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Five Ways Retailers Can Compete with Summer

Posted on 4.08.2012

As the days get longer and the temperatures get hotter, retailers on the Web must be prepared for the stiff competition that the next five months will bring – Summer.

Summer, although a wonderful thing for those of us with vacation and sick days stored up, is also a slow time for many merchants, both on and off the Web. However, with a well thought out and sizzling-hot strategy, merchants can sweat out the slow summer months by encouraging customers to make purchases and engage with their online properties. Check out these five tips below:

Competitive Pricing

Not only do merchants need to keep their pricing lower than competitors all year long, but pushing pricing down during the summer months can give consumers the extra bit of incentive that they need to frequent your e-commerce site daily. Additionally, adding a summer clearance section on your site will not only boost sales, but also help clean out your inventory for the holiday season that is right around the corner (yes, already).

Local Social

Since consumers will be checking their social feeds in-between their trips to the beach and summer night get-togethers, it is important to utilize social media to not only promote your brand and products, but also to bring people out of the hot sun and onto your website or into your brick-and-mortar store. For example, use Foursquare and Yelp to promote deals and specials for local customers, use Facebook and Twitter to create customer loyalty by engaging and interacting with consumers, use YouTube to provide consumers with informative product tutorials, and use Pinterest to feature your business’s newest products and summer trends.

Email Strategy

Many consumers are looking at their inboxes on-the-go, therefore it is important to make sure emails are mobile-ready so that consumers can read and interact with them easily from wherever they are. Furthermore, marketers should retest the time-of-day that emails are sent out, because many times the change in seasons brings a change of schedule, which could effect the optimal time for emails to be sent out for a specific audience. Merchants should also have fun with summer emails – create a summer product list, summer tips or summer sales email and always use a sizzling hot subject line, because the subject line alone will influence whether your audience will want to read the mail from the pool, or send it straight to the spam folder.

Promotions and Events

Ever heard of Christmas in July? Although summer time is full of holidays that retailers can create marketing sales and events around (Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day), this doesn’t mean that merchants can't come up with other unique events and holidays to promote their products around. For example, create a Christmas in July sale to let consumers know that they only have six months left before the biggest holiday of the year, promote a rainy day sale if the forecast in your local area calls for some wet weather (which every brick-and-mortar retailer knows is great shopping weather), or give away a summer themed product for purchases that exceed a certain amount, for example, any purchase more than $50 will receive a free bottle of sunscreen or a visor.

Maximizing Online Time

Because the time your customers spend online this summer may be limited, it is important to get the most out of every minute that they are engaging with your brand. If your site doesn’t already include recommended product functionality, this is a good time to implement it because consumers will be inclined to look at more products if your site is taking some of the research work away. Augmented Reality is another feature that will surely increase your consumers' average time on site, because they will want to virtually try products on. And of course, great product videos, photos, promotions and sales (as mentioned above) will also intrigue visitors to spend more time on your site, as well as follow-up coupons, surveys and even gamification features.

Got more summer marketing tips? Leave them in the Comments section below!

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