The holiday season is long gone and as spring begins to turn into summer, sales slowly begin to decrease. So how do you keep momentum moving forward in a slow market? Merchants are constantly looking for new ways to incentivize their customers to spend during the slow seasons to help their bottom line. And slow seasons have the potential to overall negatively affect your business in several ways. Slow sales give competitors the chance to move in on your target market and make you less current within your community.
Therefore, during a slow season you should reach out to existing loyal customers, give out great deals to new and existing customers, and ramp up your marketing efforts to put your name back on the map. It is normal to feel like business is slow after a holiday or high season, but remember your business needs a strong cash flow cycle to survive. Understanding your peak and slow seasons can help you prepare your business better. It is possible to take advantage of slow seasons because they are a great time to clean your business up and get organized, but it is also possible to kick-start your slow season and get those sales back up.
5 Strategies to Counteract Slow Sales
1. Offer Freebies
Have you ever noticed how Sephora always gives their customers free samples of their products with every purchase? Then you have also probably noticed that Sephora doesn’t really have a slow season. People love free stuff no matter what it is, and chances are if they are shopping or using your business, they already like your products. Offering samples of products with purchase is one of the greatest marketing ideas to increase sales. Giving your customers freebies also makes them feel valued and important. It is a great way to give back to them and show how much you appreciate them. You are much more likely to get new customers if you market your freebies, as well. For instance, “For a limited time only, get a free sample of the product of your choice when you buy two more…” takes your products a long way due to the limited time reference and psychology behind it. Plus, freebies offer your clients an opportunity to try products they haven’t tried before.
2. Start Having Pop-Up Sales
Sales often spark a go season. The idea of a pop-up sale is that it is unadvertised, which means that your customers have to check in your store to see if you’re having a sale. If you start having pop-up sales once a month, customers and clients are more likely to come into your store more often just in case there is a sale. So, getting your customers in the door is half the work of increasing sales and counteracting slow sales.
You can also have pop-up sales on your website. A lot of different companies like UNIF and Mikoh Swimwear use their social media platforms to announce random two days sales and give out promotion codes. It is an inexpensive marketing technique to drive sales traffic. Discounts on inventory that you are having a hard time moving is another great way to motivate consumers to buy.
3. Incorporate Rewards Programs
Rewards programs like “Buy 10 sandwiches and get the 11th free” can really boost your sales because it requires your customers to buy more of your product than they might normally for the opportunity to get a free one. The Juice Shop in San Francisco offers this type of rewards program by giving their customers a card that gets stamped for every juice they purchase. This can also give you a step up above your competition that might not offer programs like this for their loyal customers. Rewards programs are just another inexpensive way to market your business and gain new customers by offering a valuable freebie.
4. Create a Referral Program
Referral programs are a great way for you to gain new customers and reward your loyal customers who recommended your business. There are many options when creating a referral program. You can reward your customers directly with cash or you could offer them discounts or free products as reward for their referrals. You should also reward the referee as well, which is another huge incentive for them to actually shop at your store. Remember your existing customer base is your best source for garnering new clients because they have experience with you and your products. And when they keep coming back, that means they like your service or products.
5. Throw an Open House or Event
Another effective way to bring customers back into your store and boost sales when business is slow is to throw an open house at your business. Doing so allows you to invite your best customers to an event where you can showcase your products. It is a great way to give back to your clients as well because you can give them gift bags or even set up a buffet. Open houses also draw in new customers because they are usually done at night, with music and have a fun feel to them. Any type of event can draw people into your store, so also think about throwing special events for the spring time holidays like Memorial Day or Cinco de Mayo. Events can turn into annual things and become quite popular within local communities, so be sure to advertise yours with posters and flyers and especially boost it on your businesses social media platforms. In fact, Facebook allows you to create Events and invite all the people who follow your business.
Offering freebies, pop-up sales, reward and referral programs, and open houses and events can really help market your business during the slow season. So if you want to increase your sales and make something out of the normally drab post-holiday season be sure to look into all the different ways you can incentivize your customers and incorporate marketing ideas to increase sales. Being creative in the ways you reach out to your customers can really pay off in the long run and help your bottom line. Always keeping your cash flow cycle in mind when making decisions about buying inventory and creating sales and events is crucial to the survival of your business as well, so don’t forget about alternative lending solutions like Kabbage!