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5 Ways to Perk Up the Summer Lulls

Use these ideas to keep your online business strong during seasonal slowdowns.

Summer means warmer weather, barbecues and maybe some time enjoying a nice day at the ocean or the lake. But with people wanting to spend more of their time outside, online sellers may see their sales go a little dry.

“A lot of people go on vacation, so people don’t buy as much,” notes Rebecca Miller, an eBay seller of more than 12 years.

But the slowdown shouldn’t get you down. During the lull, there’s a lot you can do to give your summer sales a boost, and to get added exposure that can benefit your business during the rest of the year.

Add a little pizazz

An easy way to give your listings a boost in the slower summer is to take a minute to step back and really look objectively at your listings. Ask yourself, “If I wasn’t the person selling this, would I stop by?”

As you’re thinking about this, consider the text and design you show visitors to your listings or store. Are your paragraphs are too long? Is the text too busy? Do you have too much going on, or not enough? Do you have all the information in your listing that a buyer would need to make an informed decision?

Keep in mind that simple is often best, as Amber Miller, the artist behind illustrations on The Online Seller, tells us. Simple doesn’t have to mean boring, though. You can add a twinkle to your listings by incorporating attractive listing templates, sprucing up your logo or providing sharper images.

Taking the time to re-evaluate your listings will give shoppers a nice surprise when they return, be it at the end of summer or sooner. As Lisa Suttora recently reminded us, your approach to online selling must change periodically to keep up with the constant change of e-commerce.

Create a little buzz about your business during the summer months to let shoppers know your store has plenty to offer

Become a social butterfly

It’s also a good idea to spread your wings in the social sphere to tell others about the items you sell and the expertise you bring to your online offerings. This can put your items in front of a lot of eyes, increasing your chances for a sale.

If you already have business accounts on Facebook and Twitter, think about starting accounts on other social sites like Pinterest. These can drive more traffic to your listings and even leave you with a few sales.

A recent survey by Bizrate Insights, a leading e-commerce seller rating and consumer insights provider, found that 32 percent of people who use Pinterest for fun have purchased an item they saw on the site. About 26 percent bought an item they liked after clicking on a link on the site and going to a retail site that offered the product.

As you’re flying from social site to social site, consider emerging alternatives. PickPerfect is a new site similar to Pinterest, for instance, but it’s more focused on e-commerce.

Just be mindful of your tact. Don’t post every one of your listings. Share only a few of your top items. If you’re on Facebook, share insightful information you have about your niche or offer special promotions, too, to get people to your items. Just keep posts limited so you don’t give buyers reasons to unfriend or unfollow you.

Talk about yourself

You also want to create a little buzz about your business during the summer months to let shoppers know your store has a lot going on—and plenty to offer.

You can do this through press releases, blog posts, special promotions and more. Talk about special events coming up for your store, your niche or your background as a seller.

Maybe you started selling online during the summer and your selling anniversary is coming up. If so, tell people about it. Note it on your site, your blog, your Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. Then accompany the special date with a sale or a free shipping offer to get people to stop by.

If you’re doing something big like introducing a new product or running a Facebook contest, consider writing a press release to let people know. There are several sites where you can distribute your releases for free, like PR.com and PRLog.org.

You can even contact writers who cover your niche during the summer months and offer them your expertise. Bloggers often welcome guest posts, and will include a link to your store or listings in the biography that usually accompanies articles. And don’t be shy about getting in touch with people who review items like yours and offering them your products for review.

Cindy O’Neill, the owner of YesterYear Soap Company, did this with great success. She got great exposure and good reviews that she now uses as testimonials on her site.

Find a second venue for online selling

Slowdowns can also be the perfect time to look around for other marketplaces or shopping carts to establish a second venue on which to sell.

“Summer isn’t really that long. Before you know it, the kids are back to school, and it’ll start getting cooler again”

The Online Seller recently ran a two-part series about eBay alternative marketplaces that gives you plenty of ideas to start with. But don’t feel limited to those suggestions. If you’ve heard good things about another marketplace or site, take the time to really sort through it. Look at fees, traffic, see what other sellers have to say about the marketplace and judge for yourself if it would be a good fit for you.

Be diligent, long-time eBay seller Miller advises.

“You don’t want to waste your time making the same mistakes that others have,” she continues. “Do research. Ask questions. Check fees. If it looks like a good fit, take that first step.”

Then take another step and offer a few test listings on that venue to see how the selling process is. Then decide if the venue is worth pursuing.

Explore and stock up on inventory

Finally, as you’re going through the summer months, Miller suggests you focus on the positive: Summer is prime yard sale season.

“Instead of listing a bunch of stuff that won’t sell, look for items that will,” she explains.

She suggests keeping your eyes open for back-to-school items like books, backpacks, lunch boxes, as well as items that people use in the fall like jackets, long-sleeved shirts and other cool-weather gear.

“If you think about it, summer isn’t really that long,” she continues. “Before you know it, the kids are back to school, and it’ll start getting cooler again.”

Keeping this in mind, also be on the lookout for products that might do well during the busy selling season. Odds are you’ll find holiday-themed items for a steal during the warm summer months.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Hidden Creations

    Great article!

  • Great food for thought! Thank you Olga!

  • Thank you for the ideas and encouragement. I does get you down when your sales go down to about 1 sale a week. I like the yard sale idea. That is exactly what my husband and I do every Saturday, then shelve it in our garage so we will be prepared for the end of summer sales. On a good note, sales have picked up at my Etsy shop. 🙂

  • True. Sales tend to slow down. The suggestions given are very useful. We shall look forward for the progress of it. We too hope to get more online sellers as our clients.

  • Scritty

    Everything  – even app downloads – slows down considerably in June, July and August each year for me  – I always make sure I have decent savings and use the time to explore new niches (ones that might have the opposite seasonal sales cycle to the majority) holidays, camping, summer clothing. But niches that involve people sat in front of their PC? They really do suffer in the summer. It’s common sense really. Saesonality is an issue with a lot of industries, and online affiliate marketing, online selling – is no different. Great advice



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