Not all months of the year can bring in record-breaking sales for your e-commerce business. Of course, there are always going to be some downtimes or slow seasons which you, as a business owner, have to make sure you’re prepared for.
Nonetheless, while these slow months may often mean low sales and less revenue, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, there are a number of things you can do during these periods to make the most of the situation. And in this article, we’ll discuss 10 of those things to prep and help you power through the e-commerce slow season.
When Exactly Is this Slow Season?
According to CedCommerce, the slowest months in e-commerce when it comes to sales are typically January, February, and March. And this is likely due to a number of reasons such as post-holiday lulls, inclement weather, and lower consumer spending.
Of course, the e-commerce slow season can look different for every business depending on a number of factors such as your niche, location, industry, product type, and more. So while the months of January to March may be the general e-commerce slow season, your particular business may have its own unique one which you have to keep an eye on.
What’s the Big Deal About It?
Alright, but what does a slow season exactly entail? And more importantly, why should you care?
Well, for one, a slow season generally means lower sales volume which can have a direct impact on your business’s bottom line. Additionally, it can also be a tougher time to acquire new customers and keep existing ones engaged.
On top of that, you may also have to deal with increased competition as other businesses in your industry start ramping up their marketing efforts to try and make up for the lull in sales.
So yes, the slow season can be pretty tough on businesses. But that doesn’t mean you have to just sit back and watch the ship go down. There are things you can focus on to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side. And without further ado, here are 10 of them.
#1 Analyzing Your Sales Data
While monitoring your sales and analytics is something you should be doing on a regular basis, the slow season can give you the chance to really dig deep and analyze the data in greater detail, sans the rush and pressure.
This is the time when you can take a step back, look at the big picture, and identify any patterns or trends in your sales. Doing so can help you make more informed decisions about your business as a whole and better prepare for future slow seasons.
#2 Reevaluating Your Product Lineup & Inventory
After checking out your sales and other relevant analytics, reassessing your product lineup and inventory should be your next step.
This is the time to get rid of any underperforming or unprofitable products and focus on the ones that are selling well. You may also want to consider increasing your inventory of these items to meet customer demand and avoid any stock-outs.
On the other hand, if you find that certain products just aren’t selling at all, this may be the time to discontinue them altogether.
Can’t Keep Track of Your Inventory?
If keeping track of your inventory and maintaining accurate stock levels is proving to be a challenge for your business, maybe it’s time to consider going for the print-on-demand model. If you’re selling merch or custom items mostly to individuals, this could be a great option for you to explore. A fulfillment partner like Awkward Styles can take care of pretty much everything for you from printing and shipping to customer service and returns, so all you have to worry about is promoting your products.
#3 Focusing on the Customer Experience
During the peak seasons, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of the whole purchasing process your shoppers go through. But now that you’ve got more time on your hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to refocus your efforts on delivering an exceptional customer experience.
This can involve anything from streamlining your website and checkout process to simplifying your return policy and beefing up your customer service.
You can also use this time to get feedback from your customers directly so you can learn more about their likes, dislikes, and what they want to see from your business in the future.One great way to do this is by surveying your customers or reaching out to them directly via email or social media. You can also check out online review sites like Yelp and see what people are saying about your business there.
#4 Improving Your Lead Generation Strategy
The slow months are the best time to prepare for war. Or in this case, the next peak season. This is when you should focus on improving your lead generation strategy so you can hit the ground running when things start picking up again.
There are a number of ways you can go about this, but some of the most effective methods include setting up lead capture forms and running targeted ad campaigns.
If your audience are mostly from the younger generations such as millennials and gen z’s, you can also create fun online quizzes through software like LeadQuizzes. These can not only engage your existing audience but also help you generate more leads at the same time.
#5 Stepping Up Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
How are your engagements and conversions on social media looking? Are your IG posts getting as many likes as they used to? Do your images still align with your brand identity and stop scrollers in their tracks? It’s important to keep your social media presence fresh, so if you think your strategy could use an update, now’s the time to do it.
Revamping your social media strategy can include anything from creating more engaging and visually appealing content to running targeted ads and using relevant hashtags. You can also use this time to experiment with different types of content and see what works best for your business and audience.
Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on social media marketing for eCommerce businesses.
#6 Working on Your SEO
Focusing on your SEO is now more important than ever, especially if you want to make sure your website is ranking high on Google when people start searching for your products again.
Apart from making sure your social media posts have the right hashtags and keywords, there are a number of technical aspects of SEO you can work on during the slow months. This includes things like site speed, optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, and setting up Google Search Console.
You can also use this time to create more in-depth blog posts and articles so you have a solid foundation of content to draw from when you start promoting your products. Just make sure each piece of content is SEO-friendly and includes relevant keywords.
#7 Making Your Store Mobile-Friendly
Also now called “m-commerce”, shopping through mobile devices is only going to become more popular in the years to come. In fact, its retail sales just crossed $359.32 billion in the past year, a 15.2% increase from 2020. This means if your store isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Making your store mobile-friendly can entail either optimizing your website for mobile devices or actually creating a mobile app. You can also make sure your checkout process is as streamlined as possible so customers can complete their purchases without any friction. For example, you can start adding more mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay so customers can pay with a few taps using their smartphones.
#8 Focusing on Email Marketing
Remember the leads you generated in number 4? It’s time to put them to good use.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience, and it can be especially useful during the slow months. You can use this time to build out your email list and create a series of automated email sequences to nurture your leads and convert them into customers.
This can involve anything from sending out a series of welcome emails to running abandoned cart campaigns and offering vouchers. You can also use this time to create more personalized email content and experiment with different types of subject lines, images, and CTAs to connect better with your audience.
#9 Generating User-Generated Content
Did you know that 92% of shoppers trust viva voce or word of mouth more than any other type of marketing?
This is why user-generated content (UGC) can be your best friend during both the good and bad times. UGC is essentially any content created by your customers or followers, and it can include anything from product reviews and testimonials to social media posts and blog comments.
The great thing about UGC is that it’s free, and it can be a powerful way to build social proof and boost your sales. Nowadays, millennials trust UGC 50% more than posts created by the brands themselves. Thus, it’s worth incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy, whether it’s through IG and TikTok challenges, Twitter hashtags, or customer review platforms.
#10 Joining In-person Events & Tradeshows
The slow season can also be the perfect time to literally go out there and meet people. By attending in-person events, bazaars, and tradeshows, you can connect with potential customers and build relationships with other business owners in your industry.
Not only will this help you generate leads, but it will also give you a chance to get feedback about your products or services in real-time. You can use this feedback to improve your offerings, and it’s also a great opportunity to test out new product ideas. Just make sure you’re prepared with plenty of business cards, flyers, and other marketing materials.
Don’t Let the Slow Months Get You Down!
That’s right! With a little bit of planning and some creative thinking, you can make the most of the slow season and use it to your advantage. The key is to keep your chin up, focus on your goals, and constantly move forward. You got this!
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