Ever try snowmobiling in the summer? Neither have we, but it doesn’t sound like a good plan. However, if you are in the snowmobile business, smoothing out sales during the summer months certainly sounds like a good business plan.
Most businesses have their high and low seasons. No one wants to be like the grasshopper in the popular Aesop’s Fable and just live for the moment, but rather prepare for what is coming. How do we become more like the ant and prepare for the lean days?
The beauty of eCommerce is that we have the fluidity to maneuver various strategies in ways that were just not possible a few years ago. The following are 3 eCommerce ideas that can take advantage of this new age of inbound marketing.
3 eCommerce Ideas That Will Bring New Life to Your Slow Season
Idea #1 Strategic Sales
Having off-season sales is not a new business strategy, but inbound commerce can add spark to them. Take, for instance, an exclusive VIP sale. Utilizing the data you collect from your site, you can micro-target that invite only list based on frequency of purchases and what specifically that customer bought.
Using that snowmobile business as an example. If you know what model snowmobile your customer owns, why not use that information and inform them of an exclusive off-season maintenance sale with parts for their particular model offered. Personalizing your offers also lets your buyer know that you are aware of them and want to give them opportunities that key in on their unique needs. Making them feel special will not just provide an opportunity to smooth out sales throughout the year, but will keep you top of mind when entering your strong season as well.
These strategies are not just for your preferred customers, but can help turn your current and potential customers into VIP’s. Off-season provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with different types of offerings and seeing what resonates with your buyers.
Idea #2 Elevate Second and Third Tier SKU’s
We talked about the fluidity of eCommerce and this is especially helpful in the off-season in regards to product placement. This is the time to raise the profile of lower profile SKU’s that would not be a primary driver of business during your busy season. Spare parts, replacement parts or items that you think deserve to be seen more. This ties in very well with idea #1 where a strategic sale can be tied in with elevating these lower profile products. Remember, there is a reason you offer all your products on your site and all these slow season eCommerce ideas can help you emphasize this to your customers.
Idea #3 Off-season Content
Enlist your inbound marketing blogs, content offers and e-books in your slow season efforts. Providing off-season information to your buyers can guide them to purchase products that might go unnoticed during the busy season. Couching those purchase suggestions in content that will provide them valuable information about things that matter to them will only reinforce why they shop with you.
Combining these eCommerce ideas have obvious appeal and provide cohesiveness to your off-season marketing. For example, you decide to have a sale for your VIP buyers. You email them about this exclusive offer along with their VIP discount code. After analyzing your customer data, you determine which lower profile products they might have interest in and feature them prominently on your eCommerce site. Tied into this effort are content pieces featuring an off-season topic that you know will be of interest to your buyers based on your data analysis and also feature information about some of the lower profile products you are featuring
The beauty of these 3 eCommerce ideas is that they not only work well together, but provide a seamless delivery system that can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. So, take advantage of your off-season to explore new marketing concepts that will smooth out your calendar revenue and strengthen your relationship with your existing customers and bring new ones to the fold.