How a Successful Seasonal Business Spends its Off-Season
Seasonal businesses face a lot of challenges. With seasonal fluctuations in sales, you’re probably wondering how other stores are able to survive all year long. The good news is that your seasonal business can be successful too! Today we have five easy ways that you can save your seasonal business.
Understand what your market trends are and what season(s) you are selling. Not all-season sales are based on the weather alone. There are many other variables that can affect a store’s sales through the year. Check out our guide here to see what the root cause of your store’s seasonality could be. This is the first step in being successful year-round. If you are aware of your store’s strengths and weaknesses, you can make appropriate changes.
Once you’ve determined the cause of your store’s seasonality, see if one of these strategies is a good fit for you.
5 Things You Can Do during Your Off-Season
Complete Big Projects
During your on-season the store is super busy. Is there anything you had to put off that you have not had time to do yet? Was there something you wanted to do but were afraid it would impact customer experience? Do these things now and get them off your to-do list. Since there aren’t many customers in the store, the off-season is the perfect chance to accomplish these. Many companies use the off-season to prepare for the next on-season. Build a company website, add an online store, or even change up your operation processes. You can renovate the store, install a new security system, or change your payment processor over to Acumen Connections (if you are not already a customer). There are a lot of great things you can do during this down time.
Plan Your Marketing
Use your off-season to make a marketing plan for your upcoming on-season. You will come back in a couple months refreshed and ready to make some sales! Since you have less business right now, the pressure is lower. This is the time to come up with that next big idea for your store! Use a raffle to capture emails now. You can be ready with email and digital campaigns in a few months. Call or email satisfied customers to ask for a referral or online review.
Save Money on Expenses
Cut costs during the off-season. What costs are there that you can cut? Did you hire short-term seasonal employees? If not, you can also cut back on marketing costs or even utilities. You do not need to maintain a perfect 70˚F in the building if only the employees are there 90% of the time. Adjusting the temperature by 5 degrees saves about 10%. Your employees won’t mind as much if you give them advance notice and let them make minor adjustments to their outfits. Employees might want to add a nice cardigan to their uniform. Or they might want to change their long-sleeved button-down shirt out for a nice shirt. If your building has separate sections, consider renting out part of it. Smaller seasonal businesses might jump at the opportunity.
Partner Up with Others
Seek opportunities with other local businesses. You can do this a number of ways. Partnering via special offers. Find a company that offers complimentary items. Offer their loyal shoppers a 10% discount when they shop at your store. The other store can offer a 10% discount to your loyal customers as well. Partner with a charity to support your local town. Advertise that 10% of all sales that month will be donated to a local charity. Pair up with a complimentary company to sell each other’s products. Often times a small coffee shop might pair up with a chocolate shop because they have similar shoppers. Both stores could offer select products from their partner. You could also partner up to swap services and cut costs. If you provide a service to a business, and they provide your business a different service, you could agree to offer each other a discount. This is a great way for you both to save money.
Diversify Your Products
Is there another service or product you could offer during your off-season? The closer to your current brand and business model, the better. There is a reason many ice cream shops also sell coffee. Who wants to drink a hot cup of coffee in the summer? Who wants to eat frozen ice cream in the winter? This is the same reason lawn care businesses offer snow removal services. These products and services complement each other seasonally. Diversifying products brings in more customers and helps you keep more sales going all year round.
Do you have a seasonal store? Comment below with what your company does and when your busy season is. Let us see if together our local business community can help you generate ideas for your off-season.
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