Summer is in full swing, which means consumers are spending their money on vacations, sporting events, and outdoor activities. Unless you’re selling ice cream or beach supplies, chances are you’ll experience the well-documented summer slump.
And it’s not just a brick-and-mortar retail problem, either; ecommerce retailers also report slower sales during the summer as people spend more time outdoors and less time in front of their computers. It seems like no business is safe. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here are a few things you can do to help boost sales during the summer doldrums.
Summer is a season of celebrations, festivals, and get-togethers among friends. Bring that atmosphere into your store with a special event. Serve food and drinks, hold a contest or raffle, offer fun and educational activities, and show off your best merchandise. Even if some attendees don’t make a purchase, you’ve increased brand awareness, and when they are ready to make a purchase, chances are they’ll come back to you.
You don’t have to go it alone, either. Organize a summer sales festival or exhibition with other businesses near you to increase foot traffic and expand your customer base. You’ll get the added bonus of multiple businesses pooling their resources (email lists, social media followings, and word-of-mouth) to bring in even more shoppers.
If you’re a jewelry designer, design a limited-edition piece celebrating some aspect of summer, only available from June to September. The slow summer months are a great time to start working on those designs and help guarantee that next summer won’t be so slow.
And if you’re a retailer, you can highlight inventory that will look great in a bathing suit and jewelry that won’t be damaged by water or sunlight and market these pieces as a limited summer line. Advertise items that celebrate summer holidays like the 4th of July and Labor Day as well as events like graduation and back-to-school. What does fine jewelry have to do with the kids going back to school? Well, it’s a great time for a parent to take a breath and treat themselves!
Rather than hold sales during the summer, offer branded gifts during the summer months, stuff like tote bags, water bottles, and sunglasses—which customers will take to the beach or the pool. Complimentary refreshments and seating areas and activities for the non-shopping members of the family also go a long way to adding value and enhancing the shopping experience.
You can work to bring in customers now, or you can use the summer downtime to prepare, expand, and strengthen your business for busier seasons. Use the summer slowdown to step up your networking efforts, connect with new suppliers, research new products, technologies, and techniques, and train and develop your employees. These efforts might not increase sales now, but they should have a positive effect on your bottom line in the future.
The end of the summer is a great time to prepare for the holiday season. Come September, the winter holidays are right around the corner. Do you have your suppliers lined up for the holiday season? Are your marketing campaigns planned out? Are you ready to hire seasonal employees? Late summer is a great time to do all of the things you won’t get a chance to do during the hectic fourth quarter.
As the above examples demonstrate, you don’t have to use discounts to increase business over the summer. 81% of consumers say they will pay a higher price for an enhanced shopping experience. There are a number of ways you can offer a fun, summery experience that they won’t get at other times of the year to keep customers engaged with your brand at a time when things typically slow down.