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Dodge the Dip: How to Make Sales in a Quiet January

January Sales Feature

January is a month of contradictions. 

On one hand, after the big expense of Christmas, many consumers are less inclined to buy new things. On the other hand, it’s also the time that big brands will run huge sales events. 

Either way, it’s a tough time for smaller businesses to collect their fair share of sales revenue. 

But you can be the exception that proves the rule.

Follow these tips, and your brand, too, can cash in on the most unlikely sales month of the year. 

1. Run your own sales event 

Yellow sale sign in shop window

Sure, you may not be able to compete with the big brands in terms of knocking down prices in January, but that doesn’t mean you can get yourself noticed with a big sales even. 

January represents the ideal opportunity for you to clear winter stock and sell items left over from Christmas. 

During January, you might decide to offer:

  • Clearance sale. Sure, you want to get rid of stock, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be spun as big savings for customers. 
  • Bulk discounts. Give the impression of a good deal by offering money off when customers buy multiple items or spend over a certain amount. 
  • Free shipping. As a small business, the best place to start with any sale is offering your customers free shipping for orders over a given value. 

As a small or medium-sized business, the secret to appealing to consumers during January sales is to make them feel like you’re giving them access to something very exclusive or special. This should be at the core of your messaging. 

2. Get in the ‘New Year, New You’ mood

Here’s a little secret: you don’t actually have to offer anything spectacular to get people shopping in January. 

You can start raking in sales all through the magic of messaging. 

For lots of consumers, the New Year is a time to hit refresh on their lives, start new habits, and try to become a better version of themselves. This opens the door to opportunity. 

Woman at Spa

By highlighting products or services in your range which resonate with the desire to start afresh, you can market specifically to those looking to spring into the New Year. 

Think about:

  • Health products. After indulging at Christmas, people want to feel purified and refreshed. 
  • Fitness products. Loads of people will feel self-conscious about their consumption over the holidays, so January is the perfect time to promote fitness. 
  • Household products. Creating a new environment is on the top of lots of people’s New Year’s to-do lists.
  • Wellness services. If your brand offers services, think about how they can be tailored to appeal to the desire for wellness. 
  • Self-improvement products and services. January is the perfect time to sell anything that makes people feel like a better version of themselves. 
  • Productivity products. Anything that makes people pick up and keep better habits is an easy-sell in January. 

3. Retarget Christmas shoppers 

Don’t make the assumption that just because people spent at your store in December, they won’t be willing to spend with you in December. 

During the Christmas season, you’ll hopefully have collected contact information for loads of new customers. You can start making good use of these in January as you begin to retarget these same consumers in the New Year. 

Make sure that you make the most of the information you have about their shopping habits to customize the messaging you send out to these customers. 

Perhaps you can suggest similar products to those they already bought, or else suggest accompanying products which will work alongside. 

4. Turn holiday returns into upselling opportunities 

An unfortunate reality of January is that you’re going to have to handle returns. Maybe lots of them. 

While it’s always advisable to make it as easy as possible for customers to return goods for cash (which creates a good brand image), this doesn’t mean you can’t turn return transactions into upselling opportunities. 

  • Offer different sizes or colors. One of the most common reasons for returns in January is that shoppers have bought the wrong size or design as a gift. Make it possible to exchange for the correct size to save on losing revenue. 
  • Offer alternative products. If the whole gift was completely wrong, make it possible for customers to do a straight exchange for another product. 
  • Offer store credit. As well as offering cash refunds, consider giving the option of store credit, so as not to lose out. 
  • Promote other products or sales. If customers are visiting your store to process returns, take the opportunity to tell them about other shopping opportunities they might be interested in. 

5. Offer seasonal products and promotions 

Just because Christmas is over, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other events to look forward to in the New Year. 

Q1 of 2020 will feature a Super Bowl, St Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. While these events don’t fall in January itself, there’s no reason why you can’t start preparing deals and marketing campaigns early. 

The secret to success in January is thinking about what your customers will be needing in the future, if not right now. 

6. Launch a new product 

Nothing creates hype like a new product. 

After the failure of a year that 2020 was, consumers are hungry for anything new and exciting to sink their teeth into. 

If you have a new exclusive product launching, then be sure to make it land with a splash in January. 

If you’re just adding new products to your range, you can still build some launch hype around it. 

Make sure that you message about the new products before launching to create anticipation among your customers, then plaster the new across all your channels once the product drops. 

In the dark, cold, damp depth of January, it’s all about creating a sense of excitement and anticipation. 

Written by

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Duncan is obsessed with making website building and eCommerce accessible to everyone. He explains the best tools and the latest digital marketing trends in ways that are clear and engaging. His focus is on supporting the sustainable growth of small to medium-sized enterprises. When not writing, he enjoys deep sea fishing and endurance cycling.

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