If you’re experiencing slow sales right now in your handmade business and it’s summertime as you’re reading this blog post, here’s what’s going on, why sales are slower, and what to do about it.
Hi, my name is Mei, and I help makers, artists, and designers create a consistent income from selling their products online.
If you’re new to business, one thing you should know is it’s a roller coaster.
There’s no stable paycheck that you can expect from month to month. Some days you’ll make a lot of money; other days, it’ll be crickets.
I want you to know that this roller coaster is totally normal in business.
Especially for most of us selling gift-type products with the exception of wedding products, summertime is usually the worst time of the year for sales.
Mostly because people are on vacation, they’re doing more outdoor activities, and they’re not glued to their computers or phones shopping online.
So don’t throw in the towel yet; it’s not because your prices are too high or no one likes your products.
It’s because of the season, and that’s totally out of your control.
Your Business Has Its Own Seasons
When you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ll start to see the cycles and patterns for your own seasons of business.
Sales for my jewelry business go up in the fourth quarter and go down in the summer, but it’s the opposite for my coaching business, Creative Hive, which is where you’re reading this post from.
People are too busy with the holidays to be concerned with investing in a course to make their business better. But, if you can imagine, the new year is a great time for doing something like that because people have new goals and dreams they want to achieve.
Also, don’t forget to consider other holidays throughout the year, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and so on. Those tend to be great occasions for sales.
What You Can Focus On During A Slow Sale Season
So here’s what I recommend you do when you’re in a slow summer sales slump.
First, as I mentioned, just know it’s totally normal and it’s not you.
Second, this is a great time to be proactive with some prep work, planning and strategy.
Things will start to ramp back up when kids are back at school, and even though I’m personally really bad at this, the more I can plan ahead, the more things go smoothly and I knock it out of the park.
So try to be proactive and less flying by the seat of your pants and you will experience better results because you’re more in control and better able to think through the details of a campaign.
Prepare For The Holiday Season
For example, take this time to gear up for the holiday season.
Think about what promos you want to do and when. Mark them on your calendar and do what you think you need to do to make them really good.
Do you need to create graphics for social media posts? How many, and can you schedule them in advance so you don’t have to worry about it later?
Do you need to send out some newsletters to your email list? That can be done ahead of time as well.
Maybe you want to launch a new product line over the holidays. If your business is anything like mine, designing new products takes a long time, so what better time for it than the summer?
Tackle Those Projects That You’ve Previously Set Aside
Or maybe it’s time to tackle a project that’s been on your to-do list but you just never had the capacity to get done before? Like, upgrading your product photos, or writing that abandoned cart email series?
Your business is always a work in progress, I’m sure there’s a gazillion things you could be doing now that will move the needle forward later.
Work On Media And Influencer Outreach
And you know my favorite strategy for marketing and sales is doing media and influencer outreach.
If you want to get featured in a national print magazine like Redbook or Good Housekeeping, then June and July are usually when magazine editors are looking for fresh and unique products to include.
If you wait any later, it’s too late because magazines work with a long lead time. If you can get in just one really big magazine, that can make your year the best year you’ve ever had in sales.
Diversify Your Income
Now, there are also some things you can do to lessen the ups and downs of the income roller coaster.
First thing is to diversify your income as much as possible.
So if you’ve got your own website, maybe it’s time to add on selling on Etsy and Amazon as well.
If you haven’t yet, you should also consider selling wholesale and you can list your products on a wholesale marketplace like Faire or HelloAbound or work with sales reps.
These are all different streams of income that ebb and flow at different rates and seasons, so if one stream of income goes down, another goes up and you don’t feel the pinch of slow sales as much.
Set Up An Automated Sales System
Another thing I highly recommend is having an automated sales system that takes care of converting people into paying customers for you, so you don’t have to rely on just hope to make sales.
So even though you may experience getting less traffic in the summer, you are at least turning those people into sales still. And anyway, birthdays and anniversaries are always great reasons for people to shop, and those happen all year round.
If you’re not sure how to create an automated sales system, I have a free workshop I teach about how to build a profitable handmade business and it’s one of the concepts covered in there. There’s a link for you to sign up to watch that at the end of this post.
Don’t Take A Hiatus From Your Business
The only thing I recommend you not to do is take a hiatus from your business because you feel things have slowed down.
Of course, you should absolutely take that vacation if you can, but if you put your shop on vacation mode or stop your marketing while you’re away, you’ll have lost the momentum you’ve created over the prior holiday season and it’s challenging to get that momentum back.
So do what you can to keep your business running, and for this, I do also recommend you schedule things and work as far in advance as possible so that you CAN take a break, without putting your shop on break.
If you’re worried about making sales while you’re gone, just change your shop settings to show a longer turnaround time and set up an email autoresponder to notify customers about when they’ll receive their orders.
As long as you communicate this in advance, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.
If you found this blog post helpful, or maybe this is what you needed to read right now, leave me a comment below and let me know what you plan to implement this week!
Thank you for reading! You can also check out my YouTube Channel for more tips and tricks on how to grow your handmade business.