There’s nothing like the scent of sizzling burgers wafting through the backyard to get you in the mood for beach days, garden parties, and lazing in the hammock. That’s right, Summer is officially here and as people plan vacations or simply decide to take a bit of time off to re-energize, it can often lead to a slower season for a range of businesses.
There may be exceptions to the rules, such as cafes and eateries with high summer foot traffic; but, for plenty of companies – due to the relaxed pace of summer and having more people focusing their finances on taking time off – sales can fall.
So, the question becomes: what can you do to ensure your company doesn’t suffer a significant drop in sales and profits over the season? That’s what I’ll be discussing in today’s article.
Find Out Why Your Sales are Dropping
During a slower sales season, whether it’s the summer season or the depths of the winter season, take time to assess what could be the primary cause for the drop. Yes, oftentimes the factors can be purely seasonal in nature, but other times it can be a mixture of factors.
For example, if you ran an ice creamery, then it would be safe to assume that summer is bound to be a more profitable season for you than, say, the winter – the weather’s perfect for something cold and you might see an even larger boost should your business operate in an area popular with tourists.
If you run an auto dealership, however, you could find that summer and winter are both slow seasons. Winter could be slow simply because people find it too cold to go out and car hunt, whereas in the summer there may be less sales as more people focus on funding a vacation or time off with family.
That said, if you had a great summer one year and a slow, disappointing summer the next, then there might be more the story. Perhaps you offered something the prior year that really piqued people’s interests that you no longer have on offer during your current summer season.
Even seemingly inconsequential things, such as a certain staff member leaving, can have an impact on your sales numbers – after all, that staff member might’ve brought in more regulars.
So, along with accounting for how a particular season can slow sales, you also need to consider other possibilities so that you’re not addressing one problem while ignoring another that is just as important.
Give People Reasons to Come Back Throughout the Year
In a slow season, the value of repeat customers cannot be understated. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, there has to be something that pulls people back to your store/business time and time again.
Want regular customers at your auto dealership? Then perhaps it’s worth looking into offering truly competitive pricing with your mechanic services. That can be as simple as a free oil change or a customer being eligible for a heavily discounted or free service after coming in for X number of services.
It can seem like a small thing, but it can pay significant dividends in getting people to choose you over competitors.
Are you a property manager and want someone to renew their lease for their place at the start of summer? Maybe you can offer to cover a portion (or all) of their electricity bills for the first three months so that they’re not concerned about massive costs for switching on the air con and cooling down on hot days. These small forms of incentives can go a long way.
Another thing that will keep customers coming back is the experience. In the end, if you provide fantastic customer service and show your customers how much you value them, they will naturally build a positive association with your business and want to come back.
This leads into the final subject I want to cover.
Step Up Your Incentive Game
As I said at the end of the previous section, experience is important. No matter the product or service you ultimately provide to people or other businesses, the experience needs to be good. Of course, great customer service goes a long way, but having something that will reflect that customer’s value to your business allows you to go that extra mile.
It’s one of the reasons why incentives – a cruise; an all-inclusive resort getaway; tickets to a theme park, sporting event, or concert; a local getaway, etc. – are so effective. If you reward a repeat customer (or even a new customer) with a trip for two to Vegas as a thank you, that’s likely to speak louder to them than a small discount.
At a time of year when more and more people are hoping for a little getaway and saving up for one, actively providing them with their summer getaway is a powerful way to set yourself apart from direct and indirect competitors.
As an example, a property management client of Odenza’s utilized travel incentives among tenants for things such as tenant appreciation awards (a gift given to qualifying individuals for their continuing tenancies) and incentivizing people to renew leases to receive a promotional certificate for a 2-person trip to Vegas.
Of the incentive renewal efforts, the client noted (emphasis added): “It went off like a hit: renewals came back quicker, residents loved that they actually got a trip, and we just received a lot of positive feedback about the incentive.”
An extra something can prove a huge boon for businesses, especially during slower seasons, whether that season is the heights of summer, the depths of winter, or anywhere in between.
Get in Touch
If you’re interested in finding out how experiential and travel incentives can enable your business to boost sales during slow seasons and year-round, we can help.
Be sure to contact us via the form at the bottom of this page to get started.