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245. Lounge Lessons: How to Increase Sales Year Round

245. Lounge Lessons: How to Increase Sales Year Round

Every quarter in the Lounge we hold a week-long workshop with 2 calls and daily prompts to help members plan the next 3 months in their business. It’s one of my favorite things in the Lounge and this most recent wrap call was sooo good I had to share some of the takeaways on the podcast.

Prefer to listen to the episode? Click here.

The Backstory

For a little context, the Lounge member that prompted this discussion sells kids’ costumes and her busy season is August through December.

We’ve brainstormed a few different ways over the last few months on how she can get create a more steady stream of income in her business throughout the year.

Because her products are such high quality and handmade, these aren’t your party store packaged costumes, one of the conversations we had earlier in the year was partnering up with event planning companies that do Princess Parties. I only know what those are because my cousin used to work them, but she told me LA celebrities would host these parties on any given weekend just to give the kids something to do… so they’re pretty lucrative. And these parents aren’t likely to hem and haw over the price of a costume their kid wants.

There are also SEO things she can do and of course sometimes it just comes down to creating a marketing campaign and giving customers a reason to pay attention…

But we didn’t talk about any of that this time. In fact, we didn’t talk about increasing sales during the off-season at all.

Is it Bad to Have a Seasonal Business?

Initially, she asked, if it was typical for retailers to make the majority of their revenue in Q4… and of course, the answer was yes.

And so I said to her… what if you just made all your money in August – December and you got to chill for the rest of the year?

Here’s the thing… there is nothing wrong with having a seasonal business. There are plenty of seasonal businesses out there. In my previous day job, we did the majority of our entire year’s revenue from October – February.

Sure we had a few spikes here and there throughout the year, and we didn’t shut down by any means… but ultimately we put a lot more focus into optimizing our busy season and doing our best to capitalize on that increased traffic and readiness to buy.

And think about it… who wouldn’t want to be able to take it easy in the spring and summer? That would be pretty awesome, right?

But like any business strategy, it’s not quite that cut and dry. To make this business model work, you do have to do your part. So, what does that look like?

How to Run a Seasonal eCommerce Business

There are two main things you have to focus on. Optimizing your peak-season sales, and staying relevant during the off-season.

When it comes to optimizing your peak-season sales I could spend hours talking to you about that.. and I have! I’ll stick some links in the show notes for you to dive into, but at a high level here’s what I would look at.

Your sales channels

If your goal is to make a years worth of revenue in a matter of 3 months, it’s gonna be pretty hard to do that just on your website, right? You have to get out in front of your people. In that case, it might be time to get on platforms such as Amazon and Etsy

Optimizing Your KPIs

With such a short window to make the majority of your sales, you need your business firing on all cylinders. That means optimizing conversion, increasing your AOV, and bringing back as many repeat customers as possible during this time just to name a few.

Your Production & Fulfillment

This is especially important if you’re making your own products. If you can’t fulfill the orders you’re generating, this business model is not going to work. Whether that looks like outsourcing manufacturing, fulfillment, or just starting production earlier, you’ll definitely need to dive in and get realistic about this one. If you have to run yourself ragged and miss out on the joy of the holiday season to make this one work… it’s probably not worth it.

What to Work on During Your Off-Season

But let’s say you get all that in play, you’re totally rockin’ out your peak season, the money is rolling in and you’re good to go. Now what? What do you do for the rest of the year?

While you can certainly take some more personal time for yourself and your family, that doesn’t mean you get to completely check out. In fact, the other 9 months of the year you’re essentially gonna be preparing for that peak season.

Customer Acquisition

Of course, you’ll be getting your marketing campaign and optimization in place. You’ll need to be working on your production plans, reaching out for PR and collaboration opportunities, etc.

But you’ll also want to be working on customer acquisition during this time. Once peak season hits you’re not going to have time to find new people… do that during your downtime so that by the time your busy season rolls around, they’re already a repeat customer.

Keep Your Customers Engaged

This also means you’ll have to keep your existing customers engaged throughout the year so they don’t forget about you; you can’t ghost them. But staying top of mind with them doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do any big product launches or marketing campaigns unless you really want to. At a minimum, you’ll still want to send at least one email per week. Check the show notes for some email ideas if you’re not sure what to say.

How to Make a Seasonal Business Work for You

You get to slice and dice this however you want. Maybe it still makes sense for you to launch a spring line, or maybe Mother’s Day is a big opportunity for you. Maybe you have a couple of really big launches during the year and then you just kinda coast in between.

You get to decide what that looks like for you and what makes sense for your business.

Ultimately, my goal for you, like most things in business is to double down on what works and pull back on the rest. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up the rest of the year. But if you’ve been trying to get shit to work, banging your head against the wall… maybe you’re just putting your energy into the wrong thing.

And that doesn’t mean you can never try again during other times of the year. But ride that wave, get some cash in the bank. That will alleviate some of the stress so you can tackle that year-round strategy with more clarity and creativity later on.

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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