Utilizing online sales on bad weather days

If your small business relies on foot traffic for the bulk of your sales, inclement weather can have a big impact on your bottom line. Leveraging the Internet to promote your products and services during bad-weather periods can help you recover some of the costs and recoup lost revenue. It may not be as easy to generate online sales if you're a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, so you'll need to plan ahead to get through those rougher seasons. Here are some ideas for tapping into online sales on bad weather days:

Drum Up Business with Social Networking Deals

Some spa and restaurant owners in my area have enjoyed a lot of success by hosting online promotions, and by selling packages or exclusive deals during a slow patch on bad weather days. They work hard to nurture their Facebook and Twitter followers by posting discount codes or posting a printable coupon for their followers and fans. Posting a special deal on your blog and then promoting it on Facebook and Twitter can help to generate some sales within hours.

One spa owner in my area offered a big discount on services booked within a four-hour period; in this case, they were able to drum up business without counting on walk-ins or same-day appointments. Remember that loyal customers and fans can easily share these posts with their social networks - think of an incredible deal that most people simply can't resist.

Send Email Alerts to Subscribers

When you can't seem to get people to come through your doors during a bad weather spurt, reach out to them with an email-only special or deal where they can pre-book services or make a purchase at your online store at an exclusive rate. Giving your loyal customers an incentive to make a purchase that day or week can stimulate sales and help you recover lost revenue when the weather is less than cooperative.

Host a Liquidation Sale

If you do carry some inventory, consider hosting a liquidation sale for the season and promoting it on your social networks, your blog, and on related community sites. Whether you're a restaurant owner with a stock of t-shirts, glasses, and memorabilia, or a clothing retailer with a big stock of shoes, clothing, and accessories, choose about ten items that can undergo a drastic price cut and prepare them for the liquidation sale.

You could host the sale as a week-long event and send out an email blast to your entire subscriber base to generate some extra revenue. Set up a separate section of your website just for the sale items. In some cases, revenue from this sale could be enough to cover the cost of lost sales from the lack of foot traffic during the week.

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