Strategy

How to Dodge the Post-Holiday Ecommerce Sales Decline

Posted by Pixafy Team | Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Retailers relish the holiday shopping season, during which consumers pack ecommerce stores, intent on dropping hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars on gifts. Things were no different in 2018, with sellers in the states generating more than $720 billion in revenue between November and December, according to the National Retail Foundation. However, like most years, ecommerce sales are likely to slip this month, as Americans overcorrect to account for the litany of financial sins they committed in the name of holiday cheer. This is precisely what unfolded in January 2018 when sales fell following two consecutive months of high growth, analysts for the NRF found.

This is, of course, a problem for ecommerce companies. That said, these businesses are not doomed to watch their fourth-quarter gains erode in the new year. By adopting some easy-to-implement, post-holiday sales strategies, online sellers can dodge the revenue declines that commonly materialize in January.

Here we recommend four of these proven methodologies retailers can implement:

Launch special promotions

Special promotions can draw significant digital traffic if designed and deployed effectively. This reality does not change during the months immediately following the holiday season. However, sales efforts crafted to attract the masses are not ideal here, as the consumers who venture out into the online marketplace over this span normally do so for specific reasons. Sellers intending to launch special campaigns after the holidays must therefore take a targeted approach and roll out initiatives that connect directly with particular shoppers.

Shopify offered the example of promotions centered on the newly health-conscious who often materialize in the wake of the New Year. Sales of this kind target specific consumers who are incentivized to spend in the moment. Marketing toward gift card holders is another strong tactic, even for smaller ecommerce brands without their own shop credit-distribution programs. Open-loop certificates in form of prepaid Visa cards accounted for more than 20 percent of the gift credits purchased in December 2017, according to survey data from YouGov.

Reconnecting with customers via email campaigns can drive them to complete previously abandoned online purchases.

Generate online buzz

A good number of businesses withdraw from the social media realm following the frantic final weeks of the fourth quarter, even online retailers. Naturally, a pretty significant communication vacuum arises, according to research from Social Bakers. This, of course, presents an opportunity for sellers looking to bolster their sales in the wake of the holiday season, lending them an unobstructed channel for making strong connections with potential customers. Retailers that manage to own these quiet moments and drive engagement often see these efforts reflected in their financials, Inc. reported. How can retailers make this kind of bottom-line-building social media impact?

Simple posts that engage rather than sell are ideal, according to Sprout Social. Content like this cultivates community, starts conversation and gets customers interested, all without selling them on specific products. Some ecommerce companies even lean on topical posts that incorporate the latest internet memes and uncontroversial news items. These and other engagement methods are good options for digital sellers intent on taking advantage of the uncluttered post-holiday social media environment.

Reconnect with customers

The follow-up is an essential function of the sales process, allowing businesses to reconnect with and nurture hot leads. However, this technique translates well to other areas of the operation, including direct-to-consumer marketing efforts centered on existing patrons. This brand of outreach is ideal for the post-holiday ecommerce marketplace, as it gives sellers the opportunity to check in with customers who might have made purchases over the course of November and December, and may consider re-engaging for additional buys, CIO reported. Online retailers interested in pursuing this course of action have several options for reconnecting with customers, starting with the most common channel: email.

There are numerous kinds of marketing email templates but few are as effective as the so-called abandoned cart message, according to Shopify. These emails contain the contents of a given customer’s unprocessed online shopping cart, lending them the opportunity to re-examine their original decision to abandon the items and potentially close out the transaction. Analysts for the email marketing solutions provider Barilliance found that these messages generate almost 30 percent more revenue than alternative message types.

Refresh the online experience

Online brand transformations tend to draw in both existing customers and potential patrons. And this attention often translates to revenue, especially when web refreshment efforts involve demonstrable improvements to the online shopping experience. With this in mind, ecommerce businesses attempting to generate sales momentum in the period after the holiday shopping rush might consider embarking on website redesigns that pull customers in and keep them coming back for more.

Here at Pixafy, we work with digital retailers of all sizes pursuing web-based improvements of this kind, leveraging our award-winning e-commerce development expertise to produce online shopping experiences that engage customers and boost the bottom line, no matter the season. Connect with us today to learn more about our work and how we can help transform your ecommerce business to find success in the weeks and months following the holiday shopping season and beyond.