Welcome to the Resilient Retail Game Plan. We are on episode number 180. I would love to start off by asking you if you would be kind enough to head over to the Spotify app if you’re listening to Spotify and rate the podcast, or if you’re listening in Apple iTunes, you can rate and review the podcast there.
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Today, I wanted to talk about a very important month in retail. Well, important because it’s a little bit of a love hate relationship with the month of January. And I wanted to talk to you about reasons that your customer will buy from you during this month. The reason I wanted to bring this up is because I know that for a lot of people, you’re coming off the high of the fourth quarter, you’re coming off those Christmas sales, and it can feel like quite a slap in the face when you go from these, these, big numbers or the maybe your biggest months of the year in November and December and then you get into January and it can feel like it’s all dropped off a cliff.
So first of all to say if this is one of your first Christmases or if you know this about yourself that you find January really tough, you’re not alone. I remember when I worked for a clothing retailer, we had a managing director who’d spent many years at M& S and she’d been in the retail industry a long time.
And I remember her saying, if I ran a shop, I would just go away for the month in January. So if someone who’s been in the retail industry within that length of time, and that seniority will say that about January, then don’t feel alarmed if you are feeling the same way. I can always feel a little bit like that record scratch noise.
You know, you, you going along, things going, well, people are coming, people are buying, but that’s not to say that people won’t buy in January. It’s just a couple of things to think about. First off, be aware that your sales are most likely to be lower than they are at other times of the year. And secondly, just be aware that there are still reasons people will buy.
Welcome to the Resilient Retail Game Plan, a podcast for anyone wanting to start, grow or scale a profitable creative product business with me, Catherine Erdly. The Resilient Retail Game Plan is a podcast dedicated to one thing, breaking down the concepts and tools that I’ve gathered from 20 years in the retail industry and showing you how you can use them in your business. This is the real nuts and bolts of running a successful product business, broken down in an easy, accessible way. This is not a podcast about learning how to make your business look good. It’s the tools and techniques that will make you and your business feel good.
Confidently plan, launch and manage your products and feel in control of your sales numbers and cash flow to help you build a resilient retail business.
So what I’m going to run you through today is these 10 things for you to think about sales stimulators, if you like. And as with these types of lists, there are going to be items where you think, well, that’s not applicable to me. That just doesn’t work for me, for my business, for my shop, for my online store.
And that’s fine. Just move on. And there are going to be some that you think, okay, all right, actually, that’s an idea. Maybe there is some messaging that I can do about these, these particular themes. So accepting. That’s not, everything’s going to apply to you and let’s jump in. Let’s get started.
#1 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – January Sales!
Catherine Erdly: So the number one reason people will buy from you. In January is January sales of the month. January is synonymous with clearance activities. All the big retailers will go into sale either on boxing day, straight out of the gate or in January. And it’s a really heavily discounted month, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
It can be a bad thing because it can feel harder to cut through in terms of full price. But that’s what we’re going to be talking about later on. Some of the reasons people will be buying from you at full price. And then the second reason, the thing that’s actually good about this is it means that this is the time of year more than any other time of year where you get a free pass to discount without it feeling distressed.
What I mean by that is one of the things that concerns people a lot when it comes to their businesses is how do I do promotional activities, discounting, stock clearance, without it looking to the customer like I’m distressed like I don’t value the brand and damaging the brand and some people never discount and that’s absolutely fine I’m all for doing as much as you can at full price But the reality is lots of businesses they will end up with some stock that they need to shift It could be something they bought that they thought would be good, but isn’t. It could be something that has maybe faults or seconds.
It could be something that actually has been pretty good, but it’s just been around for too long now, or myriad of different reasons why you might not need this stock anymore. It’s not part of your carry forward strategy for your business. And so in that case, January is the perfect time to tackle this because you can have a sale.
You can run discounts on the stock and nobody is going to bat an eyelid. And I really think you get this free pass pretty much all the way through the month of January. In people’s minds, they’re thinking January sale, January sale. So this episode will be going out on the 11th of Jan. And if you’re thinking have I left this too late?
I’d say the answer is no. If you feel like there is stock that you want to shift. Then I would go ahead and take action against it. In other words, discount it.
Now, just to make the distinction, 20% off everything is not a January sale. That is a promotional blanket discount that you may want to use once or twice a year. Very, very sparingly, but it is not a clearance activity.
When I talk about clearance activities, I’m talking about going through your stock, identifying the stock that you no longer need to have in the business, no longer want to have in the business, no longer makes sense for you and discounting it. And probably more than 20%, more like 30% or even 50% to start with.
