January is the traditional “doldrums” in the retail sector. Consumers have the financial hