Last updated: 4 ways to take the edge off the winter retail slowdown

4 ways to take the edge off the winter retail slowdown

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With the holidays behind us, online retailers can turn their attention to the inevitable winter slowdown. For many, these months are the slowest. And while November and December set records again, the drop-offs common, and, if you’re not careful, it can set the tone for the rest of the year.

Here are some proven steps you can take to stay ahead of the game in the coming months.

Help your customers meet their goals

How many of the items you sell can be related to popular New Year’s resolutions? If the answer is none, can you add new items that fit this requirement? The majority of us wish for a healthier lifestyle, more fitness and less stress, smarter eating choices, less TV and more books. Often, when we make these resolutions, we go shopping.

We sign up for the gym again. We buy more salad. We start a new book. What we do about these resolutions can often contribute to a post-holiday bump in your sales. You just need to figure out which products in your portfolio can be positioned to take advantage of this, and then remind your customers of the goals they set for the coming year with promotions timed for the winter months.

Monetize returns and exchanges

Smart retailers know that a phone line, an easy web-form or a live-chat feature can help guide your customers to an alternative product instead of a complete refund. So set up live communication options for your site visitors and focus on acing the return process.

Even if you dont sell a lot, the customer satisfaction will provideROI in the long run. As Zappos (and many others) have proven time and again, free shipping and free returns will drive a lot of sales. So offer free shipping, or other incentives if the customer chooses to go with another item, instead of a refund. Make sure you know when most of the calls will come in and have well-trained customer service available during these times.

Better yet call it the customer loyalty team, instead of customer service. This simple name change can go a long way towards changing the mindset of your client-facing employees.

The time of the gift card

For many retailers, post-holidays is the time when the highest number of gift cards are used. To maximize sales, some adjustments to the user experience might be helpful. For instance, you can make it easy and intuitive for shoppers to check their gift-card balances and to use them during checkout.

This will help reduce friction, shopping cart abandonment, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Maximize average order value (AON)

Encourage shoppers to buy more each time they shop. This is a proven method to boost revenue and profitability. Brick-and-mortar retailers have perfected the halo effect. In short, this effect is the bias displayed by shoppers, towards certain products, because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same brand. Or sold in the same store.

How to leverage this during the early winter months? Some tricks include creative product bundling, customer-rewards programs and active segmentation. Depending on your e-commerce platform capabilities, you can build a number of active segments based on amount of money spent previously, referral source (search referrer, social media, marketing referrer, etc.), or actions.

You can have segments based on shoppers who visit certain category or product page, or add item to a shopping cart, share item on social, etc. Maximizing average order value is an excellence habit, worth employing throughout the whole year.

Happy customers.
Connected experiences.
See real-life retail outcomes HERE.

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