New year, new beginnings. In 2014, the most common New Year’s resolution was to lose weight. Among the top 5 resolutions were staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle. What does this mean for your business?
As a seller of natural or healthy products, you will see an influx of new shoppers. While some of these shoppers may not stick with their resolutions, if you handle them correctly, you can retain them as regular customers.
The first step is to decide which products to focus on if you are a large business with many product lines. Although historical demand is not always the most accurate predictor of future demand, looking at past New Year’s sales will give you a good indicator of what type of products have the potential to sell the most. In addition, take a look at trend forecasts for the upcoming year. For example, coconut sugar and matcha powder are forecasted to be in the top 10 trends for 2015. By combining these two aspects of demand forecasting, you will have a good idea of which of your products you should concentrate on.
Next, you should decide what quantities of each product you want. Engage with all levels of your supply chain- you want to make sure that once New Year’s shopping starts, your retailer has enough stock to fulfill demand. Stockouts are typically a result of high demand and not enough supply, so you may want to advise your retailer to hold safety stock. You can offer them volume discounts since they will be purchasing a larger amount. This will benefit them because it helps cover inventory carrying cost, and will benefit you because it reduces the chance of out-of-stock instances. Maintaining strong retailer relationships is key in this season, because retailers help you connect your customer to your brand. Leverage strategic opportunities with your retailers. For example, you can negotiate promotions for your products or in-store displays that will help lead customers to your product.
Once you have committed to specific quantities of your desired products, you should focus on quality merchandising. Work with your retailers to determine the placement of your products. End-caps and floor displays are the most visible product locations, but this means there is also high competition for them. Even if you don’t secure a high-visibility shelf spot, you can always negotiate in-store advertising like demos. Free samples have been proven to increase sales because it gives shoppers a chance to try your product at zero risk to them.
Though you should be focusing on the products that you think will have the highest demand, don’t forget regular products that people will always need, like vitamins or natural foods that customers want during cold and flu season (soup, echinacea, elderberry syrup, etc.). Make sure these items are also well-stocked, because even though the other products may be what attracts customers to your brand, these are the items that they are very likely to buy.
Be sure to keep up with your social media presence so that customers can quickly connect with you and find more information if necessary. This is key to retaining new customers. Effective marketing will draw potential customer’s attention, and once you have their attention, it will be easier to secure a sale. You can also host online promotions like coupons, rebates, free samples, and giveaways to increase your social media presence and brand awareness. Now is the time to start planning your strategy for the upcoming year, and by following these steps, you can ensure that your new sales opportunities in January will be converted into long-term sales gains and profits.
Nancy Chen is a Content Marketing Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is currently completing a Marketing degree at Northeastern University. A contributor to the national online publication Spoon University, she is experienced in delivering knowledgable, quality material to readers.