Friday, June 17, 2011
Make Your Summer Inventory Shine
Next week brings the official start to summer. For retailers, no calendar needs to tell us that as we are already well into the summer selling season and working on marketing and promoting the seasonal products that go with this time of year.
But for those of you that are a little behind in your planning, or you need a reminder about how to maximize your seasonal inventory we offer a few tips on how to make your summer inventory sizzle and shine while making sure you are thinking about the profitable season end liquidation of those products.
By now, you probably have a great display of your seasonal merchandise right by the front door. Hopefully the display is set up in direct sight of customers when they walk in and full of seasonal products and geared to maximize sales. Make sure your display is fun and pull in as much merchandise as you can to showcase your all of seasonal products – and the other corresponding products that go with it in the store.
Don’t forget to include your store windows and any outdoor space (window boxes, benches, parking lots, etc) in your seasonal product displays. There is no better way to entice customers to buy like showing them how the products work and how much fun they are!
Besides a great display, one of the biggest things to help maximize sales of seasonal products is to create a fun and engaging marketing program for them. Summer is all about family, vacation and doing all the fun things we don’t get to do in the colder weather so make your marketing communications reflect the same attitudes.
Remember you have less time to sell seasonal products than you do with your average selling cycle so be sure to market often. Include seasonal products in at least 2 emails per month and use social media to talk about your seasonal products on a more regular basis. (Our suggestion is 2-3 times per week) With social media, don’t forget you can do fun things like picture contests, short videos showing people using the products in a fun way.
If you sell from the web, change your summer product images on the front page often.
A good plan for maximizing sales with seasonal products also includes a strategy for how to liquidate those products at the end of the season. It is critical to your success- and to your cash flow- that you plan the time you want to be out of the merchandise and then back in to when and how you will promote it to your customers.
A good rule of thumb is to plan to sell thru 75% of your merchandise at regular price (This assumes an 8-10% sell thru on a weekly basis for the preceding 8-10 weeks of the season) by 1 month before seasons end.
This allows you one month to take permanent markdowns and move it to a clearance section of the store or to run the merchandise as a POS markdown for the final liquidation.
Posted by Lynn Switanowski at 1:26 PM