Is May Too Early to Get Your Ecommerce Business Ready for Back-to-School Sales?
The school year is just wrapping up and it might seem to seem too soon for your business to get ready for back to school sales. Don’t “back-to-school” sales occur in July and August? While most parents don’t begin back to school shopping this early (and many kids are last minute with their back-to-school wish lists), it’s not too early for your business to prepare for a boost in sales in early Q3.
How do you tip the scales in your favor when it comes to boosting your back-to-school sales? Do you focus on paid ads, email marketing, partnerships, or expanding to new sales channels? The possibilities are endless and can leave you feeling overwhelmed without a clear plan.
It’s easy to get carried away with flashy new marketing fads that help you to get “more exposure”. While your products will be seen by more eyeballs when they are advertised on more platforms, does that translate to more sales for you? More importantly, does additional “exposure” lead to more profits? By the time you pay for ads and your marketing team, your profits may not be as high as you had expected.
Businesses that focus primarily on marketing miss one of the most important facts of business: selling to existing customers is more profitable than selling to new customers.
Selling to existing customers not only eliminates the customer acquisition cost, but existing customers require less maintenance and support. Thus, sales from an email marketing campaign to your existing customers about a new sale leads to pure profits.
According to a recent article, it costs about five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. You have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer, and only a 5-20% chance of selling to a new customer.
How Taking Care of Your Existing Customers Helps You to Delight New Customers
Given this insight, how do you balance taking care of and selling to existing customers with bringing in and selling to new leads?
While most businesses spend about 80% of their resources on marketing and 20% on improving internal operations, we believe that doing the reverse will ensure long-term profitability:
Focus about 80% of your resources (time, money, energy) on improving daily operations (invest in better systems, accounting tools, CRMs, automations etc.) and 20% on marketing.
Improving your daily operations gives your business a strong foundation for long-term success in sales and delighting your customers.
Use the “slow” time now to focus on improving your daily operations, so that you serve your existing customers better than any of your competitors.
When you take care of your current customers and leads (by fulfilling orders and responding to inquiries quickly), you will be top of mind during the busy season.
Here are some questions that can help you to save costs on operations, delight new customers, and reduce refunds:
- How can I make it easier to fulfill orders for my existing customers?
- What can I automate to avoid delays if a staff member is out? (order fulfillment, knowledge base with FAQ’s etc.)
- Can I empower my staff to make certain decisions so I don’t have to get involved?
Download our handy cheat-sheet to help you boost sales this summer while cutting costs.
Use your existing customer base to improve your website, product, and processes. By optimizing your operations for current customers, you will be able to delight your new customers too.
Use This Time to Get Ready for the Influx of Sales
One of the fears that many businesses have is not being able to fulfill orders efficiently during the busy season. You might wonder how you will get out all orders on time, or whether you have enough inventory or staff.
Now is the time to get a head-start on back-to-school shopping by simplifying your workflow for existing customers. Use low-cost marketing strategies for your current customers such email marketing, marketing via text messages, or coupons in the mail:
- Let them know about your upcoming back to school specials,,
- Give them a sneak peak into new products, discounts, or special events (in-person or virtual) that you will be hosting,
- Show them how you are taking care of your customers. For example, what improvements you are making? Will you have better quality, faster shipping, more selection, new features, new products, or better support?
When you optimize your workflow to serve your current customers, you cut costs and you create a process that will help you to delight your new customers more efficiently. This in turn will lead to repeat sales, positive reviews, and free word-of-mouth marketing.
How You Can Get Ready To Boost Summer Sales
Although the peak of shopping for back-to-school sales is still 1-2 months away, this is an excellent time for your business to get a head-start on a profitable Q3. We recommend that you focus 80% of your resources (time, money, energy) on improving your operations (order fulfillment, accounting, shipping, customer service) to cut costs and increase customer satisfaction and focus 20% on marketing to bring in new sales and leads. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Get a boost in your sales by creating a campaign for your existing customers with summer specials
- Utilize feedback from existing customers to simplify your operations, cut costs, and increase customer satisfaction
- Explore options for automations to free up your staff’s time. Common processes that ecommerce businesses automate include data entry, inventory updates, shipping, email marketing, and customer satisfaction surveys.
In conclusion, focusing 80% of your efforts on improving your operations and 20% on your marketing will help you to increase your profits.
Next Steps To Get Ready For Back-To-School
Anytime that you expect your workload to increase, it is a good idea to automate as much as possible.
Here are some common tasks to automate:
-Responses to sales leads with a link to book a sales call
-Notices to customer inquiries and let them know their ticket was received
-Bookkeeping, shipping, and inventory updates
We find that businesses that automate their bookkeeping have have better cashflow. The reason is that their QuickBooks is up-to-date and they can make business decisions almost in real-time. They also have fewer errors in their books, and don’t need to tie up their inventory with overstocking.
If you are looking for solution to automate your bookkeeping click the button below to reach out to the Connex Sales Team.