Look around. Shoppers seem a bit lost, out of sorts and wanting something.
They're experiencing a drop off from the holiday celebrations—and the shopping. For two months or more, they shopped with a purpose. Now, even with the arrival of February, they still seem to wander about lacking purpose. Here's where you come in.
Whichever tool or platform you use for social engagement, open up a discussion that basically states, 'Whew—I think we survived'
Some wise marketing and messaging can help you connect with customers who are having trouble making the transition. Here are five ways you can engage post-season shoppers to your mutual benefit.
Commiserate and connect
There's a sort of "blueness" that comes when the holidays have gone (and that's not from Jack Frost having nipped at our noses).
Buyers are worn out from their spending frenzy and the onslaught of blaring marketing messages from almost everywhere. Sellers are fatigued from the spiked activity and the scrambling to fulfill orders while maintaining stock levels. Translated: Everyone's tired!
Whichever tool or platform you use for social engagement, open up a discussion that basically states, "Whew—I think we survived."
Share with your customers how your business fared during the season and thank them all for their patronage. Most important, encourage them to share their experiences or general mood at this time (this is the commiseration part): "How did your season wrap up for you?" "Did you have any questions or comments about your purchases from us?" "What was the funniest or most interesting thing that happened to you, or someone you know this past season?"
This is an opportunity for you and your customers to come together and collectively wind down from the season past, purging all the leftover emotions that might have them feeling a bit aimless. They'll enjoy the "de-briefing" opportunity and will appreciate knowing they're not alone in their momentary mire. And this is a great way to further forge those relationships for the year to come.
Play to customers' New Year's resolutions
Remember that Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's a welcome bit of enjoyment
OK—commiserating is over. Time to move on. Here's the point where you angle your offerings and your marketing message to help customers achieve their goals (and that could amount to fulfilling their wants) for the new year.
One of the best ways to break out of the blues is to identify what needs to be addressed and then address it.
You can become an "agent of improvement/enhancement" to your customers, identifying the products or services you offer that can make your customers' resolutions come true. And, no, you needn't be in the weight loss or health supplement business to play in this space.
If you offer convenience or entertainment goods, position those as "rewards" your customers can indulge in as they meet their resolution goals. Be creative in your thinking, and you'll become a part of your customers' improvement or enrichment.
Play up the coming holidays
Some folks simply love holidays—all of them.
Remember that Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's a welcomed bit of enjoyment following the cold and gray January just past. Develop a strategy, promotion or sale that extends the lovers' holiday in a way that makes it enjoyable all month.
Then look ahead to Presidents Day and then St. Patrick's Day, and so on. Sure, some of these could be regarded as minor holidays but each brings the opportunity to help your customers enjoy what each month has to offer.
For you, these are reliable events you can build promotions around—and, no, not just to capitalize on them for revenue-seeking opportunity; you can also use the events to celebrate their origin, history and meaning.
Develop incentives to attract new customers
All this effort to beat back the blues and build up the opportunities of the new year bring the potential for you to increase your customer base—and that will beat back your blues better than anything.
Despite the post-season drop off, this is the time when many folks are scouring for deals
You likely have leftover inventory from December and through January; put it on sale and pull in customers' attention. Despite the post-season drop off, this is the time when many folks are scouring for deals while seeking out businesses they might not have patronized yet.
This is your chance to say to them, "Sorry you missed us last year—take a look at what we're all about and how you might like us this year."
Restate and refresh your identity
And on that last point made, here's where you can polish up your business approach and even re-tool your business brand and identity. It's a great way to lead by example, showing customers how you're embracing the potential of the new year, building excitement for what you'll be bringing to them in the months to come.
And, when you make enhancements to your brand, you'll appear as "new" to customers. With pronouncements of "come discover what's new for you" and the like, you can attract shoppers with the excitement that there's something fresh going on here. Use the testimony of your currently satisfied customers to help newcomers recognize yours is a destination not to be missed.
That fatigue you and your customers feel each January and February is to be expected, but it's only a temporary situation. You can hasten its departure when you actively engage customers to recognize it then reconcile it. There's a full year ahead of you, brimming with possibilities. Take your customers by the hand and lead them out of the doldrums and into the potential that lay ahead.