5 Steps to Overcome a Sales Slump: Indy Pet Store Edition

  • 4 Min Read

The aftermath of the holiday season can bring sales slumps for retailers of all kinds, including independent pet stores. Sales slumps are particularly difficult for smaller businesses that struggle to make a profit during periods of low sales activity. However, there are effective ways to get out of a sales slump.

Keep reading to learn more about why sales slumps happen and strategies for overcoming them as an independent retailer.

Why Do Sales Slumps Happen?

Sales slumps are periods during the year when sales activity declines, and they can happen for many different reasons. After the holidays, sales slumps often happen because people are trying to save money after spending on things like gifts, decorations, travel, food, and elaborate family gatherings. 

Considering that this time is also the start of a new year, people may be more conscious about spending their money. The general air of holiday joy and cheer is also gone, and people aren’t as flexible with their money. 

Following the holidays, there also tends to be an influx of returns due to people disliking gifts someone gave them or because they realize they made too many purchases during the holiday season. Even top salespeople struggle to meet sales goals during these times. Depending on your store’s return policy, you might see people coming in to return or exchange pet toys, apparel, or unopened treats that their pet can’t eat.

How Do Sales Slumps Impact Indy Pet Stores?

Independent pet stores—or any smaller, independent business, for that matter—rely on consistent sales to make a profit. Slumps make this difficult. With consistently lower sales activity over the course of weeks or months, small business owners and sales managers struggle to make ends meet during slumps.

In addition to being discouraging, this can impact your cash flow and budget as you try to plan out your first and second quarters.

How to Overcome a Sales Slump

Closing deals during sales slumps is a struggle for many independent business owners. However, there are some ways to overcome a sales slump and keep up your business’s momentum without traditional methods of cold calling or a local business alternative, such as posting thousands of flyers around town.

Here are some strategies to overcome a sales slump that effectively builds your customer base and grows relationships with current customers.

#1 Follow Up with Holiday Customers

Customers that bought products during the holidays are an audience to pay attention to. Targeting recent customers with ads about special offers on food and treats or limited-time pet accessories and toys may bring customers back into stores and help build your base of recurring customers. 

Depending on your capacity and volume of recent customers, you may also target holiday customers with personal follow-ups. Pick up the phone and make a few sales calls or send emails to recent customers to say thank you for their purchase and invite them back to your store. You may even consider offering a discount for a future purchase, which motivates these customers to visit your store again.

#2 Utilize Paid Ads

Paid ads can help you reach new people and boost sales. During a sales slump following the holidays, these ads should focus on telling your audience why they need your product now. For instance, you may want to use a message centered around starting the year right by giving your pet the best nutrition. You want paid ads to be appealing to people who aren’t already involved with your brand. Be sure to include general information about your brand and what sets your brand apart from others. 

Paid ads can be run on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Consider which platform has more potential for sales success based on your target audience and ad capabilities on each platform.

#3 Update Marketing

When you hit a sales slump, it’s time to get creative with your marketing. Think about how you can update your marketing to attract new customers in the new year. Shifting your focus to messaging that reflects new customer interests in the new year—or new company priorities—may be necessary.

You may also want to consider new marketing strategies. Blog posts, social media, YouTube videos, and email marketing are all different ways to promote your brand. Consider if you should utilize more platforms or if you should adjust your strategy on platforms you already have a presence on. 

If you could use some help with the details, Astro can help. Our Marketing Tools provide everything you need to be a digital marketing pro.

#4 Winter Promotions

Promotions at the start of the new year (during the months of January and February) are commonly used to boost sales. Motivation in the form of a dollar amount or percentage off purchases or certain products can bring people into your store. You may target promotions at recent customers or consistent customers to get them to buy during your slump.

There’s no better way to create value for your customers than by providing them exclusive offers on their favorite pet products! Sign up for a free trial with Astro Loyalty today to get access to outstanding offers for your outstanding customers and their pets. 

Astro Offers for Astro Retailers in Canada
All January Astro Offers
Astro Offers for Astro Retailers in the USA

#5 Get Marketing Support

Sales slumps are a difficult time for independent pet stores and other businesses. However, with an extra focus on marketing and building customer relationships, you can maintain sales and stay afloat through times of slower merchandise movement. 

Astro Loyalty has a robust Marketing Suite that fully integrates with your Astro Loyalty Programs- making marketing them to your customers a breeze. This suite is simple to use and contains content curated by Astro and your favorite brands. 

Are you lacking motivation or inspiration? A Business Coach or a Marketing Coach may be just what you need. Pet Boss Nation is a great option for independent pet businesses. Join their Pet Boss Nation Facebook Group for daily doses of inspiration or their Pet Boss Club for personal guidance. Active Pet Boss Club Members new to Astro can also get 3-months of the Astro Marketing Suite for free!

About The Author

Katherine Carbonaro Kat lives in a spooky house surrounded by farmland in Hillsborough, NC, and couldn't be happier! Her two beloved cats, MeNow and Mr. Bumbles were both bottle-fed and raised by her. Huxley, her faithful companion, is estimated to be around 16 years old but still enjoys his daily mile-long walks and occasional hikes, a testament to the power of proper nutrition. Long live Neighborhood Pet!