Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are You Ready and Rarin’ for the Holiday Blitz?

Next week is Thanksgiving - where did the year go? So much has happened this year for sure, but the good news is we can be thankful that the signs of a better economy are everywhere!

Hopefully, this means that every retailer reading this will be busy from Black Friday thru Christmas Day! In fact, you've planned for it to be busy, you've bought the merchandise, you've dressed the windows, you've hired the staff and you've planned unique and sales generating marketing activities. But what if it's still not enough to make the sales you planned for?

This post is filled with last minute sales generating and profit saving tips for retailers of all size.
Whether it's marketing or a markdown strategy to help drive sales and improve your post holiday inventory position, we offer some last minute strategies to help your business thrive this holiday season. We know TIME is of the essence so we urge you to start implementing some of these ideas today!

  • Treat Your Kings and Queens Royally! Host a Private Sale during the two slowest days of December for your absolutely best customers

    • Invite your customers via email, FB etc. to keep marketing costs down
      • Email Subject line: VIP Party- Invitation Only- Please Join Us
    • Provide refreshments and have festive music playing.
    • Offer Special Savings on Key Products – (use this as a chance to sell slow moving products) Target slow selling Christmas merchandise.
    • Give customers a coupon for a future purchase with every purchase made on thE Private Sale night (day) – January 1- 31 when sales are slow
  • Motivate Employees Thru Christmas Day. Run a sales contest at least 2 times per week to keep employees motivated an in line with overall store sales goals. This works great to boost morale as everyone needs money for holiday gifts!
  • Liquidate Holiday Merchandise BEFORE the Holiday Comes. Review your Holiday product selling each week. Review dollar sales by category to make sure you are on track to liquidate it by the end of the month.
      • If sales are slow, start taking discounts by 12/16 –start with 20% off
      • Move to 30- 40% off on all Holiday product (cards, ornaments, red boxed gifts, etc) on 12/23-24 depending on sell thru (the new spending consumer spending patterns no longer suggest to "buy it for next year" so you will have more trouble liquidating holiday merchandise after Christmas this year than in years past.
  • It's not Fine Wine- It doesn't get better with age. Review ALL store selling during December. As we discussed earlier, even though the economy is improving, consumers will not have much discretionary income after the holidays are over. Review on hand inventory and work to liquidate it based on slower sales periods in January and February.
  • Suggested ideas:
  • Negotiate with Vendors to take back slow selling merchandise and trade it for new spring merchandise (since you've already paid for it, your cash flow will improve in the spring because of this!)
  • It's still not too late to call your key vendors and try and get money to help you advertise or markdown slow selling inventory. Trust me, the big box store around the corner is analyzing their selling every single day and they are already making these calls—Find the time to review your merchandise selling- it will pay off in the end.
  • Product Profiling. Review Spring 2010. I know you're busy trying to make Christmas happen, but you've got to find the time to review your January and February on order NOW. The key is to make sure that it's still merchandise you have to have and that you are prepared to pay for in a very slow selling time period. If you still love it and have to have it, review the quantities that you have on order.
    These purchases should be enough to make the store look fresh and transition you to spring, but you don't need a 6 month supply of ANY merchandise that you pay for in January! If you still love the merchandise and are comfortable with the total number of units, see if you can get your vendors to split the shipments- Again, typical January sell thru rates are 3% per week. That's not a lot of customers or a lot of products going out the door. Why tie up your cash and pay for them?

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