Retail is a hard old biz with many stores only actually coming into profit in the last quarter leading up to the holidays. Luckily this has never been us I don’t think I could cope mentally with the pressure of earning all my profit in the last few months. Even so for all retailers after the holidays and the January sales this time of year can be tough. Sales have ended, spring hasn’t yet arrived and you could very easily find yourself in a slump. Fear not I’ve learnt along time ago to embrace February, yes it can be exhausting to constantly have to be on your toes and work even harder by doing more but then no pain no gain right?
Incentivize your customers
Naming no names some retailers are constantly on sale but that is a model that I and a number of other high end brands do not endorse too often.
Well being on sale of course helps cash flow but it only does that (helps cash flow that is). Sales reduce profit so yes by all means have them just not every month. Might you lose customers because of it you may ask? Maybe, but I actually don’t think so. When you offer quality unique products you are attracting a completely different customer base. It’s not about stacking it high and selling it low. I am extremely fortunate in that I have a loyal customer base around the globe that appreciates that. So my point don’t think you have to permanently be on sale in order to get sales in, you don’t. Think of other ways. . incentivize your customers with maybe a period of limited free shipping or a loyalty program. Provide them with a perk in some way.
Play upon the New Year attitude
Leading up to the holidays most people are thinking about everybody else when it comes to spending money. Come January the attention goes back on the consumer and so market upon that. Your products can (I assume) make people’s homes happier, edgier, cooler – tie that into your marketing directive.
Launch a new product, and plan ahead at least 6 months
This is the best time of year to launch a new collection you only have to look at the big boys for that with all the spring clothes coming in. As retailers theoretically you should have nailed your spring collection last Autumn, brought all the stock, planned your marketing campaign and you should about now be getting it in store and online. So in these slower trading months you are enticing customers in with a new product range. Plus we are all ready for new, it’s the best time of year for a change and a new look. In retail you have to plan ahead at least 6 months, 6 months is the minimum I would say we’re on S/S16 already which I know sounds forever away but it gives you time to nail your vibe, your collection plan your campaigns upfront so you are not forever trailing behind others, you are there at the start line ready to go!
Don’t worry about following trends, or stocking what everybody else is just make your business your own it will stand out from the crowd that way.
Everyone can be pretty exhausted after the crazy holiday season but don’t let tiredness make you go quiet. Keep shouting, keep pushing your business, promoting it, marketing it, tweaking it and revamping it. It is unrelenting I hate to say.
Change your homepage (we change ours every month) change things round in the store, we try and do this every few weeks. Move products around on the website. I can’t tell you the number of times people have asked us if so and so is new when its merely been relocated. Constantly, change things up I say.
If you can do all of these things you are well on your way to having strong trading months in quieter trading times. Retail is hard there is never any resting on your laurels. I am always planning new things, strategizing, thinking of the next collection. You don’t have to have designed that collection yourself like I have you just need to have a concept or a vibe and then buy products around that vibe it will set you apart. Homogenization is rife; companies that stand out from the crowd are the ones that succeed.
As a business owner you are entirely responsible for the success of your business, you and no one else and I don’t know about you guys but I’m kicking ass in 2015!