Boost your eShop for summer
A guest post from our partner Digital Marketing Agency Silverbean
With the arrival of summer sunshine (or at least, the expected arrival of it) comes a less sunny outlook for many businesses. The summer season can often result in slower sales as the consuming public makes the most of the warmer weather and the holiday period.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Now is the time to really focus on strengthening customer relationships, smart targeting and promotions and making the most of the down time ahead of busier periods.
1) GO SOCIAL
ScS celebrate the World Cup through their social media competition #scscelebrations
With vacations, summer hours and weekend trips, fewer people are connected via desktop and laptop computers; browsing instead using smartphones and tablets. Therefore it is important to ensure that you have a mobile responsive site in place, but if costs restrict this, Facebook offers the easy option of setting up a shopping app through their site.
Social networking activity itself is much higher during the summer months; consumers have more time to relax, likely sharing their movements (and uploading many a summer selfie, hot-dog leg shots and Instagram photos of every single food dish from their holiday). With this in mind, it is worth exploring and maximising, your social channels at this time of year to encourage customer engagement and push brand awareness.
Informing your customers of news, promotions, or events works to increase their connection and interest with your brand, rather than going for the cold hard sell every time.
2) SUMMER SPECIFIC PROMOTIONS
Fly 53 tailors a summer promotion that fits with their brand and offer fantastic discounted deals over 53 days.
The summer period can be a great time to have a clear-out – whether you have the end of line stock or want to refresh your offering, consumers are used to summer sales and respond favourably to this activity. Additionally, it is a great source of revenue that isn’t out of line with standard discounting procedures.
Alternatively, perhaps a flash Friday offering – different products at discount prices for a limited period, or Bank Holiday mark-downs. This could again be tied in with social activity by offering new followers or customers that sign up to your emails/alerts a discount code for use in the summer months.
If discounting strategy isn’t in line with your business model, summer competitions could also drive traffic – again, social platforms are great for this. Encourage user-generated content using your products, offering a prize that is of significant interest to your target audience (even if it is simply their image on your site). The shop and then share model encourages engagement and is a quick and easy way of spreading awareness using your existing customers. Track such promotions by creating a hashtag that can easily be followed across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus, for example, #MyBrandSummer – replacing “brand” with your business name. This way you can log all the activity surrounding the promotion. Be sure to re-tweet or re-blog the best photos or statuses with a prize giveaway or discount reward for the most shares or the best images.
3) FOCUS ON TOURISM
Image: Mocks jump on the back of the Tour De France event, and offer a special discount in relation to it.
With the exodus of one group comes an influx of another. It is worth looking at whether you can promote your business to those who are visiting from abroad. In terms of strategy, is international delivery or providing services abroad a future ambition? Put the first steps in place with tourist-targeted marketing.
Tourists are looking for unique purchases, something they can’t get back home – is there anything you can offer that they won’t have access to elsewhere? Value is also important to this group, check the exchange rate and make sure you have a great deal for them.
Attracting tourists may take a little extra effort – but if you have more time during the summer months to focus on such activity then this is great. Exhibitions, partnerships with hotels or tourism specific magazines, airports, train companies, travel companies etc. are all good ways to get your brand in front of those visiting. Using a tourist specific page, their own URL, to promote summer-only offerst that are just for them can add to that ‘special offer’ feeling and encourage purchase.
4) START THINKING ABOUT CHRISTMAS
Yes, really. Larger retailers start planning for Christmas in July to get press coverage in the long lead magazines and to shoot their Christmas buy. There's no reason why smaller businesses can't apply the same model and spend the summer downtime looking ahead and planning for the busier period.
Start thinking about your strategy for the busiest periods and what your marketing will look like – it’s always great to get a head start, particularly if other companies, like you, are offering various summer discounts or early-bird pricing for Christmas-specific brochures/flyers/online display advertising/promotion spots/print advertisements if you book in now.
5) HEAD OFF SITE
Image: Silverbean are often celebrating one thing or another in the summer months.
Summer is the ideal time for a business refresh. Head out of the office with your team and spend time planning, creative brainstorming and team building to re-engage with each other as well as business objectives. Find an inspiring venue and be stimulated by the new surroundings; discuss possible new concepts and let everyone have their chance to share ideas. Run a few sessions in the morning and spend the later part of the day socialising and getting to know colleagues outside of the office – a BBQ, drinks or experience day is always appreciated and a way of saying “thanks” to your staff.
The summer downtime is also a great chance to do research into new practices, to look at your competitors and to do some courses to learn new skills. Whatever you do, summer shouldn’t be a time to get down about lower revenues but a period to reconnect with your objectives and maximise the free time so that you can achieve more than ever during those busier months.