Five tips to sell the hell out of January

Early bird catches the customer

The last few years of economic turmoil mean people are desperate to grab a bargain now more than ever before. So why wait until January when everyone else is slashing costs like a Comet exclusive New Years Eve party. If you get in early, you can get to the customers before your competitors. This is a tactic that Amazon is planning to take advantage of this year. The online retailer is launching its sale on Christmas Day, as it looks to target people browsing the web while trying out new gadgets, such as iPads, tablets and Kindles.

Select sales lines carefully

January provides the perfect opportunity to shift your slow sellers or overstocked items. You should also speak to your suppliers to see if they can offer you anything else that may complement your existing stock. It's discount season for your customers, but it should be for you too. So see if your supplier has anything they are looking to get rid of and propose a deal.

Don't discount everything. Your bestseller that attracts customers all year round needs to be separate to your sale items, and presented in a different way.

Make sure customers know you're having a sale

There's no point in having a big sale if no one knows about it. Make sure you send out an email to all of your customers, put messages all over your website, and push the news through every social media channel that your business is running, using hashtags and daily deal promotions.

Ensure any design work you need is finalised in December, so it's ready to roll out as soon as your sale begins.

Use the sale to push, well, more sales

If you've got customers milling about your shop or website, then you have the perfect opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell products. It's an art, so for more advice check out our full guide on how to cross-sell.

Keep a customer for life, not just January

Customer retention is key to growing your business. Offering a great deal on their first transaction with your business isn't enough - you need to work hard to keep them coming back for more.

For example, Zane's Cycles keep their customers loyal by crediting parents the full cost of their child's bike towards a larger model every year up to a 20-inch wheel. It could mean the business doesn't make a profit until the customer buys the second bike, but it attracts people to the shop, who'll buy accessories and keeps customers coming back year after year. Read more about customer retention.

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