I currently run a successful e-commerce business that ships products (Xmas Sweaters) worldwide during the 2 months leading up to Christmas. I would love to convert it into a all year round business but am struggling to find the right angle to grow it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
BTW - we are bootstrapped, profitable,have shipped to over 44 countries and Celebs such as One Direction and Scott Disick have worn our sweaters.
Thanks for reaching out. Do you want to meet in person? I am in San Francisco/San Mateo location.
A couple of thoughts:
1) A lot of people in the southern hemisphere do a "Christmas in July" because that's when winter falls. So maybe you could target that market in May, June & July and squeeze out a few more sales.
2) Is there more you can do to optimize for the holidays to make your most effective period even better? This could be either marketing related or cost-saving/efficiency based.
3) Apart from that, I think it's going to be a hard sell to market and sell Christmas product out of season. Typically, seasonal stuff is heavily discounted during these non-holiday periods so that could be a problem. I'd take what you've learnt (and mastered to a certain extent by the sounds of it) with that business (eg product, marketing, logistics) etc and find new niches.
This is a great question that I think a lot of businesses face this issue (maybe less drastically than you do though). From what you've described about your business it seems like your unique value proposition is that you sell an item associated with a holiday. This is also your issue but one that I think is solvable as well. The simple solution I see is that you should expand your product line to cover more holidays. Specifically I think you might be able to sell products for valentines day, independence day, thanksgiving, mother's day, father's day, hanukkah, new years, and potentially others. Your current business is a great opportunity to create fun clothing options for new holidays, take advantage of that.
Thanks Cam and Sean
We have tried Australia, the market ain't so big. We must move into a new product/niche as you said but we want to keep it within the same brand as we have a good following and built up a good brand. Finding the niche is the issue
Would love to meet up with I'm located in Europe.
I think there is a big part of the market you guys are missing.
There are a bunch of things you guys can do to make it year round.
The hardest thing is getting a customer base and you have that...
Well, two things to consider:
1. is it only sweaters: you rather cut out a large chunk of the world that has never seen snow, about 55% of humanity.
if yes, it does have to be sweaters, then why only Christmas? Birth of Christ is a very fine holiday, but its only one and a large chunk of the sweater wearing population may not celebrate it. Why not make sweaters for other holidays too...? Look up other large holidays that are celebrated in wide areas.
For example: Pasha (Easter to the the Catholics/Protestants). It often falls in early spring, a time of snow in most northern areas. Or other holidays....like Budhist or Toaist holidays? Maybe something ethnic?
the most natural step would be as most said to extend to other holidays, but you might also want to look at what makes your offer so successful at Xmas. Is it the variety of choice, how fast you deliver, how simple it is to order, your second to none customer service, your superior SEO? Once you identified that you can make it the core of your proposition and expand into other products (either same product different holidays or different products while keeping the same core proposition). Would love to see the website and talk on the phone to identify what is it that makes you unique and how to make your business a success all year long. Serena
The first question is do you wish to stick to only Xmas Sweaters? If you do, there are several ways you can develop your business to a more year-round business without using a channel-approach (like partnering with year-round Christmas stores) but still sticking with your direct-to-consumer e-commerce site. Assuming you also don't want to start tempering too much with the production of the sweaters, you can simply create an additional line of shirts targeted for fall-sales, like "its never too early for Christmas" or "Wish Christmas was here already" -sweaters. You can use similar techniques to extend your season post-Christmas. Im more than happy to setup a phone call to discuss in more detail.
First you must understand that to convert a niche seasonal business into a year long business you need to convert folks first. Folks who purchase during the holidays are probably different than folks who purchase throughout the year. Some folks may be repeat customers, which is awesome. Many of the people who make holiday purchases have never been to your site, and they may make only that single gift-minded transaction. There are a few personas to consider when transforming these one-time purchasers to a repeat or lifetime customer:
1. May buy again for themselves: Often people buy gifts for other folks that they might find interesting for themselves. Or they may purchase a different product you offer. Hopefully, when someone buys from you, they are impressed with the product and this will inspire them to make a purchase for themselves. This is what you want to happen.
2. May buy again as another gift: Most of the time we do not buy gifts once for one person throughout the entire year. If you liked a specific product for one friend, it is very possible another friend may like that same product or a different product from the same company.
3. May recommend to others: Hopefully, your holiday customer is so impressed with their experience with your company that they will tell others, which will influence their purchasing decisions.
You need a game plan to help with that holiday hangover and to sustain momentum from your holiday upswing. You should know who needs to be targeted with additional content, information, and special offers but now the question is how. There are a few channels at your disposal to foster lifetime customers:
1. Email marketing: Develop an email marketing program targeted to individuals who purchase specifically during the holidays. It is likely that these folks may not have even used your product yet because they gave it away as a gift. Perhaps provide some incentive to make their purchase.
2. Remarketing: Continue the conversation with remarketing. You don’t want to blast people with ads and follow them around the Internet for six months, but you should maintain an acceptable level of visibility in order to inspire people to purchase again. Using dynamic remarketing ads can be a huge win in this category as you dynamically display specific images to each user.
3. Social: When someone makes a purchase, encourage that customer to engage with you on the various social platforms, the most prominent being Facebook.
4. Direct marketing: This is the old guard in this list, but you should certainly consider direct marketing as a tool for creating lifetime customers.
All these channels will help continue the conversation past the holidays and hopefully into future purchases. Within each of these channels you should utilize various messaging and value propositions.
Mixing up your campaigns and offers will minimize banner blindness and keep your content fresh:
1. Special offers: People love special offers. Consumers respond most readily to specials within social over any other type of content, according to a recent study.
2. Contests and giveaways: The aforementioned report also states that second highest response rate on social media belongs to contests and giveaways.
3. New products: When you launch a new product, make sure that all this lights up your social media channels. All your customers should know when new products are ready, but especially those holiday purchasers you are still trying to convert to lifetime customers.
4. Cross sell: Especially within email you should promote other products that the individual did not buy within their initial purchase.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath