.
"Retail has changed; what worked for you yesterday won't get the results you want tomorrow! I aim to provide the insights and strategies needed to be successful in today's ever-evolving retail landscape."
Taylor J. Daniel
Vice President | FOMO agency ™