5 tips to prepare for summer and beat the ecommerce holiday slump

It’s never too early to start preparing for summer. After all, reports state that consumers like to start their summer shopping early.

That gives online sellers enough time to gear up for the so-called summer slump, when many businesses suffer from slower sales during the vacation period.

We prepared a short summer strategy overview to help you capitalize on the upcoming holiday months.

Continue reading for easy and effortless summer marketplace selling tips.

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#1 Summer selling tip: Sell typical or trending summer products
#2 Summer selling tip: Research keywords & optimize descriptions
#3 Summer selling tip: Creaty urgency to relax
#4 Summer selling tip: Invest in advertising
#5 Summer selling tip: Explore international markets
Bonus summer selling tips

Is summer slump a real thing in ecommerce?

The summer season can be a challenging period for online businesses. During the holiday months, marketplace sellers may struggle with reduced customer engagement and in consequence, a decline in sales.

This period is often called the summer slump. It can be attributed to several factors, the main two being:

  • Seasonal Spending Shifts
    During the summer months, consumers tend to allocate their budgets towards travel, vacations, outdoor activities, festivals, and other experiences rather than online shopping.
  • Less Screen Time
    Many people take time off during the summer for vacations, taking a break from their computers or having limited access to an internet connection. And even when they’re not on holiday, they spend more time outside simply to enjoy the nice weather.
    As a result, their overall screen time decreases, and so does their engagement with online marketplace platforms.

By understanding these reasons behind the summer slump in ecommerce, businesses can strategize and implement techniques to overcome the challenges and boost their sales during this period.

It’s also worth noting that according to a 2023 Consumer Summer Shopping Survey More than half of consumers planned to shop for summer items in May and June, so much earlier than the actual holiday months.

Reminder: Summer slump can start in June and get in full swing by July and August.

With the right knowledge, attitude, and tools, beating the summer slump can be effortless! Read on to explore easy and actionable tips to boost your summer sales.

#1 Summer selling tip: Sell typical or trending summer products

Understanding various seasonal shopping patterns can help you meet customer expectations at each time of the year. Summer months may not boast the same scale of consumer spending as other months, but there’s likely to be a soar in demand for seasonal products.

Lean into it and let summer inspire your product portfolio. The easiest solution is to target and capitalize on products related to vacation, travel, and outdoor activities. 

According to the same Consumer Summer Shopping Survey, the top items that respondents planned to buy for summer are clothing (78%), swimwear (58%), home goods, and beauty products, each at (50%).

Step 1: Gather ideas

Whether someone is spending their summer traveling or making use of the nice weather in their own backyard, they might have similar needs. Explore stocking some of the following summer essentials:

Summer apparel

  • Dresses, shorts, and other weather-appropriate clothing made of natural materials such as cotton or linen
  • Hat gear: straw hats, bucket hats, baseball caps
  • Sunglasses
  • Summer footwear: sandals, flip-flops, Crocs
  • Pro tip: Summer is also high wedding season, so cocktail dresses and light suits are also in high demand

Skincare, beauty, and hygiene products

  • Sunscreen protection, after-sun care, self-tanners
  • Fun, colorful make-up
  • Waterproof cosmetics
  • Deodorants and antiperspirants

Home, kitchen, and garden accessories

  • Air conditioners, fans
  • Ice cream makers, ice trays, barbecue accessories
  • Patio furniture, hammocks, sun umbrellas
  • Garden party: decorations, tableware, solar-powered lights and lanterns

Outdoors accessories and equipment

  • Outside sports accessories for: volleyball, badminton, frisbee
  • Picnic items: picnic blankets, picnic baskets
  • Camping gear: tents, light sleeping bags, survival kits
  • Fishing equipment: rods, lures and bait, fishing boots
  • Insect repellents

Beach, pool, and water accessories

  • Swimsuits, bikinis, swimming trunks, pareos
  • Pool essentials: inflatable water toys, pool floats, armbands for kids
  • Beach accessories: towels, beach chairs, portable coolers, beach toys for children
  • Watersports accessories: wetsuits, life jackets, water shoes, swim goggles, waterproof phone cases, dry bags

Travel accessories

  • Luggage sets, backpacks, carry-ons
  • Travel pillows
  • Travel adapters
  • Travel size toiletries
[Download our FREE practical guide and checklist for easier reading. Learn what to sell on eBay and Amazon right now!]

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Step 2: Assess bestseller potential

Need a starting point for identifying which summer items have the potential to become bestsellers? There are a couple of ways to assess that.

Explore your marketplace platform, see what your competitors are selling, monitor the “Customers also bought” section.

For example, look at Amazon’s Best Sellers. It’s a list of current best-sellers (“our most popular products based on sales”) that the platform itself curates. You can access it anytime and it is updated hourly.

