Just like that, the holiday season has come and gone.
We are now officially in the period of mass product returns and have entered the post-holiday retail slump.
Consumers began returning merchandise immediately after the holidays, but retailers will deal with the effects for months to come. B-Stock Solutions, a liquidation platform that works with retailers like Best Buy and Lowe’s, historically sees 60% more inventory listed in Q1 over Q4. The company reports that the highest volumes come in February and March.
This is a costly problem for the retail industry (roughly $100 billion of holiday gifts will be returned this year).
But, not all hope is lost.
We’ve compiled three tactics you can still implement within your Facebook and Instagram campaigns to offset the post-holiday retail slump.
1. Promote items that historically sell more in January.
Data from eBay Advertising shows that sales of home appliances tick up in January over December, and that searches for “bikini” and “diamond ring” increase as well.
Analyze your brand’s year-over-year purchase data and determine which product categories have performed well in former years. Once you’ve uncovered which items customers are more inclined to buy in January, place more of your Facebook and Instagram ad budget toward promoting those bestseller product sets.
Take it a step further by creating product sets of bestsellers for each of your store locations.
A whopping 86% of consumers who returned an item in-store bought a product while they were there, according to research from Otporo. This presents your brand with a glowing opportunity to drive consumers in-store to make returns and exchanges.
Perhaps consumers in Chicago overindex in buying space heaters in January, while those in San Diego are more inclined to buy plastic storage containers. StitcherAds has the ability to segment bestsellers by store location, enabling retailers to promote localized favorites on Facebook and Instagram. With this data available, you can create personalized, omnichannel campaigns to drive consumers in-store. Dynamic carousel ads that feature map cards will work best here.
To drive the highest possible return, marketers will often divide their budgets like this:
2. Cross-sell on holiday gifts.
To keep some of the holiday sales momentum going, consider cross-selling to customers who purchased products that have complementary items. This strategy would work well to target people who bought record players, game consoles, and other tech products.
Cross-selling on these items could be implemented for weeks after the original sale took place. Customers and/or gift recipients are still interacting with their purchases and in the coming weeks, will be ready for new accessories.
3. New year, new items? Turn to Instagram Stories.
Apparel retailers are promoting more new merchandise this January than they have in recent years, according to a study from Edited. “The firm found a 38% increase in newsletter mentions of new products in the U.S. compared to this time last year.”
Does this mirror your brand’s current strategy?
Look to Instagram Stories to help promote new product launches. This channel feels personal, unobtrusive, and when leveraged just right – can make people feel like a friend is giving them an exclusive look at new offerings.
Instagram Stories is increasingly growing as a direct-response channel and could be the key to a successful product launch.
Set yourself up for a successful quarter
There’s no way around it: The post-holiday retail slump and influx of returned merchandise make for a daunting January. However, the tactics outlined above will help your brand supplement those losses. Nailing down your strategy over the next couple of weeks can help set the tone for a successful Q1.