What to Do When Online Sales are Slow
When you’re an indie maker it can feel disheartening when sales on your website or Etsy shop are slow. Retail in general ebbs and flows based on the season, so sometimes the slump is not something within your control. You may feel anxious without the steady stream of orders rolling in, but fortunately there is a lot you can do to keep your business momentum during these slowdowns.
1. Start Planning
When you’re an entrepreneur, you have a never-ending list of to do items. Use this time to get organized and create a plan of attack. Have you been neglecting your blogging, newsletters, or social media posting? Create an editorial calendar to schedule your content. Do you vend at a lot of craft markets? Do some research on what markets are coming up and get those applications in. When was the last time you checked out the competition? See what others in your niche are up to for inspiration and ideas on how you can get ahead.
2. Pull Reports and Look for Trends
As a creative business, you no doubt find fulfillment and joy in the act of creating your products. Actual data and numbers - the boring stuff - tends to fall by the wayside. Now is a good time to pull some reports and look for trends in your sales data. Is the slowdown you’re experiencing normal for this time of year? What do past numbers have to say about upcoming months? Understanding your data and your business’ ebbs and flows can help you plan better for the future both in terms of inventory and when to run sales or other promotions.
3. Run a Sale (but not too often!)
When business is slow your first inclination is probably to run a sale so you can jumpstart those orders. But if you run sales too frequently your customers will come to expect them and just wait for the next one to roll around. Try to have a reason for a sale beyond anxiety over slow orders. If your sales are only reactionary, you never get an opportunity to find out what the underlying issue behind slow sales is. As much as possible, try to plan your sales in advance so you have plenty of time to prepare and so that it’s a novelty for your customers. If your slump seems to be an anomaly, try a flash sale on your social media or start planning your big annual sale.
4. Look into Advertising Options
Sometimes word of mouth can only get you so far. Luckily there are many opportunities for a small business to advertise. Learn about advertising options on social media, Google ads, or publications and websites local to you. Each business is unique so the type of ad you try will be specific to you, but there’s no shame in getting paid help.
5. Make More Product!
Handmade businesses are time and labor intensive. Take advantage of a sales slump by getting ahead on making new products. Maybe you’ll come up with your next bestseller.
Sales slowdowns are never fun, but they don’t need to hobble your business or momentum. Use the time to get ahead, plan your upcoming tasks and to-do lists, and think about all the ways you can make your business grow.