12 Tips to Boost Post-Holiday Sales

Ecommerce and online marketing experts share their strategies on how to keep customers coming back after the Christmas rush -- and get new customers during the January doldrums.

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Wed, December 11, 2013

CIO — The last week of December and January can be a slow time for retailers and other businesses. But it needn't be, especially if you can leverage holiday sales. So what can ecommerce and bricks-and-mortar businesses do to take advantage the December bump and keep customers buying after Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) is over? Dozens of ecommerce and marketing pros share their top 12 tips for turning holiday goodwill into post-holiday sales.

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1. Include a discount coupon or gift card for a January purchase with items sold in December. Offer "deals [that] provide customers with an attractive discount on a future purchase that activates two to four weeks after their initial transaction," suggests Geoff Beers, SEO specialist, Sunglass Hut. "It is a great way to get people back into the store during lower traffic periods."

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Giving holiday customers a gift card toward a January purchase can benefit your business present and future.

"Not only does offering a gift card incentivize purchase during the holidays, this tactic encourages repeat purchase during the slow January time, and its short redemption window creates urgency," says Linda Bustos, director of Ecommerce Research at ecommerce provider Elastic Path Software. "Returning customers typically spend more than face value," she adds. And even "if they don't use the card, it helps you compete during the cut-throat competitive season."

As for how much of a coupon or discount to offer, the experts say between 10 and 20 percent off a purchase, or a $10 or $20 gift card, is a good incentive to get shoppers returning to your store -- or get new customers, who've been referred by a customer.

2. Keep holiday marketing efforts going until the end of the year. "Too many retailers make the mistake of cutting off their email, search, advertising, PR and social media efforts when Christmas comes and goes," says Mike Sprouse, CEO & president, Sprouse Marketing Group.

"The reality is that people are still in buying mode the week prior to New Year's. They are cashing in on gift certificates and exchanging things, looking to spend cash they were given for the holidays," Sprouse says. His advice: "Stay aggressive right up until the new year with post-holiday specials and marketing."

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