Seasonal goods are a headache for any online store: at the peak of consumer activity, they are bought at such a speed that you do not have time to process orders, during periods of recession, products only take up space in the warehouse. However, this group has advantages: it allows you to quickly enter the marketplace and make a profit during the season, which is equal to the annual income of the online store. The main thing is to choose the right implementation strategy and prevent the accumulation of residues that will not interest anyone next year. We tell you how to effectively sell seasonal goods and receive revenue that will more than cover periods of downtime.
What are seasonal products, and what advantages do they have
Seasonal goods are called goods, the sale of which directly depends on the time of year, climatic conditions, holidays, and other factors. Periods of demand for such products are no more than 3-4 months a year, additional interest from customers may arise during seasonal sales when prices are reduced by at least 50%. The main advantages of such products include:
- high markup: marginality can exceed 300%. Conditional bouquets that men give to their wives on March 8 are sold at a fabulous price, and on the morning of March 9, almost no one is interested in flowers;
- bursts of sales, if you correctly predict activity, you can make a decent profit with minimal financial injections into products;
- quality that is not of paramount importance. Seasonal positions are characterized by impulsive orders: they are bought at the moment when the goods were needed yesterday. For example, in mid-autumn, it became sharply colder: parents begin to storm shopping centers and online stores in order to buy suitable shoes, a hat, and overalls for their child. Quality positions are bought out immediately, so consumers take what is available now, not particularly finding fault with the brand or material;
- high average check. Seasonal positions are ordered not by the piece, but by sets. For example, spruce for the New Year holidays are accompanied by the purchase of toys, garlands, napkins, and tablecloths with holiday paraphernalia, gift wrapping, and the presents themselves.
The products in question may have a pronounced seasonal reference (winter clothing or beach shoes), and also refer to certain dates:
- secular holidays: Defender of the Fatherland Day, March 8;
- religious holidays: Christmas, Easter, others;
- unofficial holidays: September 1, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, school proms (peak shopping for dresses and suits, ordering services in the beauty and restaurant business);
- large-scale promotions: Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
Products with short-term demand (event) are purchased within 2-3 weeks, with long-term (cyclical) – up to six months. There are periods of low demand when customers order only basic items from the consumer basket (hygiene products, food, water) – these are the times from January 1 to 14 and from May 1 to 10.
Demand statistics for goods that Russians buy for the holidays
Why seasonal products are difficult to work with
The difficulty of selling seasonal goods most often lies in the ignorance of the specifics of this niche:
- advance purchase. In anticipation of a surge in demand, products from a supplier must be purchased at least 2-3 months in advance: during an increase in activity, partners can also increase prices, wanting to provide additional profit. For example, if you plan to sell a school uniform in mid-August, then you need to buy it at a wholesale price in May-June;
- difficulties in assessing demand. Start-up entrepreneurs face this problem: they buy 100 units of products in bulk, but during the period of activity, thousands of customers need goods. It is almost impossible to replenish stocks at this time if you do not agree on this in advance: you have to wait for the next year in order to effectively use the experience gained;
- illiquid After a decline in activity, unsold goods end up in warehouses: cups with the inscription “Merry Christmas” and magnets symbolizing the coming new year, no one will buy at least 10 months. We have to solve issues with storage or disposal if there are a lot of leftovers, which plunges the business into additional expenses. The purchase of universal-purpose products that can be sold at good discounts helps to minimize risks.
Seasonality must be properly tracked using the principle of segmentation:
- tough when a product is bought within a few weeks, such as artificial fir trees or sets of Easter stickers for eggs;
- bright, during periods of low purchasing activity, demand falls, but by 40-60%. Clients often order swimwear in summer, but also in winter they buy them when going on vacation and visiting the pool;
- moderate, at which fluctuations do not exceed 15%. Jumps in buying activity are recorded on the eve of significant dates, the rest of the time they remain at a stable level: bouquets, stationery for schoolchildren, etc.
It is not recommended to focus solely on seasonal products, especially if the business is just starting to enter the market. Unstable products should make up 30-40% of the assortment, the rest – positioned with minimal risks (medicines, home clothes, dishes, gadgets, household chemicals).
How demand changes over the seasons on the example of ice cream
How to identify seasonal products and assess their level of popularity
When working with goods that are characterized by jumps in demand, you need to be proactive. By identifying priority positions, you can pre-purchase a large batch at the lowest prices in order to increase margins in the high season. To search, you should use the following tools:
- Yandex.Words that. A multifunctional tool that allows you to analyze the statistics of user requests coming from different devices and countries, as well as at certain times of the year. It is enough to enter a keyword or phrase, select the “Query History” block and read the report, both for the week and for the month or year (displayed as an easy-to-read graph);
- Google Trends. A tool that helps not only analyze queries by popularity but also compare different phrases that were used during the reporting period in a particular country/region. Data is available from 2004, as well as for 12, 3, and 1 month, last week, day or several hours. You can search by-products, news, pictures and YouTube, as well as by category. Effective for determining the dynamics of fluctuations in user interests.
