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by Sharon Austin June 30, 2016

Now that temperatures are rising and the sun is shining, many folks are looking to escape the office or malls and head outside for a little Vitamin D. But many will continue to shop online regardless (maybe browsing on a tablet while relaxing on a patio, or inside on a rainy day at the cottage, grateful for a WiFi connection) so be sure to take advantage of the relaxed spirit and marketing opportunities that summer offers. This week we'll discuss some creative sales strategies and next week we'll provide tips for injecting your Shopify storefront with a dose of sunshine.

Canada Day and 4th of July flash sales and merchandise

Both the U.S. and Canada enjoy a long weekend at the beginning of July to celebrate their nation’s birthday… so if you call either of these spots home, show your national pride by offering some kind of time-sensitive discount or promotion in honor of these events.

Make use of any built-in tools like a promo bar at the top of your shop’s home page or a newsletter popup, to advertise free shipping or perhaps a % off the total order for the holiday weekend only. The short-term nature of this kind of special can provide a lot of incentive instilling a little FOMO (fear of missing out) can often nudge an indecisive shopper into action.

If your products are made locally or can be adapted to show off a little national pride, play that up in your marketing messages and in the product offerings themselves. For example, OOTS customer  The Muskoka Collection  already makes cottage-friendly apparel but they’ve also put together a special collection just for Canada Day; perfect for shoppers looking to show some homegrown, red and white, maple leaf pride!

Temperature-based sales and promos

One easy, general approach to seasonal marketing is to offer a discount or some kind of added value just because it’s summer. Popular with apparel shops but certainly not limited to them, you can leverage the sunny outlook of these warmer months simply by adding some kind of summer-inspired rebate to your shop.

You can also get a little more creative with this if you’re based in a particularly hot area, or in one that tends to experience some crazy summer weather: try offering a flash discount or promo based on your local temperature. For example, you could offer 10% off all orders for the 24-hour period following any day where the local temperature hits 95 ° F/35 °C or more. Linking the rebate to your local weather is also a relationship-building tactic that helps your customers feel more connected to you, your shop and your story.

You could even flip the tables and try tying the promotion to the customer’s local weather conditions instead. This might be a little trickier to implement but it could run something along these lines: shoppers are given a code to input during checkout if their local weather hits a predetermined temperature on the day of purchase; when you receive their order and verify their shipping address/local temperature, you can send them a special coupon good for their next order. 

Expand your product lineup

If your products are already summer-friendly, definitely play that up. If you sell skateboards, swimwear, garden furniture, fans, sunglasses, etc., now is obviously your time to shine! But even if you sell more seasonally-neutral items, consider ways you might work a dash of summer into your offerings, and make it available only for the summer months. Many coffee chains like Starbucks are masters at this kind of marketing, introducing new summer drinks that are only around for a little while, then taken off the menu for another year.

Maybe you sell tea, perfume or baked goods? Offer customers a seasonal product infused with light, summer-inspired scents or flavours like citrus, mint or blueberry. If you sell tech gear like phone cases, add some new designs (like flower prints and golf greens) or play up any bright case colors you already have in your collection. If you sell handmade goods, like accessories or printed products, consider creating new pieces with a summer-friendly theme: something nautical, beachy, tropical or even frosty (think ice cream and popsicles).

Another OOTS Shopify theme customer, the North Street Bracelets shop, recently used this season for inspiration, adding new rope colors to a “Summer ‘16” collection and building an email campaign around it, using “Get Colorful This Summer” as their email subject line.

See if you can push yourself to be creative and come up with at least one new seasonally-inspired product or design that you can add to your lineup. If you don’t offer them already, you might even want to introduce a shop gift card as an easy solution for summertime gift-giving. As with a flash sale, offering any new products for a limited time only may help spur sales and keep your collections fresh.

Share your summer on social

If your shop is active on social media (and there are many good reasons it should be!) think about taking and posting pictures of you and/or your team in a seasonal setting. Show your summery side by snapping yourself outdoors (by the lake, at a staff picnic, eating a drippy fro-yo, etc.) and tweeting, snapchatting or posting them on Instagram.

Images like these make you more ‘real’ and relatable (and therefore more trustworthy!) and help grow the connection between you and your customers. Even if summer in your neck of the woods is less than tropical, sharing more about yourself in this way still works, so don’t hesitate to snap and post regularly.

Try a Summer Photo Contest

You can also try flipping this around and instead get your customers to take and post a picture of themselves with your product, preferably outside or doing something seasonal. Maybe they’ll take a shot of themselves holding your custom-printed mug while floating in their pool, or sporting your T-shirt while firing up the BBQ. You’ll ensure greater participation here by turning this into an Instagram photo contest or offering a discount of some kind as an incentive; just be sure to give specific guidelines on what you’re looking for in terms of where to share images, what handle or tags to use and any contest rules or restrictions that might apply.

Sharon Austin
Sharon Austin

Lead Designer at Out of the Sandbox, who cares about making things that look good, work well and make sense. Powered by cats, coffee and crochet...

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