The holidays have come and gone and now we are in the cold winter slump that many retail business owners experience. It’s cold, snowy and slick. People avoid leaving their houses and are still trying to recover financially from the obscene amount of money they spent over the holidays. So how does a small business owner get through this tough time?
Think about what your customers need. Instead of addressing the frivolous purchases made during the holidays in your marketing plan, hone in on everyday necessities. If you sell big ticket items that are tough to sell this time of year, talk up birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc. There is always a holiday lingering right around the corner.
Take advantage of this down time for store renovations and planning. Are you a convenience store owner who has been debating updating your floor plan or installing new retail displays and store shelves? Now is the time! When business is a little slower this gives you time to really nail down a list of things to improve upon in the New Year and get started on them. If an entire store overhaul is out of the question, get your staff to buckle down on getting your back stock organized, refreshing products on the store shelves, and making sure your store is spic and span.
Keep up with marketing efforts. Don’t be deterred by the winter slump. Take advantage of this time to play on those New Year’s resolutions. Own a grocery store? Ask shoppers to stop in for your healthy foods and keep up with that resolution. For pharmacies, wellness is always a huge hot topic, talk about all those vitamins that your store shelves are stocked full of. Whatever it is you sell there is always a way to appeal to your audience.
Offer incentives. Sending a coupon, even for only 5% off, will help draw customers out of hibernation. If you show your customers you appreciate their business your store will stand out amongst the rest.
Plan responsibly. All of the coupons and brilliant marketing schemes in the world can’t make up for a blizzard that leaves the town buried in 6 feet of snow. Some down time during the winter is pretty much unavoidable. Check sales from the previous year, gather trend reports and plan accordingly.
Before you know it, the snow will be melting and everyone will be more than ready to get back out and fall into their regular routines. Once you make it through the winter slump business should be back up and running in no time.