In Australia and New Zealand, online spending peaks a few times a year, notably during key retail sales dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re looking to increase your business’ revenue to take advantage of seasonal trends and events, you’ll need to create a carefully considered strategy.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best seasonal business ideas for small business owners, and we’ll help you discover your business’s potential in untapped seasonal markets abroad. We’ll begin with tips on how you can extend your trading period to experiment with new seasonal goods, and then we’ll compare seasonal growth domestically versus internationally.
- Best seasonal business ideas: tips and tricks for success
- The importance of international seasonal eCommerce
- How to overcome international borders with WorldFirst
Best seasonal business tips
Pick a string of events to focus on
If you’re just starting out with seasonal business opportunities, it’s best to pick one or two events so you can find your feet. Once you get the hang of those, you can incorporate other seasonal ideas — some of them international.
If you’re already a seasonal business looking to extend your trading period, adding another event before or after your main one can help you understand your logistical demand. You’ll know how much preparation time you need for your main event across the weeks leading up to it, and can fit in business development for your new event around it.
Finally, if you’re a business looking to diversify your revenue, you may find that seasonal demand is very different to your existing business model. Weeks — sometimes months — of work culminate in a small window of time, and customer interests change as soon as the season is over.
Maximising your opportunity to meet the demand as and when it exists while minimising excess stock is vitally important. Make sure you do your market research, so you’re adequately prepared.
Even if your seasonal business idea is a relatively small eCommerce occasion (such as Mother’s Day or Easter), it still needs considerable preparation. Your itemised strategy will need to cover a range of tasks:
- Creating product listings
- Generating promotional codes
- Crafting deals
- Shipping logistics
- ... and more
If you’re branching out into a market where there’s a language barrier or new cultural norms to learn, earlier preparation time is even more important.
Capitalise on the perceived importance and build hype
Seasonal celebrations are important to people just as much as they are to your business. Prior to Christmas 2021, Finder estimated that Kiwis would spend a total of $1.8 billion throughout the holiday season.
Offering deals to incentivise early purchases helps consumers who are looking to spread the cost. You might gain repeat business via word of mouth marketing as it gets closer to the big day, and if so, your cash flow could improve. Similarly, demonstrating that you understand why the holiday is important is crucial if you’re to break through the noise of your competitors and show your value to customers.
Repurpose existing stock
Seasonal trends are a great way for businesses to get rid of excess stock and recoup potential losses. Although it doesn’t work for every product category, repackaging (or simply re-marketing) stock you have at hand can be an easy seasonal business idea.
Because you’re familiar with existing products, it only takes a little market research and (at most) a few tweaks to your packaging design for it to sell in new markets. Products with apparently limited shelf lives — for example, crimson red items seen at Christmas — can be turned into scarlet Valentine’s Day products.
'Limited edition' as a seasonal business idea
If you’re more confident in your ability to pivot to new seasonal demand, you can go one step further than our ‘repurpose’ suggestion above: creating a ‘limited edition’ version of your product.
Unlike reusing excess stock to avoid wasted capital, businesses can take more care when creating limited product editions and meet the specific tastes of consumers for that year (whether this comes as particular flavour profiles or colour and design trends). The result is a novel and (seasonally) scarce product that interests consumers.
Take Skittles, for example. Since 2017, Skittles has offered a Pride version of their product during certain months of the year that plays with the usage of rainbow colours, and similar steps have also been taken by US biscuit manufacturer Oreo.
The importance of international seasonal eCommerce
While eCommerce is growing fast in New Zealand, the fact remains that our population is relatively small compared to the rest of the world. Tapping into seasonal trends in some international markets can offer a huge opportunity for small businesses, especially in established regions.
Within Europe alone, sales data from 2020 shows that Ireland, Belgium and Denmark are among the leading sources of revenue for eCommerce companies; eCommerce revenues from each marketplace was at least 40% higher than the UK’s, for example.
Further afield, the consumer preference for eCommerce couldn’t be clearer. The US is responsible for just under 20% of total eCommerce sales globally, while China alone accounts for more than half.
With global eCommerce revenues predicted to grow as the world recovers from the pandemic, international and seasonal eCommerce is the perfect business idea for small companies looking to expand.
How to overcome international borders with WorldFirst
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