One of the biggest challenges—if not the biggest challenge—of running a business that offers seasonal products is finding how to bring in money in the offseason. For instance, you had a vision for a particular kind of sweater you wanted to produce and sell. You built your company around these sweaters, so much so that they have become your brand identity and claim to fame. And you’ve succeeded: the sweaters sell well during the colder months of the year.
Of course, that’s all well and good, except when it comes to the warmer months of the year. What does this company do then? Regardless of what your seasonal product is and what season it revolves around, the question remains: How can you keep your seasonal business not just afloat but thriving during the off-months?
It’s a common concern, and we’ve pulled together our best advice on the matter to help your business make the most of your offseason.
1. Add new products. This, of course, is the most obvious way to thrive during your offseason. Add an additional line or lines of products that better serve the seasons not represented by your flagship lines. Take Tipsy Elves, for example. This is a company that sells ugly Christmas sweaters, but they’ve expanded their products to keep their sales strong all year long. They’ve added a line of patriotic clothing that can appeal to anyone at any time of year. Your business can do the same. Just because you’ve made your name with a flagship seasonal product or products, that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out.
2. Sell aggressively in the offseason. Just because your company focuses on seasonal products like sweaters or Christmas decorations doesn’t mean you can’t sell year round. You just have to work harder at finding appropriate venues and advertising opportunities. There are many seasonal stores—Christmas Tree Shops, for instance—that operate year round. Don’t underestimate consumers’ desire for winter in summer or summer in winter. Find shops that offer offseason shopping and get your products on their shelves.
3. Make the season start early and end late. A season is a season, right? How can you change that? By tapping into people’s longing for a season to not to end or to begin as soon as possible. We already see this as, each year, grocery stores put out their holiday products sooner and sooner, so that we even see Christmas goods on shelves in late October. Take on the same principle. If you sell swimming gear, start aggressively marketing in March and use consumers’ longings to get the cold of winter behind them.
4. Remember the global market. Remember that whole summer in winter and winter in summer thing they have going on down in Australia? The toilets also flush in the opposite direction, though we guess that’s neither here nor there. The point being: if you can make a worldwide push selling your sweaters or swimsuits, you’ve effectively doubled your peak business time. Establishing a presence in another country or countries, effectively advertising, and figuring out global shipping: none of that is easy. But it will be well worth it once you’ve found multiple and staggered markets for your seasonal products.
5. Consider off-season clearance sales. Few businesses have infinite warehouse space. If your business has surplus remaining from a recently passed peak season, you might consider selling that surplus at discounted prices during the offseason. This allows you to bring in more income during the offseason and open up space for next season’s incoming products. As long as you discount the products with a still reasonable profit margin, the offseason clearance sale is a win-win proposition.
You need your seasonal business to bring in money through the year, not just during your peak months. Following some or all of our above advice will help you do just that.
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