Additionally, you can use data from Yandex. Webmaster, which displays query and trend statistics. It is recommended to pay attention to the websites of competitors, where you can get a lot of useful information:
- dates on which new collections or an updated assortment will become available, indicating the start of the high season;
- the start of sales with huge discounts, which allows you to determine the fall in demand and the trend of getting rid of products that will be unclaimed next year;
- discounts and other great deals to help competitors get rid of leftovers.
It is recommended to communicate with the supplier who fixes the fluctuations and can give useful advice. Efficiency is demonstrated by feedback from consumers: an entrepreneur should not hesitate to ask what, when, and at what price they will buy.
Comparison of demand for goods in the Google Trends service
TOP 5 tips to help you sell seasonal products effectively
During periods of high demand, it is important not only to offer customers products “for the season”: it is worth analyzing fashion trends. The recommendation is most relevant for clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, and handicrafts. Colors, styles, properties, composition, and other characteristics are taken into account. For example, cotton, linen, and knitwear became the favorites of 2022, in the color palette – powdery pink, bright crimson, and dark blue shades. Trends are determined depending on the business niche and the specifics of the goods. Useful information can be gleaned from reviews by industry experts, popular marketplaces, and social networks, where new products appear and spread quickly.
By complementing the assortment with a fashionable swimsuit model or popular winter tires, which were purchased in advance at a lower purchase price, the entrepreneur will be able to make a solid profit. The advance announcement is important: a marketing campaign is launched at least 2-3 weeks in advance through various channels. Customers should know that they will be able to order this item on specific dates.
Trend analysis in Yandex.Direct
Marketing strategy taking into account the cyclical demand
Ads are launched according to periods of demand, focusing the attention of customers on current pains and needs. It has a hierarchical structure:
- 1-2 weeks before the active sales phase, customers begin to search for products and compare offers from online stores. Advertising informs that the goods that will be needed very soon are already in the warehouse of the online store and can be quickly delivered. For products of the middle and high price segment, a pre-order system is used, for inexpensive items – discounts that apply to early purchases. For information, groups on social networks and blogs of the online store are involved, mailing to e-mail and instant messengers;
- At the beginning of the season, there is a sharp surge in activity. It is important to “outbid” competitors’ offers; contextual and targeted advertising, opinion leaders, YouTube marketing, and other tools that start working immediately after launch are suitable for this task;
- increase in falling activity. There are discounts, incentives for impulsive purchases through generous benefits, and bonuses to help empty the warehouse before the seasonal lull. Additionally, it is worth holding promotions in the “3 for the price of 1” format and others that increase the average bill.
At the end of the season, there is a sharp decline, at which time sales start with a discount of 50-60%, especially if the products are themed and it will not be possible to sell them next year. It is necessary to place accents correctly: influencing emotions, demonstrating advantages, and creating a sense of lost profits is a priority. By properly managing cycles, a salesperson can meet the pains and needs of customers, increasing the efficiency and commercial performance of their business.
Types of online advertising for seasonal products
During the high season, customers prefer to purchase items where they are available. The consumer will not pre-order and wait for several days – he will simply go to a competitor. If the product is out of stock, then a negative consumer experience will form, which will have a bad effect on the level of loyalty. It is difficult to predict the volume of orders, even if there are statistics for previous years, so you need to establish preliminary agreements with a supplier who will be able to carry out timely shipments, regardless of the workload.
Recruitment of additional staff
Regular staff may not be able to keep up with the incoming volume of orders: slow processing or errors will cause a churn of customers. In this regard, the entrepreneur must staff the staff in advance with seasonal managers, consultants, packers and other employees who will ensure the functioning of the online store in conditions of increased load. When attracting staff, you need to take into account the projected profit and the cost of paying for the services of new employees, which will determine the profitability. Another format is possible: full-time specialists will receive allowances and bonuses for processing, motivating them to efficiently service orders.
Diversification of activities
After the decline in activity, the entrepreneur must make a decision on how work will be carried out over the next months. You can limit yourself to selling seasonal goods only if they bring in revenue that compensates for periods of downtime. However, most often it is necessary to reorient activities, expand and change the assortment to meet the requirements of the market and customers.
Scaling with new products will mitigate downtime and help keep your business afloat. For example, in winter, an entrepreneur sells New Year’s paraphernalia and products for outdoor activities, in summer – everything for the beach and garden. He constantly works with seasonal goods but adapts commercial offers to his own benefit. The second option is to create several product categories, one will present products with stable demand (permanent revenue), and the second – with seasonal (temporary).
Seasonal products are a difficult niche, but with the right organization of processes, an entrepreneur can make more profit than owners of online stores with a constant assortment. You need to work with analytics services to identify trends and leaders and track marketing initiatives and competitor updates. It is important to provide quality service: availability in stock, fast processing and delivery of orders, and bonuses for customers. Do not forget about the technical side: 1-2 weeks before the predicted day X, you need to check the website of the online store in order to prevent slow loading and other problems caused by an atypical influx of customers. After the end of the season, it is better to reorient the business to other product categories, otherwise, downtime can lead to serious losses.