Spring has officially started, so it’s the perfect time to talk about your summer eCommerce selling strategy. After all, getting a jump on your summer product sourcing is key to your Q3 (and late-Q2) selling success.
While most merchants see a lag in sales during summer, you can minimize the slowdown with these seasonal eCommerce tips. Ready to make a serious summer sales splash? Let’s dive in!
Pick up products to help battle the sun
The sun will be out in full force come summer, so smart sellers will start sourcing sun-protection products ASAP.
The first items you should consider are different brands and SPF levels of sunblock. While some buyers will want extreme sun-protection in the form of SPF 50 and above, others will opt for oils, lotions, and bronzers that help accentuate their tans. Opt for a full range of SPFs to ensure you hit all demographics, including low-SPF tanning products.
Next on your list should be products that aid sunburns. Aloe vera gels, as well as other cooling products that provide pain relief will be in high demand. Regular body lotion will also be a top seller because people will want their skin to look its best.
Beyond these popular products, think about sourcing some parasols (a.k.a. sun umbrellas). These products are dual-purpose, as they provide sun protection and are quite fashionable.
You should also stock up on sunglasses at a variety of price points. These accessories can range from a few dollars to several hundred, so do your research before investing in any styles/brands.
But don’t forget about the summer rain
Thinking counter-intuitively can be the difference between lackluster summer sales and a record-breaking Q3. Remember that hurricane season runs all summer long, and even if no major storms strike, there will be rainy days.
With that in mind, you should consider sourcing products like:
• Rain boots
• Rain protection for cars, cameras, backpacks, shoes, and strollers
These products are often purchased by vacationers headed to tropical locales, and summer is the season for traveling.
Source summer fashions
Summer has its own style of fashion, so stocking up on women’s and men’s warm-weather clothing is vital. For women, we recommend sourcing:
• Tank tops
• Bikinis and one-piece swimsuits
• Visors and floppy sun hats
Color-wise, summer has always been a season where both bright colors and pastels are popular. Make sure to focus on sourcing the best colors for summer when planning your product sourcing strategy.
For men, we recommend stocking up on:
• Bathing suits/mesh shorts/boardshorts
• Tank tops and sports jerseys
• Baseball caps and visors
• Large-brimmed hats for sun protection
Think patriotic and get red, white, and blue
America’s Independence day hits on July 4th, right at the start of Q3. That means you should start stocking patriotic merchandise now.
Anything you can think of that’s red, white, and blue will have high selling potential. That includes:
• Independence day decorations
• American flags (or any products with stars and stripes on them)
• Uncle Sam costumes
Decorations can range from wall-hangings to blow-up fixtures for putting on lawns. Offering a wide product mix for July 4th revelers is a sound strategy for boosting sales. The best part is that you could stash away whatever you don’t sell this year and try again next year.
Prepare for Amazon Prime Day
Every online merchant who sells on the Amazon Marketplace had better be ready for Prime Day. Put simply, Prime Day is the single biggest shopping day of the year. Expect Prime Day 2018 to break last year’s record.
To prepare, check out these Prime Day stats from last year and see how you might be able to anticipate what will be in demand when the mega-shopping day rolls around this July.
Procure products for the perfect pool party and backyard bash
Anyone with a backyard is going to be looking to take advantage of that outdoor space once summer arrives. So, be smart and stock up on all the items you know are necessary for an ideal backyard bash.
For starters, anything relating to outdoor grilling is key. From small charcoal barbecues to gargantuan gas-powered grills to portable camping rigs, people will be looking for equipment for cookouts.
That means you should also stock up on grilling accessories, like cleaning brushes, charcoal, spatulas, tongs, and barbecue forks. You can also source charcoal grill starters and igniters, as well as grill lighters to round out your grill-related offerings.
You might also want to sell niche backyard cooking products, such as this outdoor cooker for perfect crawfish/crab boils.