And then reviewing it, is it shifting? do you need to hit it again? This is the stock that really you want to actually get rid of. You want to end your sale period with nothing left or as little left as possible.
This is not a question of offering a discount off some of your best sellers. Those should be left alone in peace, untouched. Full price in the month of January while you’re really focusing your customers purchasing. So using the discounts to shape their behavior and getting them to really clear through some of that stock, that older stock or that slower stock, or the ends of lines or the faulty items. whatever it is that you need to discount and clear out.
So January, as I said, it’s your free pass to go crazy with the discounts. Well, don’t go too crazy, but think about what you want to clear through and take some action and don’t worry about it. Everybody does sales in January. Selfridges does sales, Harrods does sales, Liberty does money off. All of these very high end businesses, they will offer discounts. So, they will only offer discounts off the stock they no longer want to carry forward. There’s not going to be a blanket discount off everything.
Here’s a hint, if you see businesses doing blanket discounts off everything in the month of January, they’ve probably got some issues. That are going to come home to roost at some point during the year.
And so that is the number one, the number one sales driver in January, but it’s not the only one, which is good news.
#2 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Redeem Holiday Gift Cards
Catherine Erdly: The second thing to think about the second reason that people will buy from you in January is to redeem gift cards or Christmas money actually, as it happens, it’s not necessarily just gift cards from your store, but it is also potentially, they’ve had some self gifting. There will be self gifting going on in January.
So have a think about that. If you have got the details of someone who has purchased gift cards from you, can you drop them a note and just say, just a reminder, we’ve got all of these wonderful products for you to redeem your gift card against.
Can you even offer incentives, free shipping, if you redeem your gift card this month, something like that.
But also just think about the self gifting. Is there an element of your business which is self gifting? Could you do some messaging around treating yourself? If you’ve had some Christmas money to spend, then here are our top tips for you to self purchase.
So think about the self purchasing element that definitely plays a part in the month of January as well.
#3 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Something New!
Catherine Erdly: Third reason someone will buy from you in January is because you’ve got something new. Every single business that I’ve worked for, big retailers, they all have a new range, a new collection that comes out straight after Christmas.
The phrase that is often used in retail is snap back. I love that phrase. Snap back basically means right. Okay. Christmas, been and gone. Maybe you do some clearance activities specifically around your Christmassy products, your screaming Christmas, as it were, and then you snap back, which means fresh product out.
Now, often it’s targeted at Valentine’s Day. You will probably have seen this, supermarkets are the number one culprits, as it were, the number one proponents of snap back. You’ll see Christmas out, Valentine’s in. We go from Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Roses to Chocolate Hearts. Boom, done.
Valentine’s Day is an interesting one. I think it’s getting later and later every year, like a lot of occasions. So if you’ve got a Valentine’s range, you could launch it the beginning of January. You probably aren’t going to see much activity on it during the month of January itself, maybe towards the end.
Really, Valentine’s Day tends to be a very focused time period, usually around two weeks before the actual day itself. So obviously, that means not before the end of January. So you could do that.
other new ranges, when I worked at Paperchase, for example, we had very specific ranges, which will tie into some themes that I’m going to talk about a bit later.
When I worked in clothing, I worked for several different clothing companies and every single year they would bring out a nautical themed range, and by that I mean whites and navy, which would come out, just after Christmas and it was that sort of fresh. springy pop, but not too springy because it’s still freezing cold and wet and miserable.
And so it was always this sort of nod to spring and they would always plan this straight after christmas So that again when the customer walked into the shop. It didn’t feel like the same thing that they’d seen over and over and over again in the run up to christmas. It was something fresh and new.
So there is definitely something to do with january newness. So what I would think about with the newness is I would consider how much clearance activity, sale activity that you’re doing. The way big retailers do it is that they have their sale at the front of the store as it were, they’ll push that as hard as they can until the point at which that’s reduced a bit and then that goes to the back and the newness comes to the front.
So for you what that might look like is if you’re really pushing a promotion, a clearance event in January, you want your newness to happen pretty much straight after that. You don’t want your mixed messages, you don’t want to be both simultaneously talking about newness and talking about your clearance.
Work out what order you’re going to be doing that in. You may not have anything new, but if you haven’t, then this is definitely something to think about for future Januaries, or can you get something in fairly quickly, but something new and fresh and interesting to talk about in January is also a really good sales driver.
#4 Reason People Will Buy From You in January -Limited Editions or Exclusive Collections
Catherine Erdly: Point number four, something limited edition or exclusive. This can work. This is another option around the newness. It’s just about saying that this is something that’s only available in January or perhaps like a limited edition if only a certain quantity of it. So this could also work quite well generating some excitement and it works super well if you tie it in with this idea of self gifting as well.
