Summer is upon us and it’s time to up your marketing game to account for the drop in online sales the hot weather seems to bring. There’s a certain energy that accompanies summertime: kids are out of school and families spend time vacationing, having backyard barbecues, and playing poolside. Sun, fun, and travel seem to fill the days more than online shopping.
That’s why it’s important for ecommerce sellers to take advantage of this summertime energy. The best way to go about that is to use creative marketing strategies to boost summer sales.
In this post, we’ll offer you effective marketing ideas to keep your customers engaged during the summer months.
1. Segment by Weather
A marketing tactic that seems to be growing in popularity is weather-based segmentation. This method involves creating both proactive and reactive campaigns that are based on past, current, and future weather-related buying patterns and behavior.
You can segment by geographical area of the country or worldwide and customize your email marketing to customers in different parts of the world.
For example, let’s say you sell women’s clothing online. During summer, your marketing to customers in New England should be different than your marketing to customers in Australia. While lightweight shirts and dresses might be top sellers in New England, customers in Australia are experiencing winter and probably need hoodies and sweaters.
2. Write Vacation-Focused Content
According to a recent AAA Travel survey, it’s expected that as many as 67 million people in the U.S. will hit the road in the summer months this year. That is a huge pool of travelers you can market to.
Vacation-focused content allows you to anticipate the needs of your vacationing customers before, during, and after their holidays. Consider the needs and wants of summer travelers that your products can fulfill. Which of your products will enhance family vacations? And, how can you present this information in an engaging way without making it a hard sell?
There are multiple ways you can successfully accomplish this type of marketing. Here are some examples:
- Travel guides – Say your ecommerce store sells clothing, you could publish content that includes travel guides for popular destinations along with advice about what type of clothing visitors should bring.
- Beauty guides – If your store specializes in beauty products, consider blog posts about a simplified travel beauty regimen, or about airline restrictions for containers of liquid beauty products in carry-on bags.
- Blog posts – Create content that talks about how your products can enhance the summer months. If you sell sporting goods, you could write content that talks about the benefits of outdoor play. If you sell skin care items, you can write a post about creating your own spa day for a relaxing “stay-cation.”
Using your content to provide useful, engaging information is an effective way to reach your audience without making it look like a hard sell.
3. Create Summer-Related How-To Videos
Video content is an increasingly popular and effective marketing technique. In fact, it’s estimated that video is important to more than 80% of marketers for reaching potential customers. How-to videos are a versatile way to show your products in action year-round, but they can also be seasonally focused. For example, an ecommerce retailer who sells kitchen products might highlight the products that can be used for backyard barbecues and parties.
Lifestyle videos are also well received by online shoppers. Showcase your products being used in engaging videos that demonstrate the ease, beauty, practicality, features, or benefits that your product will provide to buyers. For example, if you sell women’s workout clothes, you might create a video that shows a woman wearing your products participating in a workout class.
4. Promote Summer-Themed Gift Guides
Summer is the season for many celebrations – Father’s Day, graduations, weddings, and family reunions, to name a few. These are all occasions that include gift-giving, which makes gift guides a helpful and effective marketing tool. Summer-themed gift guides, when presented correctly, help your customers make quick purchasing decisions without having to search through many pages of items.
Promoting your summer-themed gift guides is essential. You can use various methods to do so. For example, create blog posts featuring a gift guide and share on social media, use email marketing to reach your customer base, or even create giveaways or contests that highlight products included in the guides.
5. Celebrate Lesser-Known Summer Holidays
We’re always looking for a way to celebrate something that touches us in a personal way. Check out these lesser known holidays. If you have a product that fits, let your customers know. Highlight summer products that could make the perfect gift for these unique holidays.
- Social Wellness Month
- Family Reunion Month
- Global Forgiveness Day – July 7
- World Population Day – July 11
- Cheer up the Lonely Day – July 11
- Geek Day – July 13
- Ice Cream Day – July 15
- Get out of the Doghouse Day – 3rd Monday
- Freedom Appreciation Week – 2nd week
- National Ice Cream Month
- National Smile Month
- Simplify Your Life Week – 2nd week
- Watermelon Day – August 3
- Happiness Happens Day – August 8
- Book Lovers Day – August 9
- International Youth Day – August 12
- Kiss and Make up Day – August 25
6. Use Extra Time to Get Ready for the Busy Sales Season
Summer is the perfect time to begin planning for the upcoming holiday season. Put the extra time you have during the slow season to good use. It’s a great time to plan the marketing strategies that you’re going to employ in the coming months. Planning new promotions, product releases, and advertising campaigns will simplify your workload when sales increase. BigCommerce has some great ideas for preparing for the ecommerce holiday season, including how to get started early.
July and August are the perfect time to complete tasks that may get overlooked the rest of the year. Successful ecommerce business owners know that it’s important to make the good use of any downtime. So, here are some marketing tasks that you should consider for those slower summer months.
It’s well-known that July is the slowest sales month of the year for ecommerce retailers. In fact, it’s estimated that there is as much as a 30% difference in sales between July and busy sales months like December. It’s the ideal time to work on optimizing your online store and testing some new or different marketing strategies.
Here are some easy ways to optimize your site:
- Review and update your product pages with engaging content and quality images.
- Test and improve website load times. Tools like Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Insights are free and easy to use.
- Evaluate your ecommerce software solutions to determine if they are still meeting your needs or if you need an upgrade. It’s much easier to change or upgrade inventory management solutions during the summer when you have less inventory.
- Analyze SEO data to ensure that your product listings are visible to online consumers.
The month of August typically shows an uptick in ecommerce sales due to back-to-school shopping. Now is the time to market your products that are in any way related to getting the kids back to school.
- Promote school-related products on social media and in your content.
- Create a Back-to-School product guide to make it easy for parents to get school-related products all in one place.
- Use countdown timers to create a sense of urgency. Because school starts at different times in different locations, consider counting down to Labor Day. Here are some Labor Day marketing tips, if you need any.
The key to year-round ecommerce success is to understand that different times of the year call for different marketing strategies. While sales typically go down in the summer months, it doesn’t mean you have to accept that as fact for your business. Don’t think you sell any summer-type products? Think outside the box. Simple things like car parts, what is is more likely to break down in the summer? Selling DVD’s? What are some beach or vacation-themed summer favorites? Jewelry bead supplier? Why not feature some of your brighter, summer or beach-themed products?
While summer months can be a challenge for some online sellers, think of it as a perfect time to try something new and different to attract buyers. Test different ideas and re-use what works best – for any time of the year! Using the tips above will help you improve your sales this summer, keep your customers engaged, and ensure that you’re prepared for the holiday season around the corner.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published July 2014 and was updated in August 2019 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.