Summer has arrived which has us all excited! Who doesn’t enjoy beautiful weather, the outdoors and that sweet smell of sunscreen? Actually, some of you reading this may not be looking forward to summer as much as the rest of us. The summer months are notoriously known for being the slowest sales months for e-commerce retailers.
Demand for online shopping tends to decrease during the summer months due to purchasing trends, vacations, and the fact that there is a lot more to do during the summer. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer through the summer months.
In this summer marketing guide, we’ll cover 6 different ways that you can increase seasonal sales.
1. Know Your Key Sales Dates
We’ll start with the obvious. Major sales dates should be a focus throughout the year but especially during the summer. Here are the 4 holidays that you should focus on with your summer marketing strategy.
Father’s Day – June 18
While it doesn’t quite boast the sales numbers of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day has quickly become a big ecommerce sales date. Dads can be hard to buy for which means there’s a huge opportunity to provide gift ideas and influence shoppers to purchase these goods from you.
Create buying guides and Father’s Day focused collections. By showcasing all potential gifts for dad in one place, you ensure that shoppers will be focusing on purchasing instead of having to take the extra step of searching. Every successful online retailer is providing their shoppers with goods in the proper context which leads to an easier conversion path.
Promotions and helpful website messaging are also going to help you make more sales. Consider offering a good discount (15% off works well) but free shipping, if you can offer it, is going to be your most effective sales driver. Be sure to present correct info on ship dates. This is a time-sensitive holiday and people need their orders on time. By presenting this information clearly, you can eliminate doubt and therefore, convert the sale.
Excellent seasonal messaging for Libratone. This pop up promotion displays contextual messaging to the time of year along with information on special pricing.
Independence Day (USA) – July 4
Fourth of July may be an American holiday but international retailers can still hop on this key sales date. Summer sales may be slow but Americans get pumped over 4th of July. If you sell anything relating to America, you need to amplify these products via email, social, and of course, on your website.
Put together 4th of July collections and if you don’t have anything that specifically relates to America, use this opportunity to have a summer sale or bring the focus to other goods. BBQ related goods, coolers, sporting goods, and summer apparel can all be part of your 4th of July/summer sale.
Labor Day (USA) – September 4
Labor Day typically marks the end of summer and the beginning of school. This opens things up for an end of the season clearance sale and back-to school sales. If you’re dealing with excess summer inventory, here’s an opportunity to clear your shelves and get ready for a lucrative fall season. Back-to-school is also a massive opportunity that we’ll discuss a little later on.
Halloween – October 31
Yes, Halloween is not a summer holiday but shoppers begin browsing toward the end of summer and you can get an early jump on it. Halloween is the 4th largest e-commerce sales holiday and it’s a super fun time of the year. There are tons of creative things you can do with design, copy and marketing which is why you may want to allocate a bit of time to planning for this one.
If you sell costumes, decorations, candy, or dental hygiene products (a pathetic attempt at humor), then this is a massive promotional opportunity for your site. However, if you don’t sell anything Halloween related, you can still get festive with your promotions.
A great way to boost on-site engagement during the Halloween season is with a spooky halloween themed pop up promotion! Get crafty with design, marketing copy, and your offer. Start your promotions early as this is a time-sensitive holiday and shoppers do begin browsing in advance.
Lastly, one of the biggest things you can do to drive more Halloween sales is to offer free shipping. This added value is especially effective when it comes to Halloween related goods.
A subtle, yet fun Halloween seasonal promotion from Namebubbles. Just because you don’t sell costumes doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the festivities!
2. Focus on Other Summer Sales Trends
One simple way that you can tap into summer sales trends is to think about what people are doing during the summer and what goods they may buy to fulfill their needs. Since these are seasonal, I urge you to check out product oriented blogs like Gear Patrol and Outblush for content and collection inspiration. Here are a few of the major summer sales trends to focus on.
A large portion of wedding season falls during the summer months. People are actively looking for wedding outfits, wardrobe upgrades, wedding gifts, cards, and wedding related services.
Convenience is also something shoppers are looking for. Make things easy with wedding related landing pages and collections to capitalize on demand. This could also be a good time to send a lookbook or wedding specific blog post to your list for inspiration.
Lastly, be clear and upfront with your shoppers about shipping cost and delivery time. You want to eliminate confusion and potential damaging customer experiences.