So what can you offer them that is only available in January but also works for the people who’ve got some money to spend post Christmas and want to treat themselves?
#5 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Get Organized
Catherine Erdly: Reason number five, people buy in January. Organization. So this is one of the things that we always had in paper chase in January. One of our ranges was called get organized, pretty straightforward.
Filing and storage, diaries, calendars, notebooks, anything that gave people that feeling of right, it’s January, let’s get ourselves sorted out. It’s almost like a miniature back to school after the Christmas holidays. So you can think of it like that, very much a stationary organization focus. If you’ve got any products that are date related, so calendars or diaries, you really, really, really have to push them as hard as you can in January, because past January, they’re very, very hard to shift.
In fact, They can be tricky even from the middle to the end of January. So anything you’ve got with dates on that start the beginning of 2000 and 20, 2024, make sure you’re pushing them. Make sure that you are clearing through those. Even if you have to discount, honestly, you’ll be better off discounting it and shifting through it in January than trying to get rid of it in February when it will clearly have turned into a brown banana, as they call them, the products that nobody wants, no matter what and almost no matter what the price. So make sure you’re pushing your dated product in January, but also thinking about how do people like to get organized? What kinds of products might support that? What could you offer that will help people really feel prepared for the new year ahead? This is this whole idea of new year, new you.
Which is a cliche as we all know, but it definitely does play into the customer psychology. And that is something for you to consider and talk about that more coming up.
#6 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Veganuary / Dry January
Catherine Erdly: Point number six, there are two big themes for January that may well be relevant for you, depending on where you’re at in your product selection and the kind of business that you are.
The first thing is Veganuary. And the second thing is dry January. So if you have got any type of products that fit into either of those themes, make sure they are front and center. And you can be a little bit, you know, think outside the box. If you sell hot chocolate, for example, can you talk about dry January treating yourself extra bonus points if it’s vegan hot chocolate. Make sure that you have gone through anything. If it’s vegan skincare, if it’s, Vegan bags, for example, make sure that you’re talking about those because these are two big themes that crop up again and again and again in the press, in public discussion, and you want to make sure that if you’ve got any products that fit into those themes, that you’re putting those front and center and not only just saying, Hey, I’ve got this, but talking about why it’s vegan, there are all kinds of things that are vegan that you may not even your customers may not even understand why even you.
For example, vegan makeup. What makes it vegan? Things like that. Have a think of vegan skincare. Think about how you can talk about this and, and pull these themes in. Because anytime it’s something that it’s on your customer’s mind anyway, it’s brilliant to be able to tie your product into that because your customer has a heightened awareness at this point of the themes around things like Veganuary, dry January.
#7 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Health, Well-Being and Fitness
Catherine Erdly: So then on to number seven, health and fitness, also incorporating into that well being, self care and habits. So it’s quite a big one. So this is really the new year, new you. But thinking about anything that you’ve got to do with wellness with. With health, with fitness, if you’re clothing, have you got active wear, for example, do you sell water bottles?
So those were the two big themes for Paperchase. It was get organized and get fit. And so we had things like fitness trackers and journals and all the paraphernalia, so the water bottles and, and things like that, as well as then all of the organizational stuff. So again, thinking about this is, can be, this is a pretty broad topic.
So if you’ve got anything that relates to health, well being, and also wellness, so that could be, for example, Meditation, relaxation, anything to do with that, make sure that you are talking to your customers about it because January is the time of year when people think about establishing good habits. So do you have bullet journals, for example, trackers?
Things that can get people to really focus in on those healthy habits that we all like to set ourselves as intentions or resolutions at the beginning of the month, whether or not they last, who knows, but this is your peak peak month for talking to people about wellness.
#8 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Holiday’s
Catherine Erdly: Number eight, holidays. You probably noticed this, all of the ads in January flip over to all of these holiday ads and these holiday companies and people talking about, you know, your getaways and your breaks.
This is a really key one for the month of January, a lot of people start thinking about their holidays, swimwear, this is often a launch for swimwear season, for example, people really looking to purchase, especially if they are going somewhere warm, and they want a wardrobe refresh, even if you’ve got products that you have from summer that you’ve still got lying around.
Then you could even put together an email that talks about you going away, getting away somewhere hot and want a refresh. Like this is what we’ve got. This is definitely something that again, clothing, this is a particular one here about making sure there’s an element of something. It could be that you can reach out to people who are, going on holiday and putting together some kind of holiday edit, something like that.
