Retail Operations

How Wireless Retailers Can Compensate for Seasonal Lulls

Beth Wanner | Jun 11, 2018
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All retail businesses are susceptible to seasonal peaks and lulls. Exactly when businesses experience these highs and lows is dependent upon factors like the business’s location and product category—after all, winter coats will of course be more popular during the winter season, and this season occurs at different times of the year around the world—but for wireless retailers everywhere, November and December are undeniably the best months for business. Approximately 30% of all the electronics sold annually in the U.S. are purchased between Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, with Apple alone selling more than 77 million iPhones in the just last quarter of 2017. ‘Tis truly the season to be a wireless retailer.

The remaining 70% of sales are divided between the other 10 months, leading unavoidably to seasonal lulls. These may be tempered by the release of a high-profile new phone or the back-to-school buying rush, but in this industry, slumping sales are somewhat inevitable. Luckily, they don't have to be debilitating. There is actually a lot that wireless retailers can do to both drive revenue and ensure this down time isn’t wasted.

Understand seasonal factors

Spring and summer tend to be the slow seasons for cell phone sales in the U.S., but this may be anecdotal. The only way to truly compensate for seasonal lulls is to anticipate when and why they actually happen. To do this, begin by reviewing sales data from the previous years. Look at when sales are low and high along with how those sales break down by product, consumer segment, or price point. This will give you a good idea of your brand’s unique sales history and help you anticipate dipping sales.

Target new customers

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Another aspect of seasonality is the consumer buying cycle: for instance, right after someone buys a new phone is when they are least likely to buy another. Targeting outreach efforts at new, prospective customers is a way to overcome consumer apathy and increase the overall customer base. Studying data on existing customers makes it easier to find, engage with, and compel the consumers most likely to switch wireless retailers.

Engage old customers

Pestering existing customers during seasonal lulls makes them less inclined to buy in any season. That means outreach efforts must be carefully calibrated based on individual consumer's known needs and wants. For instance, someone who just bought a new phone may not be in the market for another, but they could be interested in accessories. Customer data is a goldmine of insights that wireless retailers can use to get people in the store and products off the shelves.

Go mobile

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A big reason sales slow down in the warm months is because people spend more time outdoors and more money on vacations. There are simply more forces vying for their attention and disposable income. Focusing on mobile marketing and making mobile sales easy is a way to connect with potential consumers even when they're nowhere near the store. Remember: just because your stores are empty doesn’t mean your sales can’t be high.

Rely on drop shipping

There is only so much wireless retailers can do to drive sales during seasonal lulls, which is why they must also cut costs. The risk is that by scaling things back and having fewer products to offer, they can degrade the consumer experience and sacrifice sales as a result. Everybody likes options, and lacking them can cause your customers to look elsewhere. As such, drop shipping is an easy compromise. Retailers are able to keep less inventory in stock without limiting the range of products available to customers.

Run a promotion

Sales and special promotions are common during seasonal lulls, but they don't have to hurt the bottom line. Data from POS or CRM systems can reveal what kinds of products and price points are likely to do well when things are generally slow. They also reveal the kinds of messages and offers that are likely to get people into the store. A data-driven approach leads to promotions that are more about building excitement and less about lowering costs.

Last, but not least, use this slower time to optimize the processes, resources, and strategies you already have in place. After all, that busy Christmas period will be back in no time.

iQmetrix is a suite of solutions that put wireless retailers in the driver's seat of data. Finding and understanding insights is faster and easier than ever in any season. When you're read to enjoy sustained success all year long, contact our team.

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Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Tooykrub, Shutterstock / testing, Shutterstock / Anton_Ivanov

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