Web Clicks: Handling the Post-Holiday Lull

Web Clicks: Handling the Post-Holiday Lull


To put a bit of a twist on an old adage, we’ll refer to the time period right after the holiday selling season as the calm after the storm. Typically looked at as a positive, that kind of a calm for retailers is anything but. That following month or so after the critical holiday sell can be a bit rough, with the buying frenzy over and the calculations beginning—along with hoping that profit margins are where they need to be.

For most of your customers, the weeks right after the holidays mean it’s back to saving and spending money more wisely, which can result in many retailers falling into the post-holiday doldrums.

So then, how do you avoid this rather dark period and keep in-store traffic moving? How do you drown out the sound of crickets chirping with cash registers ringing? One way is by turning up the dial on your mobile marketing efforts.

However, before we get into all that is mobile, perhaps a quick check of the current pulse in this market will help point your efforts in the right direction.

The numbers please: The iPhone 5 sold 5 million units within three days of launch, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 sells 200,000 units per day. And we feel pretty confident saying those figures have done nothing but rise during Q4 2012. Toss in equally insane numbers in the tablet space and the numbers get even more mind numbing. Given the continued unbridled growth of this market, playing the marketing chip here is no longer just a good idea—it’s critical.

You can also file away these stats from Forrester Research as the firm recently concluded that most smartphone/tablet-savvy shoppers use their mobile devices in the following three ways:

• To price compare with your competitors’ sites (now easier than ever thanks to barcode search).

• To check the availability of products both through the website and in-store.

• To easily obtain store addresses and directions for navigation.

Okay, all that being said, let’s answer the aforementioned quandary of how retailers can keep the customers coming in and the cash registers ringing, to overcome the post-holiday rut and continue turning a profit.

Step one is by simply making sure your website is mobile friendly. Quite frankly, if you haven’t taken care of this by now, the cave you’re selling out of might need a complete remodel.

“A growing number of your customers will be looking for post-holiday deals on their mobile devices, and if your site is hard to navigate or load on their smartphone or tablet they are gone in a flash,” explained Bob Hammond, creative director at a New Jersey-based integrated online marketing agency called BizBuz Web. “Everything you do online needs to be mobile-compatible today.”

Hopefully you’re simply nodding your head in agreement with a “been there, done that” smile and you’re ready for a few meatier tips. If not, the folks at GoMo (howtogomo.com) can help get you headed in this direction.

E-mail Marketing

Perhaps no time of year works better for clever e-mail marketing campaigns than the post-holiday weeks; with mobile numbers looking so strong, they can provide a huge boost. There are several key dates, according to Hammond, in the immediate holiday aftermath you’ll want to target because they boast the highest post-holiday sales: December 26–28 and January 1–2.

Hammond suggests carefully planning the content of these efforts and sending them out right before or early on those days. He added that consumers love subject lines like “After-Christmas Sale,” “Holiday Clearance” and/or “New Year’s Clearance.”

Another hot word, and this should come as no surprise, is the word “free.” So offers that include free shipping, buy one, get one free and free gift (gift card) for orders over a certain amount are great incentives.

Seeing as this is still fairly new territory for many retailers, it is also worth noting that having a mobile strategy does little if your customers aren’t aware of it. Make sure this effort includes highlighting your mobile strategy and that your customers who spend time shopping with their mobile devices know you are part of this mix.

We’re not suggesting that the above will have you whistling Jingle Bells through St. Patrick’s Day, but these steps can certainly help avert the post-holiday hangover. By offering relevant, well-timed messages, you can cut through the mobile marketing noise out there and have your mobile marketing efforts work with your web and in-store efforts for a solid beginning to the New Year.