Planning for Revenue After the Holidays

For many online retailers, the Christmas shopping season is the busiest time of the year for traffic and sales. Now that the peak season is past, you are probably thinking about what you want to do during the traditionally slower months at the beginning of the New Year. Having a plan is crucial if you wish to generate sales, so here are a few suggestions to consider as you plan for converting post-Christmas visits to you site into sales.

Do you want to offer discounts?

Your first step in developing a plan is to decide on your goal for what you wish to accomplish during the post-holiday period. If your goal is to reduce excess inventory of items that did not sell during the Christmas rush, you may want to offer discounts on those items. Similarly, if you need more cash flow, you might decide to offer discounts to raise cash quickly. Conversely, if you don’t need a cash infusion and don’t have excess inventory, you might want to concentrate on maintaining healthy profit margins, so offering discounts under that scenario would not be appropriate. You need to consider these factors when deciding whether to offer post-holiday discounts.

What can you offer in addition to discounts?

Even if you decide that discounts are appropriate, you should also consider what else you could offer customers to help foster long-term relationships. Perhaps you could focus on providing outstanding customer service after the sale, and perhaps you could combine the purchase of a product with a promotion. Your goal should be using that sale to give the customer a reason to keep on coming back to your site, and it’s probably best to offer more than just a low price to cement the relationship.

Can you sell complementary products?

Look at the products that customers bought during the Christmas rush and send them a follow-up email with an offer to buy items that complement those purchases or are accessories. For example, if a customer bought a game console, you could follow up with an offer to buy more games for that console, or if a customer bought a new winter jacket, you could send an offer to purchase gloves or a scarf. Your customers might not want to purchase unrelated new products after Christmas, but they might be willing to buy something they could use with a previous purchase.

Can you use the return process to generate additional sales?

Expect customers to return items after Christmas since many items are purchased as gifts, and wrong sizes and duplicate gifts are common. You want to keep your customers happy, so you want to make the return process as easy as possible. However, you might be able to both help your customers and generate additional revenue. For example, you could give your customers a choice of a refund for the return or a store credit of 10%-15% more than the cost of the item if they make a purchase in January. This way, you prevent having negative cash flow from giving a refund for a previous purchase.

Even the slow times after the holidays can benefit from planning.

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