Another common summertime purchase is the graduation gift. Back when I graduated, I received a good amount of gift cards and useful items from friends and family. A few things that stood out were books, a toolbox, planners, and personal things like picture frames. These are just a few ideas. Check out one of Etsy’s graduation collections for some inspiration.
Summer Wear – Music Festivals, Swimwear, and Accessories
Just because demand during summer is down doesn’t mean you can’t create demand. If you have summer related products, then promote them. Whether it be through email, Facebook ads, or throughout your site, this needs to be a focus.
We’ve seen big increases in demand for clothing for music festivals, different types of swimwear, summer-weighted clothing, and accessories like bags and sunglasses. If your line of products include any items in these categories, focus on those and see if you can generate some season specific sales.
I may sound like a broken record by now but put together a collection and drive focused traffic to these pages. If you can get qualified shoppers to a relevant collection, that’s half the battle!
Vacation related products/services
An increase in traveling during the summer is only going to increase the demand for travel related products. You know people are going to travel during the summer so it’s a perfect time to ramp up your marketing with travel related messaging. A few product categories that I see as obvious benefactors of this shopping trend are luggage, skin protection/care, footwear, cameras, and sporting goods.
Back to school shoppers start as early as April. Yes, 40% of B2S sales occur in August but over 50% of B2S sales occur before August. In the early summer months, it’s beneficial to craft a marketing strategy that specifically focuses on reaching B2S shoppers.
With back-to-school shopping beginning so early in the summer, this can be something that is promoted throughout the season. If you think, for some reason, that your products don’t resonate, you may be missing an opportunity. Here are 4 types of consumers to target throughout the summer.
- Moms: Do the majority of back to school shopping for children
- Adolescents: Shop for latest fashion styles and trendy items
- College Students: Shop for clothing, electronics, decor, and school supplies
- Teachers: It’s the first day of school for teachers too
3. Clear Excess inventory
Very rarely, if ever, do you forecast inventory perfectly. Chances are you’re sitting on some inventory from the spring or winter that needs to go. Since we’re dealing with slower demand, create more opportunities for sales.
Promote your clearance or sale section to shoppers with a pop up or banner on your site. Hopefully, by driving traffic to these pages, you can speak to deal hunters and convert sales while clearing out older inventory.
4. Use Down Time for other projects
If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs with what to do because things are so slow, you and your team can always start working on long term projects. Since the holiday season rolls around right after summer, optimizing your store for conversions should already be a focus. You may have time to get an early start on this!
A couple things worth working on are product imagery, product descriptions, content marketing, SEO, and reducing cart abandonment. These are all projects that will help your business grow long term and prepare you for an even more lucrative holiday shopping season.
Here’s a more detailed list of 10 e-commerce asks to focus on during slow months.
5. Don’t Forget About Mobile Traffic
People tend to be on the go when summer rolls around. But let’s face it, we’re still all very much connected to our mobile devices. Mobile purchases are increasing but conversions on desktop are still much higher. Here’s an opportunity to engage mobile traffic with a mobile friendly lead capture promotion so you can market to them in the future.
6. Build Your Email List
Aside from getting a sale, capturing an email must be your top priority. Converting everyday visitors into email subscribers is not only going to increase traffic conversion (making your traffic acquisition campaigns much more effective) but also will provide you with a larger email list to market to come holiday season. If you aren’t seeing the summer sales numbers you’d hope for, at least you know you’re setting your business up for a massive October, November, and December.
It’s simple, use an email pop up with some sort of incentive that will get your visitors excited. Here are two examples that you can implement today in order to build that massive email list.
The Contest is the ultimate email capture promotion. Offer shoppers a chance to win big ticket item or bundle by entering in their email. Here’s a relevant summer contest giveaway from evo.
Want to offer an incentive to purchase while also focusing on email capture? Use a discount email pop up like Brave Leather. You can set it up so the coupon code is given on the thank you page of the pop up, sent via email, or both!
Setup your Summer Promotions Today!
Things may slow down during the summer but we’ve just outlined a bunch of sales opportunities to help you create demand and convert sales. Focus on promotions for key dates and seasonal trends, capture as many email leads as possible, and find time to prepare for the crazy holiday season that is on its way!