Five effective ways to boost sales during a cost of living crisis

Is customer retention hard in quiet times? Our top tips for encouraging hesitant customers.


If you’ve noticed a decline in sales and aren’t sure how to bounce back, it can be a worrying time for small businesses. You may have tried to throw everything at the problem and it can feel like your only option is to simply ride it out. But even in quiet times there are solutions to help grow your business and retain your customer base. Here are our top tips for encouraging even the most hesitant of customers.

1. Marketing your products as essential, IS essential

In times where customers are less keen to part with their cash, how they view your product and how essential it is to their lives will have a huge influence on whether they purchase from you.

KMPG’s consumer research highlights the impact of the rising cost of living on how customers spend their money. Some of their main findings indicate that:

  • A third of consumers are buying less so far in 2022.
  • Clothing is the most common cost cutting target, followed by eating out.
  • Rising costs are 4x greater a deterrent to spending savings than pandemic uncertainty.
  • Value for money is the main purchasing consideration for consumers in 2022.

These findings would suggest that customers are far less likely to make a purchase if they do not perceive the product to be of significant value to their daily life. One thing that is certain is that if your business sells non-essentials, you will need to work harder to maintain your customer base in hard times.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) identified 30 ‘Elements of Value’ which are grouped into 4 categories of consumer needs: functional, emotional, life changing and social impact. Their research shows that products which were perceived to have more elements of value attracted the most loyal consumers. HBR’s research also showed that the single most important perceived element was quality, stating that ‘no other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on quality.’

In order to overcome a decline in sales, you need to rethink how you position your business in the market. There won’t necessarily be a need to change your product but you will need to adjust your strategy by putting the spotlight on your product’s essential place in customers’ lives.

When it comes to luxury items, it’s easy to market their qualities in terms of time-saving, therapeutic value and their convenience. By highlighting these elements in your marketing, you could influence a customer’s decision to cut or keep your product as an essential purchase.

2. Limited-time offers will create urgency

A customer may believe that they are saving money by not making a purchase and that is where your influence comes in.

Yes, consumers will prioritise some purchases over others, but a well-placed time-limited promotion is a valuable tactic. By doing this, you are diverting the focus from the price of the product to the saving. Now the customer is not having to choose between buying and not-buying. Instead, they are choosing to save whether they do or don’t make the purchase. With Saledock, you can create site-wide or category/product specific promotions and promo codes to create a buzz about your business.

A recent study of limited-time offers suggests that while what is on offer and the price will be appealing to customers, the addition of a limited-time offer will influence when a purchase is made. Psychologists use the term ‘anticipatory regret’ when a customer is influenced to make a purchase towards the end of a promotion for fear of missing out.

3. Build a presence in new places

A customer’s decision to buy your product is influenced by what they need and what they want. It is likely that during their searches, the first business that they perceive to meet these needs is the one most likely to get an order. Making your brand visible and memorable will depend on where you decide to market your business. If a customer is familiar with your brand from a wide market, you will see a great result from your efforts.

It may be easy to believe that a shift from in-store shopping to online has taken place in the 21st century and to an extent this may be true. However, according to ReadyCloud, 88% of internet shoppers do their initial research online before making the decision to buy in-store (webrooming). While just 68% prefer to research in-store before buying online (showrooming).

This demonstrates the link between the online and physical presence and that the most successful marketing strategies will explore both sales channels to achieve a wider reach with customers. For a low cost option, marketing on social media can be a great solution.

Saledock’s eCommerce websites make use of SEO tools as standard to improve your search engine performance and drive customers towards your business so if you are yet to branch into online sales, Saledock’s eCommerce solution is ideal.

4. Make marketing memorable with physical advertising

It can be easy to assume that the internet is the ‘be all and end all’ when it comes to marketing and while it certainly is important, making good use of physical advertising is still worthwhile. Why not consider physical advertising in the form of pop-up stalls, events, billboards and countless other marketing forms.

In a world where customers have a tendency to interact with a business online, the relationship with customers is ever more estranged. Making good use of physical advertising can be what stands out and engages more memorably with your customers.

5. Advertise for next to no money

Losing touch with a hesitant customer is a sure-fire way to lose their business. Maintaining a relationship will make them far more likely to reconsider their purchase. This will be critical to implement during times of slow growth.

Customers who feel connected to your business will be more likely to continue to purchase from you. If they can keep up to date with your news, customers will maintain a far more personal connection to your business.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) when utilised alongside regular marketing, can have an enormous impact. Not only can it increase sales by 29%, it can improve customer retention by an impressive 27% too.

Consumers engage more with businesses that communicate effectively and personalise the customer experience. Here’s where an ePOS system is worth every penny. Saledock manages customer profiles helping you to personalise your customers’ shopping experience and target your marketing campaigns more effectively.

By integrating with technologies such as HubSpot, your small business can quickly create email marketing campaigns using customer information stored securely through your ePOS. This seamless integration makes effective email marketing a piece of cake. Other time consuming CRM tasks such as a monthly newsletter will be completed much quicker.

When customers consent to receiving emails, even if they have stopped purchasing from you, simply keeping in touch can help to keep your brand in the forefront of their mind and up-to-date on offers and promotions. Customers may be inspired to return and reignite a relationship with your business. Using Saledock’s loyalty features you can create rewards for your repeat customers and keep them coming back for more.

In a world of faceless corporations, interacting with customers on a human level can be incredibly effective. When customers feel connected to your business on a more personal level, their business becomes more than transactions and more about the relationship between you, your team and everything that you stand for.

Discover how Saledock can future-proof your business with its Award-Winning ePOS. Start your FREE 14 day trial today and explore all the tools Saledock can offer you or book a demo and we’ll show you how we can help your business!