How to overcome seasonal fluctuations in demand on Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify

Seasonality is a completely predictable phenomenon that has not only disadvantages (such as lower sales), but can also be used to benefit (with a properly built marketing strategy). We’ll tell you what measures exist to smooth out seasonal fluctuations in demand and how to minimize their impact on your business.

Advantages of seasonality

The main feature of these fluctuations, as noted above, is their predictability. This makes it possible to prepare in advance for both a decrease and an increase in demand. Of course, it is somewhat more difficult to do this in “seasonal” niches (e.g., goods for beach recreation or winter sports), but no less realistic.

Other advantages of seasonality are worth noting:

  • attracting a new audience through promotions and sales;
  • realization of inventory balances;
  • Opportunities for experimentation and innovation, which has a positive impact on competitiveness;
  • expanding the product line, which is necessary to stabilize demand;
  • new marketing opportunities: increasing the average check, gaining loyal customers, increasing conversion.

Although seasonality can provide businesses with significant advantages, it is important to smooth out seasonal fluctuations in demand and use them effectively to your advantage.

Key dates and events that significantly affect demand on Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify

Naturally, they will differ from country to country and culture to culture. We will use the habits of the average American and European consumer as a basis. So, there are several important events that will definitely affect the demand in your online store:

NameDate of the eventFeatures.
Black FridayThe fourth Friday of NovemberIt is considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season. On this day, it is customary to offer significant discounts, organize promotions and special offers.
Cyber MondayThe next Monday after Black FridayA significant event in the e-commerce world. According to US market research, in recent years, it has had more sales than Black Friday.
Christmas SalesFrom December 1 to 25Christmas-related products or those that can be used as gifts sell best.
Аmazon Prime DayIt varies. Most often – July and/or OctoberOnly Prime members receive discounts. A good opportunity for businesses to sell their balances.

Seasonal fluctuations in sales are also observed on the eve of major religious and public holidays. For example, before the 4th of July in the United States, there is an “explosive” demand for picnic goods: barbecues, grills, plates, etc. In November, Americans are no less active in buying tableware, tablecloths and decor on the eve of Thanksgiving (the last Thursday of November). At Easter, rabbit-themed products, baskets, and related decorations will be among the top sellers.

Don’t forget about themed holidays: Halloween (October 31) and Valentine’s Day (February 14). These holidays play an important role in the economy, influencing consumption patterns, trade, and marketing. Many companies hold special promotions and sales during these holidays to attract customers and increase sales.

How to overcome product seasonality

Strategies aimed at reducing the gaps between peak and off-peak demand periods will help us do this. Here are some of them:

1. Diversification of goods and services

Offer a wide range of products that may be needed at different times of the year or in different market conditions. For example, retail stores can offer not only summer vacation products, but also winter clothing, sports accessories, or household goods.

2. Significant discounts during the “low” season

Active marketing campaigns, special offers, and purchase bonuses are a great way to overcome seasonal downturns throughout the year and smooth out the difference in sales.

3. Adaptation of production processes

This can include increasing or decreasing production depending on the forecasted demand to avoid excess inventory or shortages.

It also includes “adjusting” products to current audience demands and calendar events. For example, if you sell serving dishes, you can release a line with pumpkin images on the eve of Halloween. Or you can offer themed packaging for your existing assortment so that your product can be used as a gift.

4. Work with the target audience

This means holding various contests, maintaining loyalty through regular e-mail newsletters, and active marketing on social media.

Bottom line

Based on historical data and trends, you can anticipate seasonal fluctuations in sales and manage inventory and resources more efficiently.

For example, knowing that the Christmas holidays are coming, which is bound to increase demand, you can hire additional staff to work with customers, thereby maintaining service speed and service levels. Or, you can plan your advertising budget in advance for marketing activities during the period of reduced customer activity.

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