The new year is traditionally a busy time for retailers. Shoppers are no longer in a rush to buy gifts for loved ones, and can instead focus on buying for themselves, and are further encouraged to continue spending by the January sales. However, as we continue on in one of the strangest periods of our generation, shopping is no longer a top priority for many. As a business owner, however, you may be feeling the pinch from a slower festive period, and desperate to maximise your sales as much as possible, especially after the tumultuous year we’ve had.
Thanks to the constantly-changing rules regarding which businesses are allowed to remain open, and the uncertainty over when lockdown will end, it’s important that you’re prepared for any and every scenario in the new year. You’re probably going to be concentrating more on the online side of your business than in previous years, so it’s a good idea to invest in your online marketing in order to maximise your sales as much as possible.
Plan an informed sales campaign
Using data and analytics from the past couple of years, take this time to explore what is realistically achievable for your business. Take a look back at your January campaigns from 2020 and 2019, and ask yourself what worked well and what may not have had as much success as you hoped, and use this information to plan out what you could do differently this year. Being thorough and precise with this data is perhaps more important than ever in 2021, as you may have taken a hit from the pandemic.
Completing a cashflow forecast to see how much your business is projected to make can help you plan out any sales, package deals, and pricings. There are a number of software packages available to help you keep this as accurate as possible, such as SAP, which you may already be using to keep track of your business processes. SAP Analytics Cloud planning allows you to load your invoice history into the model to run a cashflow forecast prediction, influencing your eventual campaign.
Once you’ve finalised your campaign and created a strategy you’re happy with, you should start creating the content sooner rather than later. Whether it’s in the form of videos, blog posts, social media adverts, or newsletters, finish as much of it as you can so you’re not left rushing at the last minute. SAP Analytics Cloud also allows you to check customer demographics and behaviour, which can influence the type of content you produce. Many SAP providers offer hints and tips on how to get the most out of your software to build the most informative campaign.
Coordinate advertising across all platforms and channels
As your existing and potential new customers will be shopping online across a huge number of platforms, you want your brand to be visible across as many of them as possible. Keeping these adverts consistent helps build your brand identity, making your content more easily recognisable to any viewers. It’s also been reported that customers spend three times more with multi-channel campaigns than single-channel shoppers, demonstrating that this financial and time investment is clearly worthwhile.
Posting the same content across your platforms helps keep your marketing campaign consistent, though that you may need to tweak it slightly, depending on the channel you’re using — for example, you could share shorter clips of a television advert on your social media channels. It’s important to ensure that all the information about sales and prices remains consistent across all channels to avoid unnecessary confusion amongst your audience.
Optimise your website
Take this opportunity to go through your website and make any edits to optimise the copy with keywords, or even to make the experience more user friendly. Ensuring your website is well optimised for search engines is crucial now more than ever, as you want to be visible for any customers who may be searching for your products. Go through and edit any content to update them with keywords if needed, keeping your end user in mind. You should avoid trying to target everyone, and instead focus on getting your target audience to your website, and keeping them there.
Considering around 60% of Google searches are completed on a smartphone, it’s also a good idea to optimise your website for mobile users. Having a mobile-friendly website, or even an app, will ensure your content is easily resized for a phone, allowing for a seamless, user-friendly online shopping experience. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices, your users could get frustrated and leave for a competitor, increasing your bounce rate, and causing you to lose out on business.
Offer customer rewards and discounts
Giving users rewards and discounts during the busiest period of the year — at a time when you’re looking to maximise profits, no less — may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually help drive sales up if customers believe they’re getting a bargain. You could even take this opportunity to reward your most loyal customers throughout the year with exclusive discounts or pre-sales, giving them a chance to buy popular or new items first. Rewarding your loyal customers should be high up on your list of priorities throughout the year in order to continue building brand loyalty, ensuring that they remain repeat customers. It can actually cost up to five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones, so it works in your favour to put them first.
You could offer exclusive discount codes to your most loyal shoppers which they can redeem online, or simply offer a points-based rewards system. The more customers spend at your store, the more points they earn, and more they’ll save on later purchases. This encourages them to continue buying with you in order to build up loyalty points for an eventual discount, guaranteeing consistent sales over a prolonged period.