Every business goes through cycles. Whether it is a seasonal buying trend or a regular economic cycle.
What makes any business successful is its ability to work with-in those cycles. Sometimes the cycle brings in sales with little effort. Other times it is all about the marketing, planning and advertising you do in slow sales cycles.
Selling online is also a continual process. You can't just put up a website, and expect people to stop by and buy something. You have to work at it. And like any other business, it takes commitment and hard work. This also includes regularly updating your website with fresh content and pricing, which is what the search engines want to see these days.
As a prime example, if you visit a large big box department store, they always have a seasonal section. They also run specials in the isles and on kiosks for various product that sells well in different seasons. In the Winter they sell more windshield washer fluid — designed for winter driving. They also run their Christmas promotions in store starting in November. In the spring they market the gardening and outdoor products more prominently. In the summer products like cottage and camping supplies are pushed more. Starting at the end of the summer — back to school is advertised at high velocity. Then the cycle starts all over again. Of course there are more smaller sales cycles in between — but that's the point. Even small holidays like Halloween offer cyclical opportunities.
The other marketing and advertising big box stores use follows the same suit. All you have to do is watch what they do and find ways of applying it to your own online business.
Bringing in new customers and getting them to buy on a regular basis is also part of the continual process. Once they have purchased something from you once, that's an open door opportunity to continue to market to them again and again. You already have their contact information from their first order, right?
You can use email newsletters, flyers or even time limited email coupons/vouchers and gift certificates to entice them to visit your online store at a later date. They may not buy from you at every contact opportunity you send them, but they'll remember your website when they do need something you offered them previously.
As we mentioned earlier in this month's newsletter — ShopFactory Total Care offers you the tools you need to keep customer contact going. Eg. Vouchers/Coupons/Gift Certificates, Customer Listing, and more. All you have to do is identify the sales cycles and work them.
The other opportunity this offers you is to find products that fill in the gaps where you sales cycles are lower. If you sell more at one point in the year, and your business is slow at other points in the year — perhaps you need to determine what will help level off those sales cycles or if you prefer not to add new products — those slow periods in the year are the best time to better plan your marketing to bring in more sales in the up cycles.
One of the hidden and most important rules of advertising is, "to market to your customers just before you know they are going to spend money". If you take a good look at the advertising practices of the big box stores — that's exactly what they do. And they don't stop, do they?