Summertime is great for sun-filled beach days, barbecues, and vacations from work and school. What it's not so great for? Sales. You know it, you hate it: the summer sales slump. It comes every year but still trips up many businesses looking to meet their bottom lines—especially in the wake of the pandemic. Last summer, for example, retail sales dipped as the economy recovered, new coronavirus variants reared their heads, and people stayed inside to beat the heat. Web traffic even went down, proving that the digital world isn't immune to the infamous slump. With summer 2022 now on the horizon, we're sharing 3 tips to help small businesses prepare for and beat the summer sales slump—both online and off.
1. Take advantage of Amazon Prime Day
E-commerce sales might not be at their best over the summer, but there is one annual event that can help give them a major boost: Amazon Prime Day. Launched in 2015, Amazon Prime Day (or rather, weekend) offers special deals and discounts for Prime members. But any retailer can take advantage of the big day since shoppers will be on the lookout for savings—directly through Amazon or elsewhere. Small businesses can prepare for the July event by launching deals on Amazon marketplace or their own websites. They can also partner with publishers to place affiliate links in their articles, driving revenue and engagement across the web. Last year, for example, Amazon ran a small business promotion program in the lead-up to Prime Day, generating $1.9 billion in small business sales. One company, Sheets & Giggles, saw an 800% increase in units sold on just day one of the promotion. Small businesses should be on the lookout for another round of this program in 2022.
2. Lead or participate in community events
If people are out and about over the summer—instead of in-store or at home on their devices—meet them there. Sponsor, run, or participate in community events like street fairs, local performances, festivals, or contests. You can also collaborate with a local nonprofit organization to sponsor a charity event that gives back to your community. Or partner with nearby small businesses to cross-promote your products and run joint discounts. After all, people aren't just shopping small; they're shopping local. According to Intuit, 70% of U.S. consumers are supporting local businesses by shopping online and in-store, and 57% say their main reason for shopping small is to keep money local. Almost 40% also say they want to support their community and local creators.
3. Adapt to changes in scheduling and foot traffic
If foot traffic dips at different times over the summer, make sure you can adjust inventory and staff schedules as needed. Set employee expectations ahead of time, for instance, and let people know that shifts may fluctuate based on changes in demand. In-store insights can take the guesswork out of determining what changes to make. For example, small business owners can use a tool like WorkPass to collect real-time data about their in-store networks, including customer and employee engagement. With this data, you can make real-time changes, even if you're on the go. Also, consider offering incentives to keep staff members productive even if business is slow.
Summer slump or summer bump?
A summer slump in sales can turn into a summer bump with the right strategies to guide you. Just be sure to set expectations in advance and prepare to make the most of any virtual or in-person events that the season might have to offer. This way, you can keep customers engaged and business going strong—and even enjoy your summer vacation without worrying too much about your bottom line.