The other thing to just bear in mind is that even if it’s not clothing, then luggage, organization, passport covers, all of these things people might be thinking about because that’s the frame of mind that people are in. They’re thinking, right, going on holiday and some people will be getting winter sun, so they’ll be going immediately.
Some people it’ll be longer term because they’re thinking about the something, the season ahead. But Bear in mind, your customers are thinking about travel, holidays, and therefore, again, what can you talk to them about, what’s a good thing to, to put in front of them and explain. Really, a lot of this is about saying to your customer, I get where you’re at, I get where your head’s at, here’s some products that would fit what you’re thinking about right now.
And all of that just helps you make the most out of these selling opportunities.
#9 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Cold Weather / Being Cozy
Catherine Erdly: Number nine, cold weather and being cozy. So number nine, this one is really about reminding you that we’re still in winter. It’s still cold. It’s still dark. It’s still wet. It’s still windy. So if you’ve got that kind of product, that heavier weight knitwear, those candles.
Blankets, anything about making things cozy. If you’re an outdoor business, what do you have to keep people dry and warm? Don’t stop talking about them just because we’re in January. You really have probably up until about March before people start thinking, okay, really now I need to, now I want to think about spring.
So make sure you keep going with that gloves, scarves, hats. Again, this may be something that people are thinking, right, I’ve got a bit of money from Christmas. I’m going to buy myself some nice slippers or a hot water bottle. All of these things are still really, really relevant. So don’t feel like now that we’re in January, you can’t talk about your wintery products.
People still want to be cozy, they still want to be warm and people desperately, desperately need that light, cozy feeling when it’s so, so dark outside and we don’t even have the, the, the magic of Christmas to make it all sparkly. So this is really the time of year where you can talk to people about being warm, being cozy and making the most out of the winter.
#10 Reason People Will Buy From You in January – Wedding Planning and Prep
Catherine Erdly: And number 10 is weddings. So did you know that the biggest time of year for engagements is actually between Christmas and New Year because people are with their families and it’s a significant time of year. So there are often a lot of engagements over Christmas, New Year’s. And so in January what you may find is if you’ve got anything that is to do with weddings, wedding dress shops are often super busy with fittings and things like that in January. But equally it could be items to do with getting organized for weddings and looking ahead.
Now, it’s not the wedding guests season yet ’cause the majority of we weddings happen in the summer months. And so you see from sort of . April onwards, then you get to see people doing the purchasing for weddings.
So wedding gifts, for example, things like that. But the wedding organizational stage and really starting to think about weddings, then that’s the kind of thing that we start seeing at the beginning of the year. So just bear that in mind. There are a lot, as I said, lots of these themes, they may not be relevant to you, but this is just really to get you thinking about what you could be talking to your customers about in the month of January in order to promote sales.
Bonus Idea! Customer Loyalty
Catherine Erdly: And if none of these work, or if any of them do, and you want an extra bonus one, think about loyalty. Think about those people who’ve bought from you at Christmas. Are there reasons that you can give them to come back and shop from you in January. Could you offer somebody who’s maybe a new customer a small discount to come and purchase from you again in January?
Could you reach out to your best customers from the Christmas time period and say, thank you so much for your custom. It’s been great to have you with us. Here’s our new selection. And again, it could be a discount related. It could be free shipping. It could be some kind of other perk, but don’t forget about your most loyal customers.
They are the ones who are most likely to buy from you in this somewhat tricky month. And so make sure that whatever you’re doing that you are focusing in your loyal customers
Recap – 10 reasons why people will buy from you in the month of January
Catherine Erdly: So then quick recap, 10 reasons that people will buy from you in the month of January. Number one, because it’s on sale. Number two, because they’re self gifting after they’ve got gift card or some Christmas money. Number three, cause you’re offering them something new. Number four, especially if it’s limited edition or exclusive to the month of January. And particularly if that then ties in with the self gifting. Number five, if it helps them get organized.
Number six, if it ties into Veganuary or dry January. number seven, if it helps them with health, fitness, well being, self care, or having new habits. Number eight, if it’s related to holidays. Number nine, to do with cold weather. And number ten. Thinking about weddings and wedding preparation.
So there you have it. If you want to know more about getting ready for the months ahead, then we’ve had a couple of episodes. So number 179 last week’s episode, which was about what the mastermind taught me about success in 2024. We also have, Number 177, which is our 2024 Retail Trends episode. Go check that out.
And number 178, the biggest questions you can ask yourself as you scale. Thank you so much for listening in and here’s to a great month of sales in January.