When we think January sales, we typically think of high street retailers in the fashion, electronics, furniture and other physical markets, but this trend has started to influence online businesses, too. Traditionally, January sales take place immediately after the Christmas period. Items are often marked down significantly, meaning savvy shoppers can snag themselves a bargain if they’re prepared to battle the crowds. Some stores even offer late night and early morning opening hours, with the most successful businesses boasting large queues of eager bargain hunters, often hours before their official opening times. Obviously, the online world is a little different, but some of the retail sectors principals can be applied to digital marketing in order to make January’s sales a success, rather than a slump.
Trigger your marketing campaigns immediately after Christmas
In retail, Boxing day is now one of the busiest days of the year. Advertising for the January sales usually starts on the 26th of December, with some stores running their sales from this date, right through to the end of the first month of the year. Digital business should consider doing the same if they want to maximise in profits in what is typically one of the quietest periods of the business calendar. Have emails set up to be sent out automatically, either on Christmas night or boxing day morning and ensure that all of your socials are in sync, too. Have clear, simple and easy to navigate links embedded in everything you post so that users can click through your discounted products or services as quickly as possible.
Devise Your Strategy Months in Advance
Those who are cynical of January sales often accuse retailers of using this period to get rid of their old and unwanted stock, rather than genuinely offering customers something worthwhile. To combat this, you need to make sure that your offers are as tempting as possible. Make sure that when a potential customer clicks through to your January sales page, they are greeted by clear, easy to understand information about how much they can potentially save and why your offers are providing genuine value. Select products or services that have already been generating interest and offer them at a rate that can’t be beaten.
Consider Loss Leaders
Though not every product you offer should be a loss leader, including one or two in your selection of sales items can be a great strategy. It may feel as if you are taking a hit by doing this, but the volume of customers these kinds of offers can reach often means you’re still making a profit in the long run. In order for this kind of promotion to work, your offers must provide something your competitors aren’t doing. Discounted yearly subscriptions generally do very well, especially if you include specific figures relating to how much people can potentially save when they take advantage of the offer you’re providing in January’s sale.
Avoid “Pressure” Sales Tactics
This type of approach may have been effective in the 80s and 90s but in the modern world, it grates on practically everybody. Consumers are very aware of when they’re being forced into something and as soon as they detect this type of strategy, they’re likely to disengage entirely. Remember, this time of year sees consumers being inundated with email marketing campaigns, video adverts, pop ups and television-based commercials. If you try to continue the fevered, hard sell style into January, you stand to lose a substantial percentage of your potential customer base. A softer, more practical approach is generally far more effective. Focus on the quality of your products and the savings you’re offering in your January sale, rather than trying to bully or coerce your potential customers.
Calls to action and clear information
When customers browse a sale, online or in the real world, they do so because they’re under the impression that they’re going to make a saving. Always make it as clear as possible how much your customers stand to save by engaging with your January sale. Show existing prices next to your current sale price and capitalise on simple, impactful language such as “save money now” or “double discounts available.” If you’re offering subscription-based services, have a breakdown of a how much a full price plan would cost when compared to your current offer. Remember that your customers will be inundated with sales-based marketing material at this time of year, so you need to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to understand.
Include high value items in your sale
As we mentioned earlier, some companies use the January sales period to get rid of old or unwanted stock. Customers know this and for that reason, they’re becoming more sceptical. Ensure that your sale items include at least one or two high value offerings that provide genuine value for money. This might involve selling products or services for less than you would ideally like to but considering this time of year can be particularly difficult for retailers and ecommerce businesses, it’s generally better to make something as opposed to nothing. Any high value items should be “showcased” on your page. Ideally with eye catching graphics and simple, clear text that explains the offer in a way that is easy to understand. Push your best offers and let your customers know exactly how much they can save.
The January sales are an institution and businesses who ignore this trend do so at their peril. Though you don’t have to dedicate a whole campaign to this time of year, it always makes sense to capitalise on the post-Christmas period by offering a selection of discounts and incentives. This time of year can be difficult for many businesses, so anything that attracts customers and raised your profile should be embraced with open arms. Ultimately, you are looking to showcase your best offers and also provide your customers with an opportunity to make substantial savings.