It’s always a bittersweet feeling when the holidays are over. Going back to work, leaving family, and braving the cold winter conditions provide many with post-holiday blues. Getting back into rhythm with a defined schedule is cathartic to many, but the post-holiday season leaves many people feeling, well, down and out.
Especially retailers. The holiday season provides sellers with massive boosts in sales, and 2015 was no exception. There was actually a 20% increase in online sales from 2014, making it the most successful season on record. The coming months, however, are a different story. Retailers are busy, but for different reasons. Instead of making money, many lose money during this period because of customer returns.
There were plenty of ways you can keep customers coming back to your store for something other than returns after the holiday season, like bonus cash at the time of checkout to be used in a few weeks. But sometimes we don’t capitalize on opportunities, and many view the post-holiday season as a time of increased costs.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. It might be the middle of winter, but you can still shred that holiday wave of success and get your new year started on the right foot. We’ve put together 5 ways you can capitalize on the post-holiday blues and keep your holiday momentum going well beyond Valentine’s Day
Capitalize on Returns
No one likes returning gifts. The consumer views it as a headache, and the retailer views it as a loss, especially when they have to cover return shipping costs. Many shoppers choose to opt out of the return process in general, resulting in 2 million tons of merchandise thrown away every year. Make sure your process isn’t one that makes gift recipients opt to simply throw away your products.
Gift receipts are great ways to keep the transaction’s money within your store. But if you offer seamless returns (ie able to return to a physical store), you can offer upsells and cross-sells directly to the shopper. If you lack a physical setting, offer printable return labels to the gift recipient to save them time and frustration.
Offer Quirky Off-Time Sales
This is why you should consider doing some quirky online sales during this weird transition period between vacation and real life. Capitalize on the sentiment with a “treat yourself” sale, an opportunity for those who purchased gifts to finally get something they didn’t get during the holidays. Or offer “rainy-day” online sales to your customers to accommodate the nasty weather. The personalization is a nice touch, and it gives them something to get excited about when they’d rather not leave the house.
Pay Attention to Social
Plenty of consumers are going to take to their social media accounts with feedback for their shopping and return experiences with your brand. Pay attention to what they’re saying, whether it’s good or bad. You can use this information to help improve the shopping experience on your site, or you can put out potential fires that can come from an unsatisfactory purchase experience.
Everyone is so eager to get into stores during the holiday season, your employees have to face mobs of shoppers. But it’s almost the opposite after the holidays. Store personnel have to deal with returns, but you aren’t increasing revenue. That doesn’t have to be true, though. You can use information gained during the holiday season to build loyalty today.
Using the email addresses you collected during the holidays, reach out to those who have already shopped on your store with limited time discount codes. That way you can build a sense of urgency to get shoppers back to your store for one more sale before the hype from the holiday season is completely put to rest until next fall.
Try Something New
We all make New Year’s resolutions as an attempt to put us outside of our comfort zone and focus on self-improvement. Have you considered doing the same with your business? Try a new pricing strategy, like dynamic pricing. That way you can make sure your prices are continuously optimized to be competitive and profitable.
You can also try to redesign your website to put a refreshing spin on your brand. Take the “New Year, new me” mentality to heart and offer your shoppers a different store layout and design and measure the results. It will build hype, and gives you a reason to promote your store on different channels.
The holidays might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still spread cheer. The post-holiday slump might be affecting your store right now. But instead of letting it drive down morale, capitalize on it to build loyalty, gain new customers, and improve your sales year over year.
Contributing Writer: Brian Smyth