Hi I currently run a successful e-commerce business that ships products (Xmas Sweaters) worldwide during the 2 months leading up to Christmas. I would love to convert it into a all year round business but am struggling to find the right angle to grow it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. BTW - we are bootstrapped, profitable,have shipped to over 44 countries and Celebs such as One Direction and Scott Disick have worn our sweaters. Thanks, Fabio
A couple of thoughts:
1) A lot of people in the southern hemisphere do a "Christmas in July" because that's when winter falls. So maybe you could target that market in May, June & July and squeeze out a few more sales.
2) Is there more you can do to optimize for the holidays to make your most effective period even better? This could be either marketing related or cost-saving/efficiency based.
3) Apart from that, I think it's going to be a hard sell to market and sell Christmas product out of season. Typically, seasonal stuff is heavily discounted during these non-holiday periods so that could be a problem. I'd take what you've learnt (and mastered to a certain extent by the sounds of it) with that business (eg product, marketing, logistics) etc and find new niches.
This is a great question that I think a lot of businesses face this issue (maybe less drastically than you do though). From what you've described about your business it seems like your unique value proposition is that you sell an item associated with a holiday. This is also your issue but one that I think is solvable as well. The simple solution I see is that you should expand your product line to cover more holidays. Specifically I think you might be able to sell products for valentines day, independence day, thanksgiving, mother's day, father's day, hanukkah, new years, and potentially others. Your current business is a great opportunity to create fun clothing options for new holidays, take advantage of that.
Partner with sites like this that get traffic year round for folks that love the Holiday: https://www.facebook.com/MostWonderfulTimeofTheYear
Build a massive list to prepare to do 90% of your business in those 3 months
These are all great advice. Some other ideas:
1)Hook up with several year-round Christmas stores. There are several year-round Christmas stores. Network and investigate how they handle the normal seasonal sales.
2) Expand to other holiday sweaters. -- Sweaters for All Seasons.
3) Put additional marketing and advertising fund in reaching out in areas that celebrate Christmas year-round
North Pole, Alaska, Santa Claus, Ind., Christmas, Mich., and Frankenmuth, Mich. — where it’s Christmas all year long.
4) Reach out to venues that "Bringing the Joy of Santa to Sick Children" all year round
5) Collaborate with other businesses that are doing this exact thing (providing Christmas goods and services all-year round).
Thanks Cam and Sean
We have tried Australia, the market ain't so big. We must move into a new product/niche as you said but we want to keep it within the same brand as we have a good following and built up a good brand. Finding the niche is the issue
Would love to meet up with I'm located in Europe.
Well, two things to consider:
1. is it only sweaters: you rather cut out a large chunk of the world that has never seen snow, about 55% of humanity.
if yes, it does have to be sweaters, then why only Christmas? Birth of Christ is a very fine holiday, but its only one and a large chunk of the sweater wearing population may not celebrate it. Why not make sweaters for other holidays too...? Look up other large holidays that are celebrated in wide areas.
For example: Pasha (Easter to the the Catholics/Protestants). It often falls in early spring, a time of snow in most northern areas. Or other holidays....like Budhist or Toaist holidays? Maybe something ethnic?
the most natural step would be as most said to extend to other holidays, but you might also want to look at what makes your offer so successful at Xmas. Is it the variety of choice, how fast you deliver, how simple it is to order, your second to none customer service, your superior SEO? Once you identified that you can make it the core of your proposition and expand into other products (either same product different holidays or different products while keeping the same core proposition). Would love to see the website and talk on the phone to identify what is it that makes you unique and how to make your business a success all year long. Serena
The first question is do you wish to stick to only Xmas Sweaters? If you do, there are several ways you can develop your business to a more year-round business without using a channel-approach (like partnering with year-round Christmas stores) but still sticking with your direct-to-consumer e-commerce site. Assuming you also don't want to start tempering too much with the production of the sweaters, you can simply create an additional line of shirts targeted for fall-sales, like "its never too early for Christmas" or "Wish Christmas was here already" -sweaters. You can use similar techniques to extend your season post-Christmas. Im more than happy to setup a phone call to discuss in more detail.