This article first appeared January 19th, 2012.
Are there any quick ways to generate sales during the quiet January period? I’ve been left with quite a bit of stock to shift following Christmas and I don’t know whether to just pile in with the discounters.
It’s certainly very tempting to simply pile in with the discounters, but there are a few other options you can try.
Firstly, I would have a good look at what stock is left over from the Christmas sales, and why it hasn’t sold.
Knowledge of your customers’ buying habits can inform your purchasing decisions for the rest of the year.
If you have no idea about your customers’ buying habits, you need to evaluate this very closely and work out a way to get that information.
Smart retailers ask for email addresses or other contact details as you buy. This is a great strategy, because the more you know about your customers, the better you can target them in the future.
I feel this is one of the reasons for the strong growth of internet sales. Companies can now easily get the addresses and contact details of customers, then target them in future sales campaigns.
But back to what to do with leftover stock…
Here are some simple ideas:
- Consider selling excess stock via sites like eBay, Cudo.com, Scoopon or My Deal. These sites are great for putting your brand out there to a wider audience, and while you do have to discount the product, you can simultaneously build to your customer database. You will also get an immediate cash injection.
- Find another company that could benefit from selling your product as an add on, introducing your products to a new market in the process.
- Find an online department store that might like to sell your product.
- Offer your best customers a special deal that enables you to sell more of what they already like along with some leftover stock.
- Offer your stock to a magazine for a special company promotion. They are always looking for free product and you always need promotion.
In short, I suggest you try to be creative and use this stock for marketing or promotional purposes.
Use it to reward your best current customers and to find new ones.
Discounting after Christmas only leads consumers to wait until after Christmas to start purchasing. It’s a really bad cycle unless the stock is made up of once-off items with discounts that won’t be repeated.
Remember that discounting is only a short term cashflow fix.
Make sure you’re continually building your customer database so that you know exactly who is buying your stock and who might like more after Christmas.