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January Sales… How to make them work for your retail business

The great thing about retail is that your customers expect you to run a January sale. So if you’re worried about a sale damaging your credibility, don’t be. If you are serious about running your business as a business, then come January, you need to think seriously about running a sale. Why? Because we all have limited funds in January, and unless there is a compelling reason to spend money, we just don’t.

We all know one of those people that buys all their Christmas presents in the January sale don’t we? Or the person that just can’t resist a bargain. Or the one who stocks up the present drawer with January sale bargains. People are spending money, but if your product isn’t on sale, why will people buy from you rather than your competitors?

Here’s how to make a January sale work for your retail business

  1. Analyse your products. Which are selling really well, which haven’t sold? Rank them and use this understanding to decide what you put on sale
  2. You don’t need to put your bestsellers on sale so unless you desperately want to, leave those half price. You rarely see wardrobe staples on sale in the big retailers do you? That’s because they know they can sell them full price all year round and they don’t need to
  3. Mark your slowest sellers down as far as you can whilst still making a profit. Many retailers go to 70% – you ought to think about going to at least 50% if you can to really create some momentum
  4. Pitch the rest of your sale products between 20% and 40% off RRP – please, please please avoid 10%. It just isn’t compelling enough
  5. Consider whether you also want to think about other sales promotion techniques – BuyOneGetOneFree (BOGOF), product upgrades, shipping discounts, bundle offers and so on
  6. Keep it short and sharp – it needs to end on 31st Jan at the very latest
  7. Launch your sale on Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day – don’t wait until 1st Jan or you’ll miss the boat
  8. It sounds dreadful, but if you do one thing, send a sale emailer on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. We were genuinely shocked at the number of online orders Yarwood-White received on Christmas Day. Just because you wouldn’t shop on that day, doesn’t mean that your customers won’t, so think about it seriously
  9. If you’re really committed to making this work, back up your online offering with direct mail
  10. Keep up the communication throughout the sale one email on Christmas Eve isn’t going to cut it, you need to be persistent!
What tips (or worries) do you have about running a January sale? Do share your thoughts below.

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