Do the summer months make your ecommerce store feel like a muggy swamp? Does your annual sales cycle look like a smiley face: high on the ends and low in the middle? You are probably going through the typical ecommerce summer dip—and it’s not the refreshing kind that you take in the pool!
The summer slow down of ecommerce sales is neither myth nor joke, and as consumers wait out the summer months for back to school and holiday season deals in the autumn and winter, your business suffers.
However, there is a lot you can do to prepare for more lucrative times of the year. Here are our top suggestions to prepare for the coming months:
Target New Markets
Time and again, we have ballyhooed your opportunity for increasing revenue streams through foreign expansion. Use the summer months to localize your checkout process for both strong and growth markets. Attention to detail is crucial here, so make sure you are correctly localizing language elements, currencies, prices, payment methods and form fields.
Factor New European VAT Rates Into Your Prices
Speaking of international markets, have you been keeping up with European VAT challenges? If, despite our constant nagging, you haven’t updated your pricing to align with the European Commission’s new VAT requirements, your European customers may be reluctant to complete your checkout process. Now that European VAT assessment is based on customer location, you’ll have to make sure you are displaying clean, friendly prices to all of your European buyers.
Revamp Your Website
Updates in Google’s search algorithm and constantly changing web design styles should prompt you to periodically revamp your website and overall brand. The summer is the perfect time to tweak your visitor flow and the visual elements of your site for mobile consumption. Just remember that the latest trend is not always the greatest trend. Make sure you’re placing your business goals and user experience above all else.
Revisit Marketing Segments
Marketing automation helps drive more revenue and creates a more cohesive organization. Use the summer months to establish buyer personas and criteria for defining when contacts become leads and leads become opportunities. Keep in mind that you want slightly different data from consumers than you do for business buyers.
For B2C, it is important to capture basic demographic (Who is this visitor?), behavioral (What pages are they visiting?) and transactional (What products have they bought?) data. For B2B, it is important to capture additional information like job title (Is this visitor a CEO or IT professional?), monthly revenue, amount of employees, and interest in seeing a product demo.
Create Multivariate Tests For Your Checkout Process
One of the classic and most tried and true methods for improving conversion rates and average order values is to offer different versions of your checkout process to random visitors and see which version converts better. Consider, for example:
- Changing the layout of your shopping cart to reduce scrolling
- Reducing the amount of details the customer is required to fill in the form fields
- Improving your subscription renewal rate by highlighting the subscription checkbox during the initial order
- Testing the placement of cross-sells and up-sells to see how pick rates improve
Align Subscription Touchpoints
Are you messaging your subscribers at the right times? Do those messages have the right information and instructions so that your renewal rates are where you want them to be? Now is the time to rethink your tactical approach to the subscription lifecycle and its touchpoints.
Optimize Your Customer Service
Providing world class customer service helps you save money in the long run by reducing refunds and promoting customer retention. This summer, take a long and hard look at your customer service offering to make sure that all your customers are receiving the kind of support that turns them into loyal brand evangelists.
Prepare For the Holiday Season Ecommerce Bonanza
If the past is any indicator (and it is), this November and December will be even bigger for online stores. Get your marketing campaigns in order now!
Each summer you’ll naturally experience a decline in sales. Don’t waste energy trying to maintain sales levels from the spring. Instead, plan for ramping things up for the autumn and winter.
What are some of the tasks that you plan for and complete during the summer off-season?