Retailers: how to make the most of the ‘summer slump'

Marketing and brand

1 August 2016

Last year, research confirmed that the 'summer slump' is a very real problem – but it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom.

If you factor the lower sales figures into your calculations and use the downtime productively, you can use this situation to benefit your business.

So how can retailers make the most of this traditionally slow period in the calendar?

Plan your pricing policy

Many retailers resort to discounts and sales to encourage customers to loosen their purse strings during the summer. This tactic can work, but if overdone can devalue your products. In February 2016 – following a month of heavy discounting in the January sales – consumers were reluctant to pay full price again, causing retail sales to drop. Consider if or how you can change the cycle by mixing up your pricing policy with different reward types, for example loyalty bonuses, special promotions or exclusive events.

Stay close to your customers

Use the time to encourage a more active following online, via social media or e-newsletters for example. If you can build a community that enjoys your brand, they'll be more likely to buy your products or services when the time is right. Aim to learn more about your followers’ likes, dislikes and habits so you can better cater for them in the future.

Test new tools

While you're reaching out, why not explore new ways to engage your audience too? Try out a social media phenomenon like Snapchat or refresh your website with interactive content, such as a tour of your products or a quiz.

Explore new revenue ideas

If your customers aren't coming to you, perhaps you could find a new way to get to them. Look into trade fairs, new online sales platforms and local events to see whether there's a place for your brand – and fresh sales or partnership opportunities.

Revisit your business plan

While you're researching new ideas, it's also a good time to see if you're still on track with your business plan. Consider running a fresh SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to decide if the landscape has significantly changed and, if so, how you can adapt.

Pre-plan your marketing

If your path is clear and you're happy with business, use the time to get ahead. Start planning the content for your Halloween or Christmas promotions, and do some research into new and future marketing trends.

For more information on planning your marketing around the calendar, take a look at our recent blog on the benefits of topical marketing.