In the retail world, there are certain periods when people buy more and obvious dips when they do not. The most apparent of these spikes start around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, then continue on through to the day after Christmas. There are lots of gifts to be bought and plenty of sales to tempt consumers into getting more than they may have intended to. Post holidays, there tends to be a lull in buying. When you’re considering becoming an online merchant, it’s helpful to know when to anticipate ecommerce spikes.
Certain products like toys or premade food hit a lull in sales after the New Year. Both of these are items that are purchased for the holiday season, either as gifts or for festivities. Companies in health and beauty don’t experience the same sharp drop in January because people like to start the new year off on the right foot. Anticipating when these spikes will happen changes from industry to industry, so it’s best to know where your products fall to make accurate inventory predictions.
Spikes That Matter
While a lot of ecommerce stores aren’t tied to a specific season, looking at seasonally specific data can be very useful. Comparing your sales from year to year is helpful for an overall view, while comparisons within a year can make minute trends obvious. Is summer a slow season for you? Maybe there’s nothing on your site that really entices people during those months. If you’re looking to make every season count, now you know which one needs attention.
Making the most of the busy seasons can help you reach your business goals, as well as control the spikes so you can anticipate them and meet the associated demand.
Most businesses are well set up during the holiday season, so even a surprise spike won’t catch them unawares.
The trend of ecommerce stores offering to ship their items for free is good for consumers, but it also helps businesses pinpoint when a spike will occur so they’ll be ready for it. Recent trends like Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday, work similarly. Now that people are turning to online shopping more and more, making a specific day for it on the back of another big spending day helps retailers stock up.
Another thing for an ecommerce entrepreneur to do to be ready for a spike in sales is make sure the site is running smoothly. Most hosting services with sites based upon premium web templates should be able to support a peak. Your site needs to be capable of handling an outsized influx of traffic. Having a site crash right in the middle of a spike can be damaging in the short term, as you will have just lost potential sales. But it can also be damaging in the long run. A customer who deals with a crashing site on a busy day may not return to that site or may feel uncomfortable about putting payment information in. Even if it’s hectic behind the scenes, your customers should feel like it’s any other day of online shopping for them.
Knowing when to anticipate ecommerce spikescan make a significant difference in your ability to do business. These can alternate between the self-explanatory (holiday season, Black Friday) and unusual, like this year’s post-holiday spike. The more data you collect and the more comparisons you do, the better prepared you’ll be for whatever happens. Failing to do so can cost you money as well as customers.
Play it smart, do your research, and set yourself up to succeed.