Ebbs and flows, seasonal highs, and seasonal lows — every industry has them. Whether your business looks towards summer to shine bright, or towards the winter to capitalize on the holiday spending craze, chances are your business experiences some form of seasonality or periods of slowdowns.
The ongoing pandemic hasn’t made it any easier: from supply chain disruptions to dips in product demands, businesses are experiencing slowdowns that have taken everyone by surprise. Keeping your business’s cash flow optimized now can help put you in a better position for any future potential disruptions, and sets you up for success.
We put together three ways your business can better manage seasonality and improve cash flow — let’s get started!
Give Your Website A New Look
You don’t need customers to walk through your door to make a sale. Regardless of their distance to you, customers are always online and the ongoing crisis has caused many businesses to move online as well. Because of this, customer expectations regarding the online experience have begun to shift. During periods of slowdowns, it is important for your business to update its website and if possible, provide your customers with an online shopping experience.
An old, dated website can hurt more than not having a website at all in the eyes of a customer. Consider updating your website to add any information that may be missing, or to simply give it a refresh with new pages. Have an exciting product coming soon? Start a blog on your website and begin advertising it! Recently remodeled the office? Take pictures and upload them to your website!
The key is to always have your website looking ready and full of content for its next visit to keep them on your site, which will increase the chances of a sale. While your office may have low foot traffic, your business can still maintain productivity with an updated website within the online marketplace.
While updating your website, use the time as a chance to also further optimize your website to help drive more traffic to it. If your business is appointment-based, consider integrating an online appointment tool to provide more accessible options for your customers to take advantage of. Services such as Calendly and Appointment offer free scheduling tools that can be integrated straight into your website. By integrating these, you simplify the process for your customer by keeping them on one page, which will aid in customer satisfaction.
Such online tools go hand-in-hand with video chat services like Zoom, or Google Meet, which provide ways for businesses to continue meeting with their customers in a manner that doesn’t require either party to be inside a store. If your business can host virtual meetings, your customers will want to know, so be sure to update your website to include all forms in which your business makes itself available to its customers.
Moving online benefits your business in more ways than simply improving your customer’s experience: it helps grow your business. Transitioning online provides additional marketing opportunities such as integrating your social media networks within your website, which establishes an efficient sales funnel for your business.
Encourage Customers To Buy During Slowdowns
Once your website is up to date, the next step to managing seasonality and cash flow will be to encourage customers to buy during your slowdown. The idea sounds obvious and simple enough, but effectively doing so may require out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.
The easiest way to encourage more customers to come in will be to offer deals and specials that incentivize customers to buy now. Offering unique specials during the off-season can give the nudge a customer needs to purchase your products or services. If you’re wary about offering too many discounts during the slow season, there are ways you can do so that will continue to provide your business with various benefits in the long run.
Consider asking your customers for their email addresses, and then producing regular newsletters or emails that contain savings exclusive to email subscribers. This way, your business has better control over how many discounts are given out, and also now has a list of contacts to send other marketing materials to for future products or announcements.
Encouraging your customers to buy during slowdowns will also require you to maintain an active presence on your social networks. Use your social media to keep customers informed of your latest products or services and to remind them of your business. Consider promotional events such as giveaways where you ask customers to share your social pages with their friends for a chance to win prizes: your customers will be happy to win, and you’ll receive free promotions to help bring in more business.
Your business can further improve its cash flow and seasonality by adding additional revenue streams. Consider encouraging customers to buy when business is slower with customer payment plans. By providing payment plans options, your business keeps the momentum up during slowdowns through your customer’s recurring monthly payments. A continuous cash flow helps soften the impact faced when slowdowns occur and keeps you well prepared for when business picks back up.
Encouraging customers to buy during the slow season with payment plans options further benefits businesses by providing the opportunity to effectively upsell its customers. By breaking large purchases into manageable payments, customers will be more likely to upgrade to premium services or products at checkout, increasing your revenue stream for that payment plan’s contract.
Improve Payment Processing Efficiency With Technology
Once your website is updated and you’ve put plans in place to encourage customers to buy, the next step to managing seasonality and cash flow will be to improve efficiency. Consider applying a digital-first approach by modernizing the infrastructure of your payment processing.
Payment processing and invoice software can help minimize the time it takes to collect payments from customers and quickly help to optimize your business’s cash flow. Such software can help to eliminate paper invoices, so businesses reduce the time spent on tedious manual processes such as filing and sending out physical invoices one at a time.
Adopting a digital-first mindset is also beneficial to your customers. Much like providing an online marketplace improves the customer experience, providing multiple payment options help streamline the payment process, which aids in customer satisfaction.
A digital shift will also enable your business to accept contactless payments, which a recent survey done by American Express found that over the past year, 11% more consumers now say they prefer using contactless payments. While such a shift is a result of the ongoing pandemic, 81% of the surveyed merchants agree that the practice has been beneficial to their business and will continue to offer contactless payments as a permanent option.
Using services such as Denefits can help your business quickly transition into offering contactless payments, and more!
Denefits: Complete Payment Options
With Denefits, your business can offer custom payment plans with no credit checks and instant approvals to further encourage customers to buy during slowdowns and increase revenue streams. Denefits also transitions your business towards an electronic invoice system and automates the collection process for you.
Tired of paying ridiculous merchant fees on credit card transactions? With Denefits, you have the power of choice: to split or pass on the transaction fee with the customer, and getting started is a quick and simple process. There are no service fees, nor is there any equipment to install, so your business wastes no time in improving its cash flow with Denefits.
Businesses who optimize their cash flow before slowdowns occur position themselves to better manage any disruptions in the future, or any seasonal periods of slowdowns. Updating your points of contact with customers, such as your website, and integrating new promotional campaigns will help keep customers engaged, and using services such as Denefits can help improve your payment processing efficiency.