Article Originally Sourced from Australian Retail Association / Jenn Donovan, Inspiring Retail

In the quieter months, increasing your chances of sales opportunities falls into two categories: you need to make some changes to your store, or you already have all the tools (stock and staff) you need to increase those opportunities – which category does your store fall into? Overall, retailers always seek to increase sales during the winter.

Here’s 5 tips to help you boost your sales opportunities and increase profit.

1. Always make sure your counter has “impulse” purchase items on it for quick add-on sales.

We do it all the time, when buying petrol, going through check-outs and so forth, we see something and make an impulsive decision to buy it – regardless of whether or not we needed that chocolate bar! Make that same impulsiveness a sales strategy in your store too. But don’t always base your “impulsive” items on price – sometimes it’s about solving your customer’s most common problem, creating urgency or value or something totally quirky (everyone loves a quirky item – look at fidget spinners!). Counter space might only be 1% of your sales space, but can account for more than 8% of your total sales – use this space wisely!

2. Make sure you have plenty of stock of your best sellers.

Pay attention! Firstly, if you don’t know your best sellers – stop reading and go research what they are! If you do, double check – we retailers are often wrong – look at the data, don’t go from memory alone, and then ensure your top performing items are well stocked – if not, you will certainly be wasting good sales opportunities and losing profit.

3. Clear slow-moving items.

Although I am not for “discounting” stock, discounting slow moving stock works well in the slow months. Firstly because, it can give your customers a reason to buy. If you have a clearance sale and market it well, it will give you the lift in cash flow you might need. Secondly, it will clear space for on trend or new items for next season. Customers will appreciate the bargain, love coming to see all your new stock and your store will look invigorated! Holding onto old stock hurts your bottom line – so sell and move on!

4. Create an event – either by yourself or align yourself with other complimentary businesses. 

Don’t wait for a holiday or special occasion, create your own! Some of the most successful sales days come from giving your customers VIP treatment, an event just for them. Aligning yourself with other complimentary businesses can give customers even more reasons to shop, plus you get to share databases and attract customers into your shop that may not have been a customer before – now that’s a win/win. Make sure you offer VIP treatment like serving some food and beverages, and have a good range of discounts or value-added products to help increase profit.  Take time to chat to your suppliers as well about free products for giveaways and prizes on the day/night. All of this not only helps to create an atmosphere your customers will want to be a part of, but more importantly it helps with cash flow and achieving financial goals.

5. NEVER, EVER stop marketing.

Even in the quiet times. It’s retail 1-O-1. You need to be nurturing your customers through all seasons, not just during peak times. Sending e-newsletters, posting on social media or whatever you do to keep in contact with customers – never stop, even when things seem a little gloomy. 63% of customers who have a great customer experience in your store in the quiet times, will return during peak trade times despite increased competition. When marketing, in whatever form or channel, remember 80% is about your customer (providing value, tips, hints etc.) and 20% is about you and your business and offers – that’s how you nurture.

Finally, don’t let the gloomy winter weather or seasonal slumps get you down! Instead of sitting around and waiting, be proactive, use this valuable time for marketing and creating raving, loyal customers who will shop with you again and again! And if you get a chance, spend some time on you, the business owner, expand your learning, take time for education and enjoy having a lunch hour!