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Published On: Thu, Jul 21st, 2016

Summer Tactics for Retailers—Strategies to Help You Boost Sales during the Slow Season

There’s a widely accepted belief that retail businesses rarely, if ever, go out of business.

Considering that this industry is seemingly always at the forefront of every country’s economy, it’s easy to see why so many people accept this theory. However, the reality is that retail isn’t all marketing slam dunks and easy profits. While retail businesses may chart some unbelievable numbers year-on-year, they—like other businesses—go through a bit of a rough period every year.

You’ll see this lull in business mostly during the latter half of summer (during the July-September period), after the big sales during the 4th of July. After this, people either start saving up for holidays, or have already splurged on an extended summer break. This is the time for a company to examine price management.

While this time is a blissful holiday period for the general population, it proves a sluggish season for retailers. Prospective customers spend on holidays, while numbers dwindle at malls, retail outlets, and in virtual e-stores as well.

How then do you wake the gentle giant from its seasonal slumber, and get it back to its roaring best? Here are a few tactics, including some of the best tried-and-tested strategies from enterprises around the world.

  • Solve Basic Problems The “Un-Basic” Way
photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

Target, the United States’ second largest retailer, recently unveiled a campaign called “Big Honkin’ Summer,” aimed at ‘mommy bloggers’. Through this campaign, the company sent out free kits—filled with summer toys—to blogging parents for review.

To help them record their experiences, Target also rolled out an app called ‘Summerizer’, where parents uploaded their pictures with Target’ branded frames.

The idea behind this campaign was that the retailer would get a few blog mentions to market their product. However, the campaign became a roaring success as it Target-ed one of the most basic and constantly overlooked marketing concepts—filling in a timely need.

When the summer hits, young children have a lot of time on their hands. Mothers fret, feeling the pressure of having to constant monitor and entertain their kids. Target focused on solving this very issue, by packaging and offering the very products could help these mothers cope with the headache—toys.

Most ‘mommy bloggers’ applauded the idea behind the campaign, praising it in blog stories on popular social networks. This effort again garnered immense responses in the form of likes and comments for the mothers, and valuable goodwill for the brand.

If retailers build such integrated campaigns, they stand to increase their profits exponentially even during an off-season, the way Target did.

  • Organize Pop-up Sales

Pop-up sales are one of the most rampantly used marketing campaigns by almost every retailer, often yielding improved sales. Take the case of America’s largest e-tailer: Amazon. They launched the ‘Prime Day’ sale as part of their 20th anniversary.

The sale was embraced by millions of consumers in ‘prime-eligible’ countries. In fact, official statistics suggest that Prime Day in 2015 broke nearly every record in the e-retail world.

In an official statement, Amazon claimed that “customers ordered 34.4 million items across Prime-eligible countries, breaking all Black Friday records with 398 items ordered per second.” The company also said that worldwide orders increased by 266% over the same day the previous year, beating Black Friday 2014 figures by a whopping 18%.

Such driven sales efforts can be exploited to boost sales during relatively slower business seasons. To make sure you don’t lose against competitors in terms of optimum pricing, you can bring in retail analytics software provided by reputed institutions like Intelligence Node.

  • Be Extremely Relevant

Today’s retail world is highly competitive; there simply isn’t any time for poorly-executed business strategy. Every one of your ideas needs to be extremely relevant, and should cater to the immediate requirements of your consumers.

Let’s say you are a clothing e-tailer, and that your target audience is mainly based in subtropical regions like Florida.

You should know that summers here can get extremely hot, which means people need lighter, more airy apparel. Clubbing trendy and highly relevant designs with offers helps you entice a larger demographic, even during the off-season.

In fact, J-Crew started the “What to wear to work right now?” campaign with options like ‘90-degree dresses’, which primarily catered to people working in hot, summer climates.

While this example works well for a clothing retailer, other business can launch a similar campaign, bringing in products that solve the immediate needs of their audience.

To sum it up, being a successful retailer during the slow months means that you evolve constantly, keeping yourself informed on the ever-changing whims of everyday consumers. You’ll also need some healthy insight, to interpret consumer problems and provide effective solutions through the right marketing strategy.

Guest Author: Alice Wang

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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