Christmas + January sales = The mid-January lull.
But don’t panic! There are things that you can implement now to prepare to tackle the January lull this December.
We know that January is a dreaded month (#TheJanuaryBluesAreReal), and we know that as a Small Business owner it can be a particularly difficult time for sales:
😴 You’re no doubt exhausted from the Christmas rush (especially for those of you that are product-based business owners)
😨 You’re overwhelmed by the New Year, new start mentality … not ideal during the month known as the ‘Slump in Sales Month’.
😣 And you’re already worried about the most unpredictable economy we’ve had in a while.
So, ID&EA have put together some researched advice to help you and your SME avoid the January blues. You can skip straight to the relevant category for you by using the menu below:
Advice for Product-based businesses
Have a SALE!
Bye-bye to seasonal stock that will clutter up our storage space until next year if you don’t sell it now—you know what I’m talking about.
Remember: you don’t have to sell everything. Stock that you will be able to sell all year round doesn't need to be shifted, focus your sales on the items that are harder to sell or ones that you won’t be restocking in the new year.
Do you have a new offering for 2023?
Let your customers know that you’re still hanging onto some Christmas generosity and spirit by giving special offers on your new products.
You can give out samples of the new item on orders over a certain price --or even all orders if you have that extra bit of goodwill hanging around.
Or, if it’s not a sampleable product, you could include a flyer or a note in all of your packaging about your new release.
Get as many people as excited as possible for the product ahead of the launch to help make it a success.
Abandoned cart recovery
We all love an online browse when shopping, so much so, we tend to browse more than we buy (I’m guilty as charged for this!). We buyers put lots in our baskets but don’t always complete the sale on everything… particularly in the new age of tightening our purse strings.
But that doesn’t mean your business has to miss out on a sale.
Shopify has said that “69.57% of online shopping carts are abandoned”, with WIX you can take advantage of abandoned cart recovery systems. So, when shoppers abandon their cart, you can re-target them with ads and “retrieve 25% of your visitors”. You can set up automations on your WIX site that will collect the data and do this for you!
If you need help doing this, we can set this up on your WIX site for you.
Prepare for returns
Some returns are inevitable. From a family member choosing the wrong thing to perhaps your product not quite living up to its expectations -- whatever the reason, returns are to be expected after a period of such high sales like Christmas.
Organise your returns procedure. Take notes of which items were returned the most (perhaps that product needs a re-think) and reach out to your customers for feedback on why they made the return.
Most retailers expect a 15% return rate from online shoppers, but this will fluctuate depending on your business and its size.
Tip: To avoid numerous returns in the future analyse your product transparency. Make sure you provide good information about your product and who it is suitable for in the description, as well as quality product photography.
Advice for Service-based businesses
New Year, New goals: Take advantage of the fact that most people are ready for a fresh start and ready to change things up.
Perhaps they are ready to learn something new, try a new method, or are ready to ease their workload with some outsourcing.
Whatever it is that you offer, January is the PERFECT time to be reaching out to new customers --AND checking in with old leads.
Here are our recommended ways to reach out:
📞 Offer a free call: Use the lull to speak to prospective clients. They can find out more about your biz before committing (which they are more likely to do after a call).
🎯 Ads: Create some Ads so that you are visible.
💬 Attend networking events: Meet with fellow business owners. You can offer each other support. Your services could be just what they are looking for, or if not, they might even recommend you to someone who is.
Reoccurring payment plan
This is a great way to lock in regular payment and spread it out over the tricky months. Next year you could offer a 3-month-lock-in promotion on your service next November to cover the January lull.
Remember: You don’t have to wait till next year, if you think it will be beneficial to your biz, you could start this now!
Advice for Event-based businesses
Get booked up
We might sound like a broken record here, but forward planning is key.
Even though you might have a couple of quiet months ahead of you, now is the time to be busy putting dates in the diary for the upcoming year 2023/24.
You can follow up on previous enquiries, or even ask previous customers if they would like to repeat their event next year.
The January lull is a great time to do some self-promo and show off what a great year of events you have had.
“Research shows that 50 or more customer reviews of a product canincrease the conversion rate by 4.6%”: Share highlights photos and reshare some of your many raving reviews to put in the groundwork for future bookings.
In January, most people are challenging themselves to be more productive. Show them your list of events so far for the year ahead and encourage them to book up before they get caught up in the business of the New Year.
Some Final Advice to SME Owners
January is a month where most of us just don't have that much of a budget, depending on the price of your product offering you might want to focus on offering payment plans or following up with potential customers in February.
Make peace with the idea that you may not make as much as you do in other months - it's okay. We can't be running at full cylinders all the time, use this time to schedule in some self-care.
Take the positives; focus on lead generation, and make sure to set yourself up for the months ahead.
Set some time aside to reflect on what worked and what you managed to achieve in the past year.
Good luck! Natalia x