8 Ways to Drive Retail Sales in Q1

Feb 04, 2018
6 min read

The start of a new fiscal year means a fresh set of company goals to drive growth and ROI. Your sales associates are major players in achieving your objectives, which is why your strategy must drive a year of successful sales, starting with Q1. One method for driving retail sales in Q1 is to assume nothing and to test everything. You can never be 100 percent sure which approach will work best for your company until you test it first.

This should apply to all of your retail strategies in 2018. It is critical to find creative ways to increase retail sales, especially when the retail world can be so fluid. As you determine the best ways to drive sales in retail, you'll start to get more comfortable with your various channels for success. Still, you must exhibit diligence in your efforts. The busiest shopping period of the year is now behind you, and it’s the perfect is time to nurture customer relationships and encourage customers to continue shopping.

Customers may still be recovering from a holiday spending hangover, but that doesn't mean they aren't going to spend. Keep in mind that aiming for Q1 numbers that match Q4 is futile. It’s a known fact in the retail industry that customers don't spend as much outside the holiday season. Nonetheless, you can still drive sales in retail that can help your company grow year round. To help, here are eight ways to drive sales in Q1!

1. Focus on What You Do Best

If you're trying to figure out how to maximize sales in retail, you can start by sticking to what you do best. Look at Q1 as its own unique quarter with specific realities. The last thing you want to do is compare Q1 to Q4. You’ll only be disappointed in the end. Instead, use Q1 as a baseline for growth to build upon throughout the year by excelling at your company’s strengths and improving weaknesses. A good way to start is by evaluating your product and service offerings to ensure they are positioned well and your messaging is aimed at the right target customer personas.

It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to please every person who visits your website or physical store, so you shouldn’t try to. Instead, focus on your target customers by offering a core set of products and services and promote the benefits they provide customers. While customers will continue to shop in the new year, they will be a bit more discerning about what they buy. As a result, Q1 is a great time to focus on strengthening customer relationships you built during the holiday season and go the extra mile with customer service

2. Track All of Your Marketing Campaigns

This is a necessity for your company year round. In Q1, you'll be rolling out new marketing plans, so it’s important to analyze and determine how successful last year’s marketing campaigns were. As you run and analyze campaigns throughout the year, you can tweak and adjust your strategies to reach customers better. Measure the success of your campaigns by ensuring they help achieve your company’s smart goals. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This will help you set and keep track of your company goals with an action plan to achieve them. You can then use that data to improve future campaigns.

3. Change Your Website Headlines

Another way to increase sales in retail is by switching up the messaging in your website headlines. Your website headings are some of the first interactions customers have with your brand when they visit your website, and they can impact your brand’s first impression and reputation. It’s important to ensure your headlines grab customers’ attention in a good way and highlight that your brand can solve a popular pain point felt by your target audience. Work with your marketing team to develop messaging within your of the type of headlines that will compel your target audience to stay on your site and enter the sales funnel.

4. Transition Items From Holiday to Cold Weather

Finding a way for your business to be relevant each season can be a difficult task, but in the end, it allows you to position yourself as a solution for customers year round. For example, imagine you are a clothing retailer. As part of the holiday season, you most likely released holiday items and specials. Luckily, you don't need to discount or store all your holiday goods until next year. Rather, you can reposition your holiday items as winter items in your marketing messaging.

To illustrate, you can change the messaging for sweaters, socks, pajamas, and jackets promotions by eliminating any mentions the holiday season. The same can also be done for sporting goods, such as snowboarding, skiing, and hockey gear. While, these goods may often be popular holiday gifts, they can still be purchased and used throughout winter. Use your new headline strategy to enforce the message that these types of products are still essentials in the new year. Then, you can further your messaging by focusing your marketing and advertising on targeted buyers in colder regions.

5. Start Planning for Upcoming Holidays

While fall is the biggest holiday shopping season, you can still take advantage of other holidays in Q1, including Valentine's Day (February 14) and Chinese New Year (February 16). The Super Bowl (February 4) is another popular buying time in the U.S. Customers react favorably to brands that create excitement all year round. This creates an opportunity to center campaigns around smaller holidays.

You might even brainstorm holiday ideas that you can use as unique celebrations for your customers, such as celebrating your company’s birthday. Personalization can also go a long way in gaining brand loyalty. For example, you might send out a birthday message to customers with a customized coupon or discount. It can also be included as part of a consumer incentive program.

6. Keep that Momentum from Q4

As a retail company, if you've done all the right things, Q4 should have been successful quarter. With that in mind, take some of those gross profits and invest them in your Q1 plans. Use the Q4 momentum to fuel your sales motivation for Q1. The new year is also a great time to reach out to new customers who connected with your company during the holiday season. You can use marketing content to help sales associates remind customers that your company can benefit them year round, rather than just during the holidays.

7. Sell on Value

Another effective way to drive sales in retail is through value selling. Anyone can mark down their prices, and while they might help sell excess inventory, clearance sales don't always help with profits. Customers are intelligent and understand that they get what they pay for, which is why many shoppers are willing to pay more for higher quality products and services.

Start by establishing the value of your products in your customers’ minds. With this strategy, your sales associates can easily translate that into a discussion about add-ons. For example, think of the many types of tablets available on the market today. Yet, most customer still tend to prefer certain brands over others, regardless of the cost.

8. Get into Customers’ Top of Mind

Successful brands grow and adapt over time, but during every change, they are focused on making their customers feel appreciated. Don't think of advertising as a one-and-done type of deal. To be successful, you must build a brand presence, both online and in person. Brands become top of mind when they become familiar to customers. Use the rule of seven in your marketing strategies to help build brand awareness and loyalty.

The rule of seven states that the average shopper needs to see an offer at least seven times before they buy. However, this doesn’t mean you should bombard customers with emails and other marketing messages. Rather, start with a simple three-touch approach and work your way up to seven as customers move through the sales funnel.

Final Thought

Q1 strategy gives you the opportunity to set a sales tone for the rest of the year. Remember that the most successful sales and marketing strategies are continuously tracked, analyzed and adapted to fit customer needs. By continuously analyzing your campaigns and sales strategy, you can gain valuable insight about your target market and can then create campaigns that will reach your customers better.

  • Sales Performance Management
  • Sales Planning
Karrie Lucero
Karrie Lucero
Creative Strategist

Karrie Lucero is a Creative Strategist at Xactly Corp. She earned Journalism and Marketing degrees from New Mexico State University and has experience in the tech and SaaS industries, content strategy and creation, video production, and brand storytelling.