10 Strategies to Beat the Winter Sales Blues

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Winter has come in the United States and Canada, which means that consumers are dealing with the post-Christmas blues. Credit card bills are arriving in the mail, and attention is on coping with the inevitable overspend of December instead of shopping for the new year. Historically, January has been one of the slowest sales months of the year, with sales numbers of up to 30% less. 

What does this mean to you? It’s time to be a little creative and find different ways to drive sales in these slow winter months. Below, there are ten different ways to increase engagement and sales revenue despite lower levels of demand in quiet periods. The added bonus is that several of these tips are good site management activities as well.

1. Update You Product Descriptions & Images

Listing maintenance is an undertaking that will help you in both the slow and busy times. Use this winter downtime to update your product images and descriptions. Updating the product page with optimized product images and new product descriptions will provide buyers with the information they need to make a purchase decision.

Your product images should be bright and “clean,” and you’ll also want to make sure they are on a white or transparent background. Tools such as ShortPixel can help you with compressing them, so your site loads faster.

When you’re getting ready to re-write your product descriptions, do some e-commerce keyword research to determine what your ideal customer is looking for, and then go to write your product description pages (check out our post on Writing Product Descriptions that Sell)

2. Run the contest draw

Contests are among the best ways to increase traffic and sales for eCommerce. They are your chance to create excitement and use something appealing to drive traffic to your site. Providing visitors with the opportunity to win a valuable product or package by simply entering their email address is a powerful motivator and has the benefit of also growing your email marketing list. The sky is the limit when selecting the “prize,” it could be one of your products or a related item in which your ideal customer will be interested.

3. Leverage the Season

Website design and seasonality are essential when it comes to consumer behavior. Buyers are more inclined to interact with brands and retailers, that continuously update their websites to suit the season and holidays. This sense of “updates” can be associated with design elements, images, promotions or with your displayed products.

Ninety-three percent of consumers see visual appearance as a critical factor influencing purchasing decisions. Like it or not, buyers make purchase decisions based at least partially on design, so you can’t miss this opportunity to keep up with seasonal trends.

Don’t want to revamp your site for every holiday or season? It’s easy to deploy seasonal pop-ups on your website in just a few minutes (have one designed and deployed by our team). This will help your store capitalize on a season, drive buyer engagement and convert more sales without having to go through a full-scale development project.

4. Time for a Sale

Although many retailers are running some promotions on their website, this is more of a conversion optimization strategy all year round. Execution of a sale requires lead time, advertisements through multiple sales channels and discount strategies.

 The length, the amount of the discount, which items are eligible for the sale, and the goal in question are all things to consider. Here are some key dates throughout the year that you can use to build your promotional sales strategy:

  •  Groundhog Day Sale
  • Mardi Gras Festival
  • Valentine’s Day Sale
  • St Patrick’s Day Sale
  • Easter Sale
  • Earth Day Sale
  • Cinco De Mayo Sale
  • Mother’s Day Sale
  • Memorial Day Sale
  • Father’s Day Sale
  • Labor Day Sale
  • Back to School Sale
  • Halloween Sale
  • Veteran’s Day Sale
  • Thanksgiving Day Sale
  • Black Friday Sale
  • Cyber Monday Sale
  • Christmas Day Sale
  • Post-Christmas Sale
  • New Year’s Eve Sale

5. Create “Must-Have” Collections

To make it easier for buyers to find what they want, or even just give some potential customers a place to start, create specific product lines. The goal is to show buyers where to go on your site and help them to make purchasing decisions easier. These can be seasonal collections, groups of similar items, purchase guides or customs clearance sections.

You can draw attention to your collections through email marketing and call to action (CTA) pop-ups to drive traffic to these specific pages. The overall goal of this approach is to simplify the purchasing process.

 6. Introduce a Loyalty Program

A well-thought-out and professionally implemented loyalty program can be very powerful in boosting sales by capturing today’s customers. Loyalty programs reduce the stress of getting new customers on to your site in the slow months and allows you to continue to drive sales. Structuring and rolling out a loyalty program takes a fair bit of knowledge and experience, so we recommend working with an Agency such as Shop Style Design. There are 100s of options in the Shopify App Store but they all work a little bit differently.

 7. Clear Out Overstock

A perennial favorite of the team at Shop Style Design, this can be a serious sales engine for your business. Quantity can be a tricky thing, even for established companies. It’s hard to anticipate what will be popular and what won’t draw a second look when you’re determining your inventory. The great news is that consumers are always looking for offers, and the clearance section of any site is a hot spot. Reducing excess inventory is also an excellent thing for your business. Often people love the feeling of knowing they’re saving money, even if it’s on something they don’t necessarily need.

8. Create new content

 As an online retailer, content marketing can help you break away from the competition and add value to your customer’s shopping experience. The content you create provides buyers with more information to help them make purchase decisions. Some content ideas to help you get started are:

  • Communication
  • How to make it video
  • Design and Style Guide
  • Beginners Guide
  • Recipe book
  • Buying Guide

Focus on providing quality content and value that your competitors do not currently offer to set stand out from the crowd. When you go the extra distance to provide a better shopping experience, buyers are more likely to identify with your brand and buy from you.

 9. Focus on email capture

In other articles, we’ve mentioned several strategies that can help you build your email list, but the importance of email capture can’t be overemphasized. Email is the essence of your business marketing for many reasons.

In addition to driving sales, capturing email addresses from visitors is the most important goal in traffic conversion. Email is a more effective conversion tool than any other source of traffic and is the most direct form of communication with leads and customers.

Your email list can also be used to create personalized audiences on Facebook for advertising campaigns that allow you to target only current leads with your Facebook ads. By focusing on email capture, you can better convert traffic, drive more sales, and increase the ROI of your paid traffic activity.

 10. Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment

 The cart abandonment issue is the huge, 800-pound gorilla that stands in the way of converting more sales. On average, 73% of shopping carts are abandoned on desktop, and almost 86% of shopping carts are abandoned by shoppers using their mobile devices, which means that there is a lot of money left on the table. Don’t give up, though; you can significantly increase monthly income with minimal investment to address this issue.

Looking at the figures, the main reason shoppers abandon their cart is unexpected costs (freight, service charges, etc.), followed by window shopping and price comparison shoppers. Today’s shoppers, more than any other generation, are informed and looking for the best deals. It is for this reason that you need to not only meet their needs but give them a reason to buy by creating a sense of urgency using tactics such as discounts, free shipping or other promotions.

To reduce shopping cart abandonment, work to generate more activity in the cart and checkout pages. One step you can take is to program your site to anticipate when shoppers are about to abandon their cart with an exit-intent pop-up containing an attractive offer such as free shipping with no strings attached. Another approach you should be implementing is abandoned cart recovery emails. These are reminder emails that let a prospective customer know that an item was left in their cart and encourages them to go back and complete a purchase.

Implementing any or all of the above tips should help you overcome the winter sales “blues.” Whether they generate short- or long-term benefits is up to you, but you should see an increase in product demand and a more consistent cash flow.

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