Off-Season Slump? 9 Ways to Stay Profitable Year Round
Posted May 17, 2018 by Anastasia Prokofyeva

Off-Season Slump? Here Are 9 Ways to Stay Profitable Year Round

What should you do during the off-season? You can let it pass and wait for profitable times, or you can try to stimulate sales.

There is a strict seasonal prevalence in some niches when the difference in profits runs up to 100%. Stores that sell Christmas decorations, Valentine’s cards, and Easter sets earn mostly during the holiday seasons. These products don’t find a quick sale during the rest of the year. You can’t fight seasonal prevalence in this case because you won’t be able to increase sales by much anyway.

However, if the difference in revenue during the peak season and the off-season is about 30-40%, it does make sense to work for profits. Here is how you can stimulate your sales during the off-season slump.

1. Add Seasonal Products

Pause to think during your peak sales — what are you going to offer your customers later? How much time and money will the reorientation of your business take?

Say you make and sell summer sandals. Then you can offer a cozy collection of slippers for winter.

Instagram hashtag

Summer is the time for music festivals, and Sephora reacted with special make up lines

Read more about trending products you can sell this summer.

2. Wake Up Your Long-Time Customers

Your “old friends” can help you during the off-season. Make a base of customers who ordered something from you several months or even a year ago. Remind them of your store with a mailshot:

Reminder email

Blissworld reminds customers that they might need to replenish some products and offers a discount to that

Set strict time frames for any offers — for example, a week, a month, until the product is in stock, or only for the first 50 customers.

3. Add Related Products

It’s always possible to offer related products. A bag goes with a storage case, shoes, a bracelet. Offer shoes or accessories to a dress. A laptop goes with a mouse, and a smartphone — with a case or a holder.

Related products don’t have to be cheaper than the main one. Try different options: inexpensive knickknacks, same-price products, and even pricey ones.

Related products

Asos doesn’t just show related products but offers to buy the whole look

You can recommend products to your customers using the Ecwid Control Panel and the related products option. Or use dedicated apps: Smart Recommendations and New Products and Bestsellers.

4. Work With Abandoned Carts

Bring back customers that put products in carts but didn’t buy them. There are several ways to do that, and sending an email is one of them.

Abandoned cart email

An example of an abandoned cart email from Doggyloot

According to our statistics, abandoned cart recovery emails in Ecwid help to recover 15% of abandoned orders. Based on your average order value, calculate how much more you can earn with this feature.

Check out incomplete orders in the Ecwid Control Panel in My Sales → Abandoned Carts, and don’t forget to set automatic recovery emails (available on the Business plan and higher).

If you want to go further, use trigger emails or retargeting.

Read how to reduce cart abandonment in your store.

5. Give Discounts to Use Later

Give your customers a discount coupon with every purchase that they can use several months later. For example, if you sell sportswear, lower the price of winter clothes during the summer season. If people buy swimsuits now, they will return to buy ski socks later, because they already have a discount for that.

Discounts to use later

Beatport gives a discount to use later

Don’t make the off-season a survival time. Think of it as an opportunity: you can build a base of future customers who will come back later to make bigger purchases.

6. Bring In a New Product

The off-season is not a bad moment for bringing in new products. You have more time to prepare the promotional campaign than you would have during the peak season when all you can think about is how to ship orders faster.

You can shoot a nice promotional video for your new product, make your product photography better, and prepare an intriguing set of Instagram posts.

New arrival email

A new product with a special offer from Lipsy London

7. Master a New Sales Channel

Now that you have fewer orders, there’s more time for the things you didn’t get around to during the peak season. It’s easier to promote your store on social media with more spare time on hands. You don’t have to scramble between orders and platforms. Use the momentum to set up a Facebook shop or work on Facebook ads.

Instagram hashtag

Look how Zara Home combines its website address and branded hashtag in one post to promote both

Or maybe you always wanted to start a YouTube channel for your online store? Looks like it’s time to do that.

Also: 7 Ways to Use Instagram to Promote Your Store

8. Improve Your Delivery

Inconvenient or long delivery is a solid reason to give up on a purchase. So consider adding more options to your standard delivery:

  • Express delivery. 49% of shoppers are more likely to buy something if there’s same-day delivery. If you can deliver orders fast, your store is the one customers choose.
  • Courier delivery. Next-day delivery is the most preferable option for online shoppers. And it is possible only with the help of courier services. Moreover, this option is a win for those who live outside the city and can’t pick up orders in the store.
  • Order pickup. 57% of customers prefer to buy online and pick up their order in the store. Avoiding shipping fees is the top reason why they do that. Read how you can make in-store pickups work even if you don’t have a physical store.

Are you done with the improvements? Tell your customers about it: put a banner on the website, share a post on social media, send a newsletter.

9. Sell Emotions

Positive emotions make products even more desirable, so we recommend turning to storytelling and using its power on your website, in your blog, newsletters, and on social media. It gives your product the image that customers remember and associate with something pleasant. When they have to choose between the usual jewelry or a piece with a “face,” be assured, they choose the latter.

Emotional ad example

River Island celebrated their 30th birthday with a campaign to show they believe labels are for clothes not people

Also, it is a satisfaction to know that some part of your money helps a good cause. If you support some charitable organizations, tell your customers about it, and better do it in numbers. For example: “This month our customers helped the animal shelter ‘Good boys’ to buy 10 bags of pet food. Ten well-fed dogs send you a huge ‘Thanks!’”

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What do you do to stimulate sales during the off-season? We are happy to hear your ideas in the comments.

About the author
Anastasia is a freelance author and writes about e-commerce, traveling, and lifestyle. In her spare time, she's a crazy cat lady and a chocolate addict.