Let’s say you’re an owner of an ecommerce brand: you’ve been investing money in paid ads every season to increase sales, but you’re finding the ROI just isn’t there.
Are you complementing your paid strategies with organic ones?
As an ecommerce owner, you’ve probably felt the struggle of trying to get noticed by customers in the online sea of up-and-coming stores. We know it can be hard to make your brand stand out, especially during on-and-off seasons, holidays, and other important dates. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves for turning seasonal sales into ways to find new repeat customers and bring other ones back.
If you’re offering a loyalty program, you’re already ahead of the game! But, here’s a few other organic ways you can tackle seasonal sales as an ecommerce owner.
Source: LAC Swim
Make scalable predictions for that season or holiday
Before anything else, you should set targeted goals and come up with a detailed plan for achieving them. Make predictions for how you expect each season to perform in sales, how discounts and seasonal sales will impact these predictions, and more. Have a clear idea of where you think your brand will make the most ROI so you don’t have to panic in the off-seasons.
When you set these estimates and targets, you can monitor how your brand actually performs during these seasons and keep reports. This way, you can have accurate expectations moving forward. Always measure your success so you can adapt your plans for the upcoming seasons and year.
All of this will help you make yearly forecasts for traffic, advertising costs, buyer intent, and best-selling times. Overall, you’ll be more organized.
Create a holiday calendar
It’s helpful to visually map out when people are most likely to shop. This is where your previous predictions and reports will come in handy. Having a good idea of when your customers are likely to make big purchases in the year will help you make better-informed decisions about when you should update your stock and promote it on your social channels.
Keep in mind the big holidays, like Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other national dates that could lead to more purchases for your brand. A holiday calendar will help you plan targeted campaigns that’ll match the season and what your customers expect of you during that time.
Utilize your social channels
Any sale you’re having should be promoted on all your social media channels. Social media is where the majority of your customers live, so it’s the best medium to update them on your brand and products. With social media, you can share videos, pictures, and host giveaways to get people excited about shopping with you. Keep in mind popular hashtags around the season that you can use to increase your traffic organically!
Beauty Emporium uses Instagram to share pics of their products, and they use hashtags that are product-specific, like #ShowerGel, #RefreshYourself, #PlantationShowerGel, and more. They also make use of Instagram’s story feature, so they’ve compiled story buckets based on healing, holidays, sales, trending, and more. This is a great way to organically tackle seasonal sales since you can create posts, hashtags, and stories that relate to the season to increase engagement.
Don’t forget about email for campaigns. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an estimated ROI of $42. Email marketing has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience. With segmentation, work flows, and drip campaigns, it’s easy to personalize your email messages to match each audience’s preferences, especially when you’re working with seasonal sales to get customers engaging with that holiday.
Offer special incentives for loyalty members
You have a loyalty program for a reason: to increase customer retention. This is why your loyalty program can work as a great organic way for you to tackle seasonal sales. You can get the most out of your loyal customers by offering perks such as early access to sales, a certain percentage off for loyalty members or tiered members, bonus point campaigns to generate more activity with your loyalty program and sales, and more. All of these actions will get people to engage with your brand, and you can do any of them even when it’s not peak season.
Partner with other organizations
A recent trend with ecommerce brands is to partner with other organizations. For example, there are many apparel stores that give back to certain non-profit organizations that align with their brand’s messaging. Partnering with others is a great opportunity for your store to tackle seasonal sales because it can increase your brand awareness, repeat purchase rate, and customer acquisition rate when people feel like they are doing something positive for another group by purchasing your products.
Take a look at Origins Apparel, for example. As part of their mission statement, they say:
“We're here to revive the animals that need our help to rebalance ecosystems around the world. For every 10 items sold, we will adopt an endangered animal! We donate to the World Wildlife Fund but we're constantly looking for other charities to support. This is just the beginning.”
Origins Apparel is just one example of how your brand can do something nice for an organization and appeal to a specific set of customers at the same time. You can also take it one step further by offering these types of promotions around specific holidays and national dates. One National Puppy Day, you could promote a certain percentage of your sales being donated to dog shelters or other animal organizations.
Partnering with a like-minded organization is a great way to keep customers coming back all year-round!
Know your hottest seasons
Every type of ecommerce store has an on- and off-season. If you have reports from purchases from previous years, you should be able to make an educated guess about when the hottest season is for your brand. When do customers make the most purchases? Is there a specific month or season that you see an increase in traffic and sales? Whenever you see that peak, that time can be considered your hot season.
It's especially important for niche brands to take advantage of their on-seasons. For example, gardening, outdoor gear, fitness apparel, and other niche markets all have a season where people are more likely to shop. Marketing your items in the wrong season won’t help you with sales when you’re trying to reach people in a season where they don’t need your products.
For example, think about swimwear brands: it’s difficult for them to make sales in the winter time because people aren’t typically wearing swimsuits at this time. That’s why they can plan their campaigns and promotions around times where they know they’re more likely to make sales, and they can host sales in their off-season to make some profit during those times.
Create seasonal contests and giveaways
Hosting a contest or giveaway is a great way to win back old customers, and it’s beneficial to get your customers to engage with your brand in an off-season. Contests and giveaways are also the perfect opportunity to get customers excited about your products when you host them around a specific date, season, or holiday. This is where your holiday calendar will come in handy. Hosting giveaways to celebrate certain dates, like International Women’s Day, give customers a reason to relate to an experience you’re highlighting, which in turn will motivate them to engage with your brand to enter the contest.
Focus on the customer experience rather than the point of sale
Sure, sales are a great way to grab the attention of customers, but there’s a way you can communicate the message of a sale that goes beyond the fact that you’re trying to make a profit. To explain, highlighting the benefits of the experience customers will have by engaging with your brand is a better value proposition than just the sale price alone.
Georgia Kate Boutique does this well on their Instagram by sharing their sale items with a strong value proposition. In their messaging, they talk about how the shirt is perfect for all seasons, how it can be worn, the fabric, and elegant design. All of these are strong reasons someone would be interested in the shirt that’s beyond the fact it’s a marked-down item. Giving customers a meaningful reason to shop your sale will increase conversions during these sale periods. These messages can be put on your social channels or on your sale page on your ecommerce website.
- Make reports on performance so you can make predictions in the future.
- Create a holiday calendar so you can plan sales/campaigns.
- Use your social media and email to make seasonal posts to increase engagement.
- Offer incentives specifically to loyalty program members.
- Partner with other organizations and nonprofits to reach new audiences.
- Take advantage of your hottest seasons.
- Offer contests and giveaways around specific seasons, holidays, and national dates.
- Focus on your customers rather than your sales.
This article originally appeared in the Smile.io blog and has been published here with permission.