Worried your online store is not doing so well? There are many reasons possible for the dip in your sales. Throughout the year, there will be different levels of customer engagement and sales that each online store will see. As the year comes to a close, we share with you 8 tips to improve your sales during the winter season.
Peak seasons and their importance
Every retail store has seasons. Some seasons you will have customers flooding your store, some seasons you might be staring into an empty screen. As an online store owner, it is crucial for you to recognize which are peak seasons for your target audience and which are the seasons you might have to put a little more work in.
Peak seasons are certain times during the year, that come as perfect marketing opportunities for online DTC stores. This is the merchants’ most important time of the year as this is the point when the merchants would see the highest amount of traffic and sales on their online stores. A bulk of their revenue solely comes from this time of the year. Most online stores in India consider the festive season around Durga Puja, Diwali and Onam to be the peak season for them.
Online store owners usually have to prepare in advance to ensure that they have enough stock to sustain during peak times. They also have to include discounting strategies in their marketing budget for the peak season.
Drawbacks of the winter season for online stores in India
Online store owners usually see two kinds of buyer behaviour during different seasons. If we consider winter for the purpose of this blog, some stores often see a dip in sales during winter. Some categories do not do well in the winter seasons.
- Summer Apparel: Summer clothes, sports gear, beachwear etc.
- Juices and desserts: The cold temperatures mean that people are not keen to stock up frozen beverages or ice cream tubs. online stores selling these
- Stores that sell clay idols and other devotion related goods: These online stores do well for festivals like Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc but not during winters
For owners of these small businesses, winters can feel like a nightmare.
Product categories that are in high demand during winter
- Decorations: This is a must-buy for winter! From Christmas to New Year, roads are full of lights. People buy so many Christmas themed decorations, Christmas trees, different kinds of lights and lanterns, party decorations etc.
- Winter wear: Stores selling fashionable and trendy winter wear see a considerable increase in sales on their online stores
- Electronics: This is the season for gifting your friends and family, and usually this category is a favourite all year round.
- Personalised gifts: This is a category that receives extra attention during gifting season. Personalised gifts like embossed pens, utensils, pillows etc. are unique to every person. Online stores that sell handmade products also show higher revenues because of Christmas and New year. People love receiving gifts that have been made by hand as it shows more love and appreciation.
How to improve your sales during winter
This is a time for online stores to get very competitive and it might seem difficult to win. Extremely high amounts of consumers ordering online, employees on leave, delays in deliveries and returns are all reasons that contribute to a year-end slump for many online stores. As an online store owner who is seeing their sales dip during winters. Worry no more!
There are multiple ways in which you can sell your existing products and also improve your sales even though it’s the winter season. Here are some valuable tips:
1. Optimize your eCommerce store for mobile:
One in every three Indian shoppers accesses eCommerce websites from their phones. So to improve your sales, you need to improve the entire customer experience while they browse through your online store.
- The higher demand and urgency often result in buyer impatience
- They want smooth experiences, fast checkouts, amazing product recommendations and negligible site loading times
- Pop-ups and sidebars do not work well for mobile viewing, so minimise them
- Have multiple payment methods including digital wallets
2. Aim for customer convenience:
Customers today want speed and efficiency. If your online store is easy to use, fast, efficient and can also predict the needs of the customer, it will become very easy for you to improve your sales during winter too.
- Enable pre-filling details for repeat customers
- Auto insert shipping address of repeat customers
- Have a detailed FAQ section
- Optimise product descriptions
- Make sure there is a reviews section
- Give transparent details about the delivery schedule and potential delays
3. Utilise social media effectively:
Social media commerce has become a huge part of eCommerce sales today. Customers often discover new online stores through Instagram or Facebook. Having a digital presence is mandatory if you want your online store to reach more people. Social commerce can help you boost your sales while lowering your customer acquisition costs.
- Invest in high-quality photos of your images and use product tags
- use features like reels, stories, polls, live, etc to increase brand reach
- Post attractive winter-themed visuals so that you get more traffic
- Change the theme of your social media platform to match the winter mood
4. Follow the theme:
Even if your products are not meant for winter, there is nothing stopping you from changing a few things that can still help drive traffic to your online store.
- Put up more pictures and videos that are winter-related
- Change the cover photos on your social media platforms
- Add decorative accessories to the main product to make it an attractive
- Add more stickers that are themed
- Use themed wrapping paper or packaging material
- Change product descriptions to match winter needs or gifts
- Change the main website layout to make it more cheerful and festive
Homegrown independent businesses like Mood Art by Kalyani are also indulging in winter-themed products. Their online store sells Christmas themed handmade candles and also has visuals that are Christmas themed.
5. Invest in promotional ideas:
Everyone likes promotions. Customers like it when they get a chance for discounted products or a free product. Even if they do not get something every time, small efforts like contests and polls can help increase customer engagement and brand recall value.
- Conduct a few giveaways
- Offer to donate a certain percentage of your revenue to charity
- Hold contests where winners can receive gifts
- Introduce referrals
- Experiment with features like ‘Spin The Wheel’
6. Make your loyal customers feel more special:
Online store owners now know that focusing only on the product is not enough for customer retention. eCommerce has moved beyond just transactions. Customers now want ‘experiences’. This is why to get more online sales, retailers should focus on making the customer feel appreciated by offering engaging experiences.
- Offer repeat customers personalised discounts on products they like
- Use their location data to suggest hyper-personalised local deals (With consent)
- Introduce tiered discounting for every repeat purchase
- Add in a free product for bulk orders
- Personalise prices and discounts based on loyalty status
- Directly email your loyal customers with special discounts or combo offers
7. Optimise for timely deliveries
This time of the year is known for delayed deliveries, late returns, product cancellations and more. To improve your sales during winters, invest more in logistics and shipping.
- Choose a shipping partner carefully
- Be transparent about delivery dates and return schedules
- Categorise products according to delivery dates
- Optimize packaging to ensure fewer returns to origins
- Ensure the customer has a hassle-free post-purchase experience
An independent online store – The Amaya Store, has been selling Christmas ornaments, but has clearly stated delivery timelines.
EitherOrr is an online store selling 100% handmade ceramic products. They have introduced a new category that is winter-specific and they have named it the Christmas collection.
8. Partner with micro-influencers
Multiple reports suggest that influencer marketing is going to have better returns. Influencer marketing trends suggest that influencers can help drive more traffic to your online store because of their heightened engagement on social media platforms.
- Choose micro-influencers who fit your niche
- Engage with the influencer and their followers on social media
- Focus more on brand awareness and recall, not just sales
- Partner with influencers for promotional videos and reels
Source: Social beat
Small business owners have to fight the odds to win. But, as eCommerce grows and expands, more people are seeing the value that independent small business owners hold. There might be certain phases during the year where you feel distraught and upset because things are not going well. You can go through these tips to optimise your online store to get more sales.
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