After the annual Christmas season with its flurry of sales, the long, slow month of January is disheartening for any business. Whilst February may herald the end of the sales drought, a slow start can be frustrating to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) alike. Getting your sales strategies kickstarted earlier, gives your business a boost that will see your sales grow throughout the year. Business Partners Limited gives some practical advice on how to build momentum earlier, for sustained success.

1. Monitor macroeconomic factors

As a business owner, you know your business’ seasonal fluctuations, customers and product offering the best. However, while keeping a close eye on the macroeconomics of a small business, it is easy to forget how these same issues affect customers. The costs of fuel, high inflation and increased interest rates are keeping South African consumers under pressure and increasingly price sensitive. Understanding your customers, their businesses and frustrations, gives insight into how this will affect your SME. Use this knowledge to develop strategies to solve their pain points.

2. Focus on solutions

Businesses in the FMCG sector should be aware that cash-strapped consumers are buying cheaper alternatives to keep their costs down. Some strategies to consider in order to offset this include:

  • Stock some cheaper brands in addition to the popular options.
  • Negotiate with suppliers for discounts on bulk purchases.
  • Offer discounted bundle deals on popular brands.
  • Create short-term rewards systems, offering customers a give-away when they make their regular purchases.

3. Get down on delivery

The cost of delivery or shipping is often the reason for abandoned carts, particularly in eCommerce. Negotiate with your delivery partner/s for free or discounted shipping or find alternative ways to provide delivery for your customers. This could assist with closing those deals, and have more customers complete their shopping journey with your business.

4. Quality over cost

Value for money messaging is key when selling to price-conscious consumers, particularly when you can’t compete on pricing. Communicating about quality, long-term value or downstream savings is a key strategy to offset a price comparison with competitors, and it should be used across all marketing channels.

5. Up the urgency

Christmas sales and Black Friday promotions are common marketing tactics to create urgency and drive sales. However, in the early part of the year, consumers are more likely to postpone that purchase to next month. Overcoming this can be achieved by promoting limited time offers, flash sales and end-of-season discounts. Use these time-sensitive promotions to clear out excess or old stock from last year, while boosting sales.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to The Small Business Site for the information in this editorial.

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