Most businesses have sales cycles that include peaks and troughs. For many, the annual pre-Christmas peak runs any time from October onwards and is often followed by a January Sale. How you plan, prepare and manage these peaks, and the inevitable troughs, will impact cash flow, inventory, staff and your customers’ experience.
New businesses will find it especially
hard to predict their sales cycle whereas established ones will have data that
can provide a steer on when their seasonal peaks and troughs are likely to
occur. Regardless of industry, the majority of businesses can expect to see
random or regular highs and lows throughout their financial year. However,
there are strategies to reduce their impact.
Retailers can typically see anything from 30% to 50% of their annual sales between November and December. Black Friday 2018 saw online retail spend reach a staggering £1.49 billion. For etailers, Q4 is notoriously challenging – it’s frequently make or break time. Everyone is stressed: drivers, subcontractors and staff are all affected. So, what can be done to relieve the pressure?
It’s important to plan for
seasonal peaks and troughs at least three months in advance. Review your data
(see DDDM below) and wherever possible engage with clients to ascertain their
needs in advance. You need to scale-up for peaks and streamline your operating
costs when things go quiet
- Combat quiet spells with offers and promotions
If you’re expecting a quiet spell
you can take steps to mitigate its impact. Reach out to existing customers
offering loyalty discounts and special offers for a limited period. This can be
done on a planned basis, e.g. a January sale, or, with most eCommerce
platforms, as a more ad-hoc “FLASH SALE”, e.g. for a weekend.
Data delivers a wealth of
insight and business intelligence that you can use to predict, plan and even
take advantage of peaks and troughs. For example, during a notorious quiet
spell, you can save money cutting back on any unnecessary expenses and plan new
business drives for that period.
- Outsource your logistics to specialists
Fulfilment is the area that can suffer most during seasonal challenges, and a serious failure can have devasting consequences. Inventory management, order turnaround, and overall customer satisfaction all rely on devising and implementing a well thought out logistics plan. Outsourcing to specialists not only helps relieve this massive challenge but will also yield further benefits such as greater operational efficiency and savings.
- Develop your sales and marketing strategy
Seasonal troughs are the
perfect time to develop your sales and marketing strategy. Take advantage of
quiet spells by staying in touch with clients, upselling and planning your
tactics and strategy for the next twelve months. Sales and marketing campaigns
can combat quiet spells and grow your customer base.
Industry experts can help to protect
your business from seasonal peaks and troughs. If your in-house logistics is
over-budget and under-resourced – EC
Group can help. Our experienced team
will tailor the correct logistics solution for your business, making light work
of peaks and reducing costs during troughs.
To discuss the correct logistics solution for your business,
please get in touch with one of
our experienced account managers.