The holiday season has been good to retail owners in recent months. It’s been estimated that during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales alone, consumer spending was up by as much as 3% over last year’s figures. Projections have been correct, according to just in reports from Trading Economics figures through December 14th. The National Retail Federation also reported that consumer spending is up, 56% of it taking place online. The average amount individuals spent on gifts for the holidays was $588.90; the largest portion spent on gift cards, clothing, consumer electronics, food and beverages. It’s no wonder that holiday sales generally represent around 20% to 40%of the annual revenues for most retail owners.
REVIVING A RETAIL STORE AFTER THE BUSY HOLIDAYS
However, it’s not unusual for retail sales to plummet dramatically after the holiday rush, while consumer spending habits return to normal. Late January through March are typically the time of the year when retail owners experience cash flow issues, so they must make tough decisions to stay afloat – such as laying off their holiday workforce and cutting expenses.
There are more productive ways to revive your retail business after the holiday shopping season is over. Here are a few suggestions you may want to try:
PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR USING THOSE HOLIDAY GIFT CARDS.
Right after the holidays, consumers have a cache of gift cards that they’ve received from friends and family. Encourage your customers to spend them at your store with a gift card exchange! Offer credit at your store when they turn in unused gift cards, and you can use them to fund other purchases for your retail store or donate them to charities for a nice tax write off.
HOST AN EXCLUSIVE, CUSTOMERS’ ONLY SALE EVENT.
Get in touch with your customers through a postcard and email campaign, inviting them to a customer appreciation sales event at your store. Retail owners who do this can offer a 25% discount on everything in the store, generating additional sales before marking merchandise down. Bring in some new items so that your customers get first dibs on them. Your best customers will see how much you appreciate them with this personal move.
SET UP A MERCHANT CASH ADVANCE PROGRAM.
If you regularly accept credit cards for payment, you can easily take advantage of a merchant cash advance program. Retail owners get access to funds up front, based on the last few months of sales, and repayment happens in tiny increments over time as new sales are processed. It’s a nice way to revive the business after the busy holiday season, and maintain positive cash flow.
INTRODUCE IN-STORE CUSTOMERS TO ONLINE RETAIL CONVENIENCE.
Since so many more consumers are spending their time researching and spending online, it’s time to introduce your loyal customers to your online retail opportunity. Make a plan to update your e-commerce website with fresh merchandise and great features that will make their shopping experience a pleasant one. Offer free shipping for first time users, and customers that spend over a certain dollar amount. You’ll be able to carry your retail business through the slower months, while reducing overhead costs.
ESTABLISH A SMALL BUSINESS LINE OF WORKING CAPITAL.
Nearly every retail owner needs to know how easy it is to obtain working capital loans. Financial agents are standing by to help store owners sign up and qualify for generous business loan amounts with reasonable rates and flexible repayment terms. Even if there have been credit challenges in the past, there are small business loans for bad credit and every type of situation. The process is simple, takes just minutes over the phone or computer, and you’ll know immediately if you can borrow for reinvestment in your business.
TAP INTO THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA.
As a retail owner, it’s very important to stay visible to consumers after the holiday shopping season. Take to social networking to establish a strong brand and share ongoing updates and information with your customers. This can be as easy as posting about a featured product once a day, announcing events and sales, and allowing customers to share their testimonies about their positive experiences shopping with you. Social media also provides ample ways to host contests, gather consumer information, and even process online sales.
CATER TO CONSUMER NEEDS IN THE NEW YEAR.
In order to revive your retail store, think about the New Year’s resolutions that your customers may have. For example, they may be increasingly concerned with looking good, losing weight, reducing stress, improving relationships, making more money, going back to school, or getting a new job. Be sure to highlight the products and services you offer that address these needs. You’ll be a step ahead of other retail owners who don’t think on this level.
PARTNER WITH OTHER COMPLIMENTARY BUSINESSES.
Whether you operate in a small town office building or in a large shopping center, there are bound to be other businesses in your area that compliment your retail store. Get out of the shop and start visiting your neighboring business owners to find out. Ask them if you can promote them if they promote you. Make it a point to schedule at least a quarterly shopping event for consumers in the area, complete with special products and exclusive offers. Share in the advertising costs and profits.
ESTABLISH A PRODUCT OF THE MONTH CLUB.
Every retail owner has a unique opportunity to offer a monthly product box. Pick out 3-5 premium items to ship out in limited numbers to consumers who subscribe to your product of the month club. This can also be used as a gift idea for customers who don’t have time to shop for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. The more customers who take advantage of this, the more steady income will flow into your business each month, year-round.
By using the above ideas, your retail store can get a small business loans based on increased monthly sales. You’ll be able to control cash flow this year and every post-holiday year from here on out.