Next, consider stocking up on pool products, toys and accessories for kids and adults alike. That means items like:
• Frame pool sets
• Hot tubs and equipment
• Inflatable kiddie pools
• Flotation devices like tubes, water wings, lounge chairs, and life jackets/vests
• Pool cleaning devices
Speaking of lounge chairs, don’t just stock up on inflatable ones. Think about sourcing a variety of patio furniture and outdoor decorations and accessories. Products such as:
• Table and chair sets
• Patio umbrellas and stands
• Tiki torches
• Outdoor lights and lanterns
• Fire pit accessories (covers, screens, rings)
To complete your backyard bash product mix, stock up on top-sellers like:
• Citronella candles
• Insect-repellant sprays and lotions
• Roasting sticks for marshmallows and meats
Stock up on lawn and garden equipment
Summer is primetime for selling in the Gardening & Lawn Care category. Everything from seed and compost starters, lawn feed and hoses to flower pots and gardening tools will be popular.
You can also expect seeds, bug repellents, and lawn decorations like ornate edging and other landscaping items to sell. If you’re open to selling larger products, lawn mowers, edgers, and other outdoor power tools could help your inventory.
The beach will be bumpin’ when the weather gets hot, so stocking up on beach products is an obvious strategy. The following items are sure to sell:
• Beach towels
• Pail and shovel sets for kids
• Boogie boards and surfboards
• Scuba gear
• Underwater goggles
• Water shoes
• Beach umbrellas
• Coolers and insulated bags for food/drink transport
• Body wax
• Metal detectors
• Beach bags
Also consider stocking up on other products in the water sports category, like:
• Stand-up paddleboarding
Aim for athletic shoppers with outdoor sports equipment
We already discussed products related to water sports, but summertime isn’t just about splashing down and making waves. There’s a whole other group of athletes to target, including hikers, archers, hunters, outdoor tennis players, and many more.
Consider listing a variety of apparel for all kinds of athletes, such as breathable clothing, lightweight gear, and any accessories.
List a mix of waterproof products
Swimmers and beachgoers are prime targets for waterproof products, and there are plenty to source for summer. Think about sourcing the following waterproof items to fuel your summer sales:
• Cell phone cases and pouches
• Beach bags
• Bluetooth speakers
You might even want to sell waterproof makeup to branch into another category.
Remember that it’s wedding season!
Speaking of makeup, don’t forget that summer is in the thick of wedding season. That means brides, grooms, bridesmaids/groomsmen, and wedding guests galore are going to be looking for products—and deals.
Stock up on a mix of wedding products, such as:
• Decorations and lights
• Props for photo booths
• Champagne flutes
• Ring boxes
• Gift boxes
You can also research popular products that wind up on wedding registries and source what you think would sell best.
Finish summer strong with back-to-school products
By mid-August, parents will already be in the thick of back-to-school shopping in some parts of the world. This is not something you want to be unprepared for!
Stocking up on predictably popular back-to-school products early will ensure that you have enough inventory to keep sales moving. Make sure to source a wide mix of:
• Cases for pens/pencils
• Paper products
• Dividers and reinforcements
• Rulers and protractors
• Glue and glue sticks
The more variety you can offer, the more types of customers you’ll appeal to. Most school supplies will stay in style for more than a year, so any leftovers can be sold next year.
Once you have those items stored and ready for the back-to-school rush, consider adding some techy supplies to your offerings. Tablets, laptops, and even desktop computers will also be in demand for people starting school.
If you start planning for the back-to-school rush now, you can spend August and early September preparing for Q4.
Summer eCommerce sales strategy summed up
Now that you’re well-versed on all the products you can expect to sell big this summer, start sourcing! The sooner you narrow down the categories you plan on targeting, the better your chances of beating the competition.
Contact suppliers who can get you good deals on these items to get your inventory ready. Then, craft your listings with keywords that will help your products get discovered.
If you’re faced with more competitors than you can count, consider using automation to help drive more sales. An automated repricer like Informed.co’s could be the ultimate difference-maker between a lackluster season and record-breaking sales.
Lastly, remember that strong automation platforms can afford you the time to take a much-needed summer vacation. By planning ahead, you can have more of an eCommerce work-life balance and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Once you return, you’ll feel refreshed and energized, so you can start focusing on your Q4 sourcing strategy long before the holiday rush.
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