This list shows items that are selling the most across the entire site. It shows the most popular products per category, ranging from toys to books to video games. This screenshot from May 2024 illustrates how the list was slowly getting saturated with typical summer products.

best selling summer products amazon 1This can give you ideas to adjust your product portfolio in a way that will grow your ecommerce business on unprecedented levels.

However, be aware that:

Products found on the best sellers pages can be very competitive. After all, every seller has access to this information. Also, some top selling products might not have great sales margins and be profitable.

It’s always worth reading relevant industry trend reports and studies. The insights you find there might give you the edge you need. Not just to beat the summer slump, but your competitors as well.

Step 3: Make use of your existing inventory

The trick is to try to connect your standard inventory to customers’ summer wishlists creatively.

Have you given any thought to whether what you’re already selling on marketplaces has the potential to be popular during the holiday months? For example, if you sell kitchenware, you could create a “Summer Grilling Bundle” that includes items like grilling tools, marinades, and recipe books.

Think about how to utilize your product portfolio to best match buyers’ summer needs and cross-sell as many items as possible.

#2 Summer selling tip: Research keywords & optimize descriptions

Building the perfect summer product portfolio isn’t everything. You need potential customers to find your listings when they’re looking for what they need.

Your listings must include the search terms consumers look for on marketplaces. Keywords appearing in your name can also improve your rankings.

How to know which keywords will attract the right summer shoppers? You can do basic keyword research using the marketplace platform you’re selling, checking for potential keywords on your competitor pages, similar products section, and popular keywords on Google.

Once you identify the most important keywords, remember to prioritize them across relevant listings. Keyword order and keyword choice in the description and title can dramatically influence your product sales and rank.

In your product description, tell buyers why they should finalize their purchase. Present a unique viewpoint on why people need the product and demonstrate how it will make their life better.

Last but not least:

Tailor your entire product descriptions to highlight how they can enhance customers’ summer holiday experiences.

For instance, if you sell outdoor gear, emphasize how your products are perfect for camping trips, beach outings, or family vacations. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Pro ecommerce tip
Check out how your competitors write their descriptions. Learn from their listings: what works and what doesn’t.

#3 Summer selling tip: Create urgency to relax

Want it or not, your summer product stock is not universal. Sure, many products will be good for bundling up, cross-selling, or repurposing. But there won’t be any demand for some of them as soon as summer ends.

You don’t want such items taking up your precious shelf space for the whole year before next summer starts.

Try to incentivize summer purchases by creating a sense of urgency around such products. How?

You could run special, flash sale promotions on select items in your inventory, specifically tied to summertime. For instance:

  • A “Summer Solstice Spectacular” with limited-time offers and freebies for customers who make a purchase on the longest day of the year.
  • A “Sizzling Summer Savings” campaign, featuring daily or weekly deals on selected hot-selling items throughout the summer season.
  • A “Staycation Special” promotion providing discounts on home spa-quality skincare products bought on Mondays, for those who can’t take time off during the summer.
  • A “Cool off with Savings” promotion, featuring discounts on air conditioners, fans, and other cooling appliances during the hottest summer days or weeks.

The secret is to create themed marketing materials around selected items and ideas, to attract customers.

Pro tip: Make sure to offer various shipping options that will cater to the needs of summer shoppers.

Another approach to summer urgency

Another way to tap into that sense of urgency is to look after busy, absent-minded, and forgetful travelers.

A lot of people struggle with planning, packing, and often will not remember to buy their holiday accessories ahead of time. And some will simply forget to pack them!

Did you know, that 1 in 5 people usually realize they forgot to pack something after they’ve arrived at their holiday destination?

Those items are not necessarily very summer-y, but they are essential for travel:

products people forget to pack for holidays

If you carry such items anyway – emphasize they are holiday must-haves in the descriptions.

Make sure such listings have realistic but fast delivery dates for people shopping before going on vacation. And add express overnight options for those who will want to have them delivered to their holiday destinations!

#4 Summer selling tip: Invest in ads

Sponsored advertising is the quickest way to boost your product listings on marketplaces.

Ads can boost individual listings to the top of search results pages, boost traffic to stores, or show listings to interested customers that have navigated away from a marketplace.

Marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay are leveraging shopper data to make digital experiences more targeted, personalized, and intuitive. More shoppers, more purchases, and more data require more advertising.

Ecommerce opportunities of using ads on marketplaces include:

  • The quality, brand-safe environment that advertisers want
  • Reducing the sales cycle
  • Improving sales history & product visibility
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Gaining valuable insights on changing consumer habits & optimizing campaigns to reach a more targeted audience
  • Learning the best ways to acquire customers at a given time.

People browsing marketplaces are already pretty ready to buy, so your investment should pay off quickly. However, it requires some basic knowledge and understanding to reach the best results.

