It’s no secret that the photo product retail sector operates in waves of ‘mind-bogglingly busy,’ followed by a few lulls. Well, these quiet times are not to be wasted – they’re meant to be spent on business development and prepare for the next big season.
Different companies go about this task in different ways, which could be driven by the region they operate in….
Some concentrate on revenue generation and begin actively pushing smaller upcoming occasions like Mother’s Day, or Graduation to keep cash flow steady until Wedding season hits. As Technavio’s lead retail goods and services analyst Poonam Saini put it, “the gifting culture is evolving with an increasing number of occasions when gifts are exchanged.” And now, with on-demand printing technology making personalized gift giving more accessible and affordable, consumers flock toward the idea of customizing items for loved ones, even for smaller holidays.
Some companies may concentrate on revenue generation as well, but slightly differently: instead of pushing upcoming occasions, they may choose to introduce new product lines for the upcoming season in the year, like Spring and Summer. End-of-winter is the perfect time to start maximizing on consumers’ natural desires to clean up their dusty décor and opt for fresh new looks for the Spring. Introduce colorful customizable home décor items like cushions covers, throw blankets, shower curtains, etc., or even outdoor lifestyle items like beach/pool towels, picnic baskets, tote bags and more.
Another way certain companies might look into driving sales during offseason is by venturing into serving new segments. As long as the product personalization technology that your online store uses makes it easy to tweak existing product lines to have them relate more to the segments you want to go after, it only becomes a question of adjusting your marketing and sales pitch to attract untapped photo-intensive businesses. For example, it could be possible to create micro-sites for specific sectors like real-estate or tourism agencies. Changing the stock images in a product can go a long way and may allow you to turn a photobook into a booklet for a specific mansion or transform a desktop calendar into a promotional item. This is a great way to diversify your business and open up new avenues of revenues.
Other companies may take this time to build on customer relationships. Given that User Generated Content (UGC) is a big trend in e-Commerce for 2018, many online retailers are putting extra emphasis on reaching out to their customers and asking for reviews and testimonials to include in blogs and promo emails or are even incentivising loyal buyers to share their experiences with products over social media to provide real-life previews of their merchandise in use. This content not only solidifies the relationship between a retailer and their current customer pool, but also creates a sense of trust in your brand for newcomers. Spending the time now to listen to your current customers as well as taking the opportunity to grow your list of potential buyers puts slower times of the year to good use, as these consumers will continuously have your brand in mind and are more likely to purchase from you during busy seasons.
Ideally, companies will use a mix of the options listed above for year-round business development opportunities. The offseason shouldn’t be seen as a chink in the armor of online success but should be considered a necessary occurrence that enables businesses to try new things, revamp their strategies and even prepare their business for future rush periods.