After the excitement of Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah and the other winter holidays, January and February can be a grey, dreary slump for online stores. Offering a great deal is a good way to defeat the slump – but how do you know which deal to offer?
In January, everyone has great intentions – and no time. Freshly hungover on New Year’s Day, half the country is swearing to go to the gym more often, drink less, spend more time with family, lose weight and do better at work. Without, it transpires by the 15th, giving up takeaways or watching reality TV. While marketing circles have understood the connection between giving people time (saving time or asking them to invest time in a product) and increased sales, the link is particularly strong at this frantic time of year. Consider offering customers something that will either save them time or make their time spent worthwhile.
Know your Market
If you give your customers a great deal, will they stock up for the future (moving March sales into January), buy more than usual, or order from you rather than a competitor? In each case, the offer you provide will be different depending on whether you’re driving more business to your ecommerce site or trying to encourage existing customers to buy more. As an example, if biscuits are on sale, people eat more biscuits. But if bathroom cleaner is on sale, people don’t clean the sink more often!
Make it Measurable
If there’s one thing small businesses can easily learn from giants like Google and Amazon, it’s the importance of measuring results. Ecommerce stores have an advantage over bricks-and-mortar shops in that everything is measurable. With a bit of effort, you can track your customers’ paths through your site, and you should definitely be paying attention to which offers are being clicked and bought, which ads are being ignored and which deals just aren’t selling.
Test the Theory
Large firms do something called ‘A-B testing’, where they’ll show some customers a different offer or home page. In some cases, the changes can be minute, such as a different colour ‘buy’ button. Without hiring a dedicated team of developers and analysts, you can apply the same principles to your own ecommerce business. Landing pages, email newsletter offers and online ads are all easy ways to show different offers to different groups, letting you find out if your customers prefer a 2-for-1 or a half-price deal.
Make it a Good Deal and Profitable, too
This one’s so obvious, but when you’re considering dozens of marketing options it’s easy to forget the two fundamentals of ecommerce: a deal must be genuinely a good one, attractive to customers (particularly if you don’t want to be flamed on Twitter for suddenly raising the price of a product just before launching a “half-price sale”) and it must also make a profit for your company. We can’t nudge the market, but if you need any help with the technical side of online marketing, you know who to call.