Imagine this: a buyer lands on your product detail page ready to purchase your product. Suddenly they see a competitor’s sponsored ad for the same item. You lose the sale at the point of conversion due to your competitor’s cheaper price. To minimize the occurrence of such situations, sponsor your own products.

#5 Summer selling tip: Explore international markets

Marketplace sellers who focus their efforts on domestic markets only, limit their sales potential and options considerably. After all, platforms such as eBay and Amazon have huge markets in many countries worldwide. Plus, there’s an abundance of successful local marketplaces to tap into. These are often foreign markets where local online sellers aren’t able to offer specific products or meet the local demand.

Expanding into international marketplaces holds immense growth potential at a relatively low risk and cost. If sellers succeed, they have the opportunity to tap into the global market, expand their customer base, and increase total revenue.

international marketplaces benefits expert quote przemyslaw fus

Marketplaces allow selling on international markets with more sales potential and less competition than your domestic one. And the possibility of satisfying unmet demand abroad is one of the biggest worldwide opportunities for online sellers.

By optimizing their listings and focusing on quality over quantity, sellers can build a successful presence on international marketplaces. Increasing their brand credibility, together with building an attractive, market-specific inventory, is a recipe for global growth”, Przemysław Fus adds.

According to eMarketer, 70% of online buyers already purchase from foreign sites. Furthermore, 80% of retailers worldwide agree that cross-border trade has been profitable or that sellers have successfully increased sales by as much as 1,000% after expanding their marketplace presence.

What’s most important in the context of summer sales is to remember that… summer doesn’t occur simultaneously worldwide! And it looks different in each country, each climate, and each culture. Take advantage of that fact, and start selling abroad to tap into a whole new potential customer base.

Some bonus tips to keep in mind for summer sales

Buying journey:

People who are looking to buy summer-related products generally go through the same buying journey as they would for any other product.

Summer marketing ideas:

Your summer campaigns should be created with the intention of providing a light and fun experience for the customer. Develop engaging content related to the summer holidays and how your products can be incorporated. This can include blog posts, social media campaigns, or email newsletters that offer tips, ideas, and inspiration for celebrating the holidays with your products.

Custom holiday hashtags:

Use seasonal hashtags to describe your summer sales ideas. Try such hashtags as: #summersale #summervibes #summerstyle

Summer giveaways: 

You can explore organizing a summer giveaway for your newsletter or social media contact base. Organize a holiday-themed contest, asking customers to engage by sharing their favorite summer holiday memories or submitting photos of how they use your products during the holidays.

Holiday freebie ideas:

Try incentivizing sales with freebies, such as a printable packing checklist. Some great family summer freebie ideas include offering items that parents can use when vacationing with their children, such as printable coloring pages or game instructions perfect for long travel.

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Last but not least: Dealing with excess summer inventory

Do not panic when you’re left with excess inventory. There are many ways to give your listings a second chance and increase your sales:

“End of Summer” clearance sale

Especially for items that have an expiration date or will no longer be in demand this year. A clearance sale can attract bargain hunters who may not have initially been interested in the products. This way, you will at least be able to free up that valuable shelf space.

Market it differently

Instead of emphasizing the summer theme, focus on the product’s features that make it attractive for other occasions. Highlight their durability, size, or unique design that will serve on multiple events throughout the year, such as fun outdoor trips, family gatherings and celebrations, etc.

Create a bundle

Consider creating a bundle of products that didn’t sell during the holidays, enriched with other products suitable for different occasions. For example, if you listed travel-size toiletries or luggage – try marketing them as an “Ultimate Business Travel Set”. If you add a few more elegant items to it (credit card holder, work planner, etc.), it might work for businessmen and businesswomen.

Conclusion: How can you boost your summer sales?

While the summer shopping slump may present challenges to online merchants, there are effective strategies to effortlessly boost summer sales.

By understanding the reasons behind the slump, organizing sales events, targeting international markets, leveraging special summertime inventory and stocking trending summer products, and exploring listing optimization and marketplace advertising, you can easily drive increased sales during the summer season.

Stay proactive, adapt your approach, and make the most of the opportunities available to you.

Set everything up as soon as possible, and you’ll be able to simply enjoy a trouble-free and wonderful summer too!

* The information, data, and guidance provided in this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute professional advice.

About Webinterpret

Webinterpret supports merchants selling on big, international ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon as well as local marketplaces like Allegro or Cdiscount. Our AI-based solution enables selling more effectively with automated listing localization, marketing, and logistics (shipping and returns).

By giving your international customers a full end-to-end local shopping experience, Webinterpret improves your conversion and helps establish your business on a global scale.

Our marketplace offer is constantly expanding – if you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts. They will help you analyze your international sales potential and choose markets that will offer you the best possible return on investment.

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