Katie talks about those dreaded quiet months for retail, and how you can use the down time to your advantage
Ah, January and February. Each year you sneak up on us on the coat tails of Christmas. Whilst during October, November and December we long for a quiet time to rejuvenate we are still frustrated and annoyed by your poor sales performance.
As tumble weeds roll through our store we sit and ponder; was it this quiet last year? Why is it so quiet? However, very infrequently is the question ‘what can I do?’ uttered and even less frequently is action taken.
The perception and attitude towards January and February in the world of retail needs to be changed. It’s a time that presents great opportunities beyond the now barely existing the post-Christmas sale and the perfect time to tackle the following with gusto and a little pizzazz…
1.Spring clean time. Grab that duster, vacuum and mop and clean out the stockroom and the showroom floor. While you no doubt clean the shelves and windows daily you probably miss all those hard to reach places and neglect out the back. The year ahead needs your store in mint condition.
2.Set up your social media portals and work out a calender and system for managing them including downloading cute iPhone apps so you can photograph stock as it comes out of the box and provide another avenue for sales.
3. Re-merchandise the store. The number of times I walk into stores and squeal with excitement at what I think is the ‘latest’ top/hat/skirt/dress only to be told it has been in store for months is ridiculous! Sure enough it has simply been relocated and ta-da it’s front row centre and needs to come home with me.
4. Eyes are the windows to the soul and your store window is, well the window to your store. When was the last time you visually merchandised this prime selling space? It is important that your window is changed at least weekly to generate interest and create desire for your products. Also take note of what sells out of the window so you make informed decisions about which products to feature.
5. Marketing plan. You’ve never done one! You sell dresses/fishing gear/cars, you don’t write marketing plans! Never fear it can it be done. Firstly, just grab a whiteboard wall planner and whiteboard pen from Officeworks. Then give yourself 45min or so and mark down all the retail prime times even if you think they don’t apply to your type of store (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Stocktake, Valentine’s Day, Christmas). Then mark down all the events, which occur in your city or town that attract a crowd, including community events also. Done. Now, time to incubate…get thinking of all the different ways you can use these times to your advantage and jot this down. Before you know it you have a basic marketing plan with key dates of activities/events and know what tactic you are going to use to let your customers know about your store and how you can meet their needs. Most importantly you will also have lead-time so that Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Stocktake, Valentine’s Day, Christmas doesn’t just sneak up on you out of nowhere!
And of course, if this all seems a little too much you can give Cake Marketing a call!