‘Tis the season to be jolly. A cold yet cozy time of year—in Canada at least—when we find ourselves, more often than usual, enjoying the pleasures of giving, receiving, and just general celebration. But for many B2C companies, the holidays are also a lucrative time of year—one that typically accounts for between 20 and 40 per cent of their annual sales.
An abundance of discounts combined with the season’s emphasis on giving makes it easy for consumers to spend money during the holidays. But once the deals have subsided, particularly big sales events like Boxing Day and Cyber Monday, businesses often have a much harder time selling. In fact, during these “off times”, sales for businesses with some degree of seasonality usually see a decent decline.
But worry not! To help the startups, small businesses, and side-hustlers among you keep sales rolling all season long, I reached out to a few experts who graciously provided me with some nuggets of wisdom to share—what a gift!
1. Prioritize creating high-quality, relevant content
Consumers are inundated with ads, emails, gift guides and more during the holiday season—so how do you make sure yours stand out? Both Mike Maleszyk, Head of Growth at inkbox; and Kena Paranjape, co-founder of BRIKA and founder of All You Are; suggest that one of the best ways to catch customers’ eyes is through high-quality content.
After Cyber Monday, Maleszyk and Paranjape recommend immediately shifting from deal-focused content to gifting-focused content, and reminding consumers—42% of whom make purchases for themselves during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend—that the holidays are coming up and there are other people to shop for. Once holiday shopping has wrapped up (no pun intended) and Boxing Day has come to a close, continue to prioritize creating content that resonates with your audience. Creating content that your target customers actually want to look at and read helps keep you top-of-mind even once the seasonal discounts end because you’re offering them more than just a product. To do this effectively, try tapping into something timely—what happens during the winter that they care about and what do you have to say about it?
2. Consider extending your deals or offering perks
People love a good deal. It’s an undeniable truth.
I for one was convinced I wasn’t going to buy anything during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, but the deals moved me (so much so that I ended up with three, heavily discounted packages at my door). Extending deals post-Cyber Monday and Boxing Day can help convert customers that may have gotten distracted or overwhelmed by the season’s hustle and bustle and missed your initial discount. If you’re not keen on extending a sizeable sale, Fatima Zaidi, VP of Business Development here at Eighty-Eight and former Director of Business Development at Rent Frock Repeat, suggests getting creative with your promotions—offer a discount on certain bundles of products rather than on every item, for example.
And if extending your discounts isn’t an option, consider providing perks like loyalty points, free product samples, and swag to your most engaged audience members and return customers. According to Maleszyk, doing both of these things (extended sales and offering perks) has helped inkbox maintain its sales momentum throughout the season.
3. Optimize your mobile experience
This Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, Shopify merchants alone collectively made $1.5 billion USD in sales, 66% of which happened on mobile. Mobile shopping is very quickly becoming the new norm, yet Zaidi has found that the number of companies without mobile-friendly sites or with sites that are mobile-friendly but not user-friendly, is astounding.
At all times of year, but especially during transaction heavy times like the holidays, it’s important not to create distance between you and your audience by making it harder for them to access your product. And sure, creating an amazing mobile site is easier said than done—it can be a massive undertaking that requires a lot of time and money—but if your website is already hosted on a decent POS system, like Shopify, it isn’t hard to create a simple mobile-friendly version quickly.
4. If your business has a longer sales cycle, prioritize new business and warm leads
If you’re running a company with a longer sales cycle, like a B2B startup or SaaS platform, you’re probably not seeing revenue boosts as a result of holiday spending. That’s totally normal. But these kinds of businesses can also experience slowing sales during this time of year so Shauna O’Flaherty, Senior Business Development Lead at Dessa, suggests that to combat the winter downturn, companies with longer sales cycles should try to ramp up new business outreach and client meetings. People tend to be in a great mood this time of year, so use it as an opportunity to get as much face time with current and potential customers as possible.
While sales dropping after the holiday shopping frenzy is completely normal, maybe 2019 is the year to try putting these savvy tips to work in an effort to keep those sales coming in.