With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush just days away, it might seem a bit early to talk about what happens after the holiday selling season, but for astute sellers, this is a good time to think ahead and begin to plan for a strong January. Many less experienced sellers do the opposite, planning only as far as the end of the year and then, with a big exhale, effectively sitting on their haunches for a month or two.
If this sounds like you, you could be ignoring a real opportunity to improve your bottom line with January sales. Here are six reasons why.
Remember that people shop to make use of their gifts. The period after the holiday season is a great selling period for things that people buy to support or accessorize holiday gifts. Electronics protectors, cases, and accessories, video games, television and audiovisual accessories, and so on often see an increase in January sales as gift recipients shop in support of their new toys. Ask yourself what products you have that January shoppers might need.
While the holidays are for giving, January is for "me." Retailers and their promotions have made November and December the key shopping months of the year, but after-holiday liquidations combined with the growth of a "treat yourself" culture have also led many categories to do well in January, too. For this reason, the period after the holiday break can be a great time to run promotions and focus on high-desirability personal items and high-desirability products in general, particularly since shoppers often find a dearth of their desired products available—especially online—at the start of the new year.
Home and domestic products do well early in the year. Once the holiday rush is over, consumers see the long winter months stretching out ahead of them and turn back toward practical and housekeeping concerns, and January is the classic "white sale" month. Clothing, furniture, linens, and other domestic items tend to see an uptick in sales in January that many independent sellers fail to target or promote.
Off-season promotions and liquidations can be early-year wins. Nobody is preparing for spring and summer during the holidays, but almost as soon as they're over, bargain hunters begin to look for goods that they anticipate needing much later in the year. Springtime goods in particular see a steady increase in sales over the course of January and February, so if you have items that could be promoted as seasonal goods for the springtime months, get a start on January listings and sales as soon as the holidays are over.
You'll need to adjust your inventory, cash flow, and reserves. January is also a period of rebalancing for many sellers, so once the holidays are over, don't slack off for too long—take a look at your inventory, your bottom line over the holidays, and how well-positioned you are to source inventory and sell into the new year, then adjust accordingly—by working hard to liquidate goods if necessary. This article offers six key tips for rebalancing your inventory successful and ensuring that your cash flow stays healthy.
January can be a great sourcing month. With so many sellers working to liquidate or rebalance inventory, January can also be a great time to source inventory for your own business from new and one-off sources, often from sellers that don't share your specialty but ventured outside of their own during the holiday season. Keep your eyes open during the early part of the year both online and offline for opportunities to source in volume and at good discounts.
Yes, the holiday selling season is just beginning, but by thinking carefully about your inventory and your strategy during the months ahead, you can ensure that January is a successful selling month—rather than a slump period—as well.
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