Maintaining retail sales momentum in the post-festive phase | Sunday Observer

Maintaining retail sales momentum in the post-festive phase

18 April, 2021

Every year, early April is the biggest season for Sri Lankan retailers when the majority of the revenue is generated. The excitement of the buyers diminishes when the New Year’s festive days are over. As an unwritten law, retail businesses experience a substantial decline in consumer spending during the post-holiday period. 

The slump after the New Year is unavoidable. Most of the retailers tend to relax and accept the downward trend as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The chain reaction starting from all stakeholders including owners, staff, and suppliers willingly acknowledge the common phenomenon. Instead of unconditionally giving in to the situation, if the retailer focuses on the immediate post-festive period, they can maintain the momentum of the pre-festive sales. 

The end of the festive season does not mean that your business has to go back to the way it was before the New Year season. You have to find other reasons to make people want to visit your retail store once again. Similar to the pre-festive period, the business can go into social media campaigns, regardless of the size of the business. A Facebook advertising campaign for customers in the retailers’ geographical area can be effective. The retailers can find any number of unorthodox reasons to make them want to shop again. The business can offer something special and irresistible to customers during this period.  

Customers are aware that retailers offer special holiday offers during the festive period. Hence, usually, they do not anticipate businesses to continue the discounts offered or any other promotion soon after the festival is over. Post-holiday clearance sale is an effective method to keep the momentum of foot traffic. As the retailers tend to keep additional stocks during the festival, typically they are left with excess goods in the store. 

‘Clearance Sale’

A clearance sale permits the retailer to earn extra revenue from the available stocks. The phrase ‘Clearance Sale’ itself is attractive to customers anywhere in the world where they visit a retail store even out of curiosity. Slashing prices will attract more customers during the lull and the retailer can generate revenue, perhaps as effectively as the pre-festive period. 

Offering discounts or coupons soon after the season is a good method if practiced with caution. However, this tactic must be used sparingly. The danger is that the moment the retailer decreases the monetary value of an item, the signal to the customer can be tricky. The customers tend to think that the retailer has made an excessive profit during the season for a product that otherwise could have been sold at a lesser price. Therefore, offering discounts should be decided carefully to avoid misunderstandings or doubts.  

Alternatively, the retailer can deploy other tactics such as running a contest or offering other perks to lure customers to visit the store. Offering perks such as extended warranties or extra loyalty points (if such a system is available), soon after the holiday season can give the customer a good reason to revisit the store. 

Another very effective method to increase foot traffic after a season is to include a discount or gift coupon during the seasonal shopping, to be effective in a future date. For example, a discount card can be offered to the customer in April (New Year season) where he or she can use that in the month of May. This strategy is successfully practiced around the world to improve post-season sales improvements. This is beneficial to the retailer in two ways. Firstly, with a proper awareness campaign, they can attract more customers during the season and subsequently get people back at the store during the lower traffic period.


Communicating with customers individually through SMS, personal e-mail, or collectively through Facebook, email campaigns, or through conventional media, thanking them for patronising or wishing them well for the New Year is another good concept to follow. A wish from the trader followed by a special offer can be appealing to customers and a sure way to increase loyalty. 

The buying behaviour is triggered by a psychological process that eventually persuades the customer to make a purchase. This phenomenon starts with the need of an individual to purchase. In a festive season, particularly the Sinhala and Tamil New year directly celebrated by over 70%  of the population of the country, retailers dream about the anticipated high volume of sales, irrespective of the size of the business. 

From the roadside textile vendor to a high-end shopping mall provided the best attention to their stores before a festive season to trigger the said psychological persuasion. They invariably launch awareness campaigns targeting their audiences. However, most of them drop the enthusiasm soon after the seasonal sales are over. 

Therefore, to keep the momentum going, retailers need to recreate the holiday buying mood and environment when the season is over. Unlocking the same emotional buying behaviour as the season is not easy, but certain types of promotions to build anticipation can help to connect with customers emotionally. Redecorating the store in a different theme or rearranging displays can be of assistance. If planned properly with the right tools, the effort can create a sense of urgency in customers. 

It is now known that a personalised marketing experience makes the vast majority of customers more likely to buy from the store that provides the best-personalised service. If customer data can be secured during a season, such a database to which the retailer can address can be huge. The result can be tremendous if the retailer can address the customers through the information collected during the season.  

Social media

In this digital era, it is imperative to stay attentive and responsive on social media reach. Given the influx of offline shoppers during the season, it is exceedingly important to ensure the service response for your Facebook and other modes of communication. As discussed previously, the most cost-effective mode of communicating with customers is social media applications. Effective social media engagement with prompt response builds up customer trust and loyalty.  

For almost all retailers in Sri Lanka, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival is the single most anticipated period of the year, for the simple reason that the celebrations are common to the entire nation. As a rule, every retail seller, brick-and-mortar or online, prepares himself well in advance for killer sales revenue. However, having a well-thought-out plan is a must for the weeks to follow. 

When the season passes, retailers take a break from the hectic schedule they experienced during the season. It should not be so. Every retailer must consciously engage in maintaining the momentum even after the lucrative period is over. The post-festive period even can be even better for thoughtful retailers who can use this period when their competitors relax. Therefore, treat the bygone holiday season as a rearview mirror and look out for the front windscreen for a better period.