Understanding How to Deal with Seasonality in Sales

I’m the son of an entrepreneur. You see, my dad started his own business while he was still in high school with his father. They started a bicycle shop. My dad was always working on his friends’ bicycles in the garage. My grandpa saw that as an opportunity and they decided to open the shop.

There’s more to the story, and maybe someday I’ll explore going into more about it.

I remember it vividly growing up all of the busyness and slow days. I remember stopping in during the winter and seeing everything just be still and contrast that with the summer when we barely got to each lunch because we were so busy.

I never really understood any of it. I didn’t understand how we could be busy at certain times and then almost dead others. Years later, I learned this was called seasonality. More specific it deals with sales of your products.

What is Sales Seasonality

As I mentioned, I didn’t realize what this was those many years ago. But sale seasonality affects every type of business out there. I don’t think I’ve ever found a business that isn’t affected by this.

Many people explain sales seasonality as something that happens for the US-related businesses where most of the US starts to take vacations around the end of May (because of Memorial Day) through September (Labor Day).

I tend to agree with the idea that I’m not thinking about big purchases during those times. I’m typically spending time outdoors, taking weekend trips around Michigan, or spending time at the beach.

I believe to see most businesses, especially around the WordPress space, to deal with this type of seasonality where your sales slow down during what we’d consider the US summer months. This is when the majority of people are taking vacations, getting outdoors, etc. They are not thinking about buying software.

However, in my dad’s case, the summer months were our busiest. We weren’t allowed to take vacations. We worked. Long hours. Spent time putting bicycles together. BMX racing. Our seasonality was what we’d call winter months. It would typically be October through March when it’s cold and there is snow on the ground.

Like I said though, every business has some sort of seasonality.

How do deal with Seasonality?

This is probably the best question I can think of. How do you handle the seasonality? Do you prepare for it? Do you position yourself to survive through it, or do you just get through it?

My dad found ways to keep busy. In the early years, cross-country skiing was pretty popular in our area. That meant he could do rentals and sales of cross-country skis during the winter months here and that would not only keep him and other employees, employed. But it would also mean that they could sell products during those months.

In the later years, it’s been harder to find what to sell. With the advancement of technology and people spending more and more time in front of their computers and devices, no one really ventures out for winter sports around here. Instead, he’s found other ways to keep busy. He donates bicycles to local families for Christmas, the employees take vacations, and they still get the Christmas rush of bicycle sales.

Looking at the WordPress space, I seem to see sales more often during the slow periods to try to generate sales. Having worked in the hosting and plugin space of the last 6 years, it’s the playbook for many. Run various types of sales to entice those that aren’t paying close attention to bite. It’s also why most will spend the rest of the year building their email list. The larger the list, the better the sales will be.

What types of tricks do you have for battling seasonality in your business? Tag me in your conversation on Twitter or join my newsletter below.