Businesses that rely on seasonal sales can sorely suffer during their down period. Whether the business supplies ski gear, Christmas décor, or boat rentals, it’s important to maintain a productive outlook during the off-season. For unaware seasonal companies, there are many factors affecting inventory management that need to be taken into account to remain viable during the lull in business. Off-peak times are great for getting tasks done that couldn’t be completed during the busy season.
Offer discounts and product packages
Clever pricing strategies can help a business keep revenue high throughout the off-season. Most make the mistake of minimising inventory due to presumed lack of demand, but affordable prices and planned campaigns can see sales increase throughout the down period. Effectively advertising discounted items can help pull in local customers to purchase ahead of the season. Building this relationship with local customers boost company image and can encourage customer loyalty. Targeted marketing with locals in mind is the easiest way to promote during the off-season, with less being spent on advertising, but still maintaining the company image.
Offering complementary or package products during the off-season can counteract the off-peak factors affecting inventory management by making products more attractive to customers. Offering maintenance products or servicing procedures can encourage customers to continue to pay an interest in the seasonal offerings of your business.
Create a shoulder season
In cases where products are transportable, expanding a company globally can offer increased year-round demand. Specifically, with online marketplaces, international sales can keep profits rolling in all year, without the need for physical display space or increased staff numbers. Reducing a business to online sales during the off-season offers a more affordable way to maintain business relations throughout the year. The crucial point in maintaining this is to employ successful marketing campaigns in order to promote your business.
Extending the season is also a factor that many seasonal businesses disregard. In most cases, customers begin planning and purchasing for a season before it begins, and it is therefore worthwhile to begin advertising and selling at the same time. Customer excitement can be generated in the off-season so that as soon as the peak period begins, customers are familiar with what your business has to offer.
Focus on customer relationship management and marketing
It is important to continue keeping up customer relations through social media during the off-season. Generating off-season excitement is largely overlooked by most businesses, but it is a great way to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. It is also an affordable way to promote sales and limited items while still saving the marketing budget for the peak season.
Since the off-peak time is slower for business, there is more time to organise an effective marketing practice. Taking the time to create a strong marketing campaign during the off-season is much more effective than a rushed marketing attempt during a busy period. Many companies make the mistake of stopping marketing attempts during the off-season, thinking it isn’t worthwhile, but maintaining a company image is crucial for success. By spending more time marketing in this period, there is less competition from other companies, and an effective campaign will keep your business name in customer minds as the new season rolls around.
Tackle maintenance work before it gets too busy
Taking advantage of the down-time can result in increased success for the following season. With lessened factors affecting inventory management, taking the time to reorganise stock, review your inventory management, and improve company products will impress customers in the future. Likewise, if maintenance work such as building renovations or redesigning needs to take place, the off-season is the prime time to complete this. Redesigning an aged company website can help project a solid image to customers as the peak season approaches.
Taking advantage of the off-season is something most businesses don’t do often enough. Although demand will inevitably fall away during the off-season, techniques such as discounting, selling overseas, focusing on marketing, and completing maintenance work can keep your business productive and successful throughout the slower months.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.