Make the most out of your January sales

For the majority of online stores, the holiday shopping season is what makes an entire year’s work pay off.

For the majority of online stores, the holiday shopping season is what makes an entire year’s work pay off. The bulk of annual shopping takes place during the first two weeks of December, and it is typically considered the highest grossing month of the year. But, soft sales in January is normally what follows and it is the time when many store owners miss out on additional sales.

Not to say the first month of the new year will surpass sales of any other month, but it can definitely beat prior years sales if you follow a few key steps.

Exchanges vs. refunds

A good way to keep money in your hands is to promote exchange instead of refunds. This will minimize your cash outflow while still keeping inventory lower than just doing a cash return. You can also offer "store credit". Studies show 46 percent of shoppers accept them in lieu of actual refunds. While some customers may prefer a refund, if you do not even mention a store credit option — you’ll find yourself giving back a great deal more cash than necessary.

PayPal

Consider accepting a wider variety of payment methods. Another good reason to accept PayPal is to reap post holiday rewards. More and more parents give students — and others away from home — instant cash for the holidays to buy what they wish or need. Prepaid credit cards and American Express gift cards are also popular.

eBay

The auction site is a prime place to unload out-of-season, overstocked and slightly-damaged items. Die-hard eBay shoppers look for great sales by searching through the leftovers from the holidays. And they usually find them and scoop up these kinds of items throughout the rest of the year too.

Hyping accessories

If you support a product line that is often accessorized, it makes sense to spotlight accessories and maintain competitive pricing. I know of three iPod accessory stores that sell more after December 25 than they do from November 1 to Christmas. When I got my six-quart KitchenAid mixer, the first thing I did was hunt for attachments.

Maintain shipping discounts

Online shoppers are used to post-holiday sales, but they are also used to shipping rates returning back to normal. You can stand out from others by maintaining discounted shipping rates through January — very few online stores actually realize the value in doing this.