The Sinhala and Hindu New Year is typically the busiest time for retailers around Sri Lanka as customers spend money lavishly on gifts, decorations, food, and other exchanges with loved ones.
However, it is inevitable that, customarily, retail sales drop soon after the festive days are over. With consumers having exchanged gifts with friends and relatives and completed their holiday shopping marathon, it is hardly surprising that many shoppers are keen to catch a breath.
However, when the season is over, retailers often experience a huge post-holiday sales slump. Foot traffic slows down considerably in most retail outlets. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including the end of holiday promotions and discounts, returns, purchases on gift cards where the revenue was recognised in the previous quarter, and the general slowdown in consumer spending after the holidays.
Most often, retailers accept this situation without giving it much attention. However, to beat the large sales drop in post-festive periods, retailers must consciously find proper strategies to keep the business running unhindered during this slow period, as their operating costs remain the same even when the traffic is slow.
Hence, they need to implement effective strategies to retain customers and drive sales. Rather than expecting buyers to come to them, retailers must be proactive in encouraging post-new-year sales and use a few levers to drive demand. When customers are not in the buying mood, the retailer must convince them that it is worthwhile for them to pay attention to their actions.
First and foremost, a plan for the post-festival period must be made in advance. This includes forecasting sales, ordering inventory, and planning marketing campaigns. Retailers should also analyse historical data to determine trends and make informed decisions about which products to stock.
Most retailers, by experience, know the exact moment of sales during this period. Therefore, they know what stocks will remain in excess after the season. A promotional plan must be made for such excess stocks to dispose of them with proper sales strategies.
Habitually, shoppers know that most retailers offer their best promotions during a festival. However, they are not aware of what the retailers offer soon after the festival is over. Offering special promotions and discounts to shoppers as a surprise is always a good strategy to attract customers. This can include clearance sales, bundle deals, and loyalty rewards programs. These promotions can help clear excess inventory and generate sales during the post-festival period.
Leveraging social media campaigns can be effective as it is a powerful tool that retailers can use to promote their products and engage with customers at a relatively low cost. Retailers should leverage social media platforms to showcase their products, share promotions, and connect with customers. Retailers can also use social media to gather feedback and insights from customers, which can inform future business decisions.However, this side of the holiday season, shifting your leftover holiday stock should be accompanied by stocking the shelves with fresh goods that meet your customers’ needs. Notifications about new merchandise arriving in your customers’ inboxes or social feeds are one of the most effective strategies to drive sales without offering discounts.
Another way to beat the post-festival sales slump is by launching new products or services. This can create excitement among customers and give them a reason to visit your store.
Consider launching products or services that are relevant to the post-holiday season. The retailers can also consider partnering with other retailers in the area to create a unique product or service offering that can’t be found anywhere else.
Another effective strategy is to concentrate on the customer experience. Retailers may provide their consumers with a happy and engaging post-holiday shopping experience by making individualised suggestions, delivering exceptional customer service, and hosting in-store events and activities.
Personalisation facilitates reducing post-holiday returns by allowing exchanges, increasing the average purchase size for consumers who use gift cards, and providing other benefits. This can help retailers increase customer loyalty while driving sales. Good customer service is essential at any time of year, but especially important after the holidays as it may aid in preventing poor return experiences, turning returns into exchanges, including upsells, and generating greater sales when consumers use gift cards.
Customised and enhanced customer service may make these types of transactions more frictionless by locating consumers a suitable exchange item in the store.
Hosting a flash sale soon after the festive days to stimulate impulsive buying is also a good strategy to keep retail sales intact. A flash sale occurs when a retailer offers a significant deal for a limited time, often 24 to 72 hours. This generally entails substantial savings, free delivery, or other lucrative benefits. Discounting products is not always adequate to pique customer interest after the holidays have passed. The so-called “deal weariness” may set in after the main festival is over, making customers less sensitive to familiar offers.
This might imply that things are consigned to a sales section in your store, where they may collect dust. Alternatively, try holding a flash sale after the holidays to increase purchasing urgency.
Using a limited-time flash sale strategy may trigger fear of missing out (FOMO) in customers. This makes flash sale offers ideal for periods when sales are slow in the post-holiday season. They are a low-risk approach for new customers to experiment with your business.
Nevertheless, if the retailers deploy flash deals too frequently, there is a risk of undermining the regular promotions; if it happens too often and the buyers get to know that another amazing offer will be available after the holiday sales, they will avoid buying products during the season. That way, the retailer may run the risk of losing customers altogether if that happens.
Customer events during this post-holiday period are another way to deliver an engaging, memorable, and personalised shopping experience that encourages customers to come back to the store.
They might offer special discounts or deals for customers who attend the event or offer food and drinks or live music alongside an immersive and engaging shopping experience with themed displays, pop-up shops, or styling workshops to enhance the in-store experience and create a sense of excitement and novelty.
The post-holiday dip is difficult for merchants, especially when combined with the peak return season. Yet, post-holiday selling is more than simply offering significant discounts; it’s also about providing customers with the correct product suggestions and bonuses to make the purchasing experience appealing.
By implementing the selling methods listed above, the retailer can turn a slow start in revenue into a chance to capitalise on new purchase habits.
Overall, the post-holiday sales slump is a common challenge for retailers, but they can implement some of the strategies to overcome it. Retailers can continue promoting discounts and sales, focus on the customer experience by creating a positive and engaging shopping experience, including creative in-store events, and use digital marketing and social media to drive sales.
They can also consider expanding their product offerings or introducing new products, and they can use data and analytics to better understand their customers and predict future demand.
By implementing these strategies, retailers can more easily reduce any excess post-holiday inventory, increase customer loyalty, and continue to drive sales during the post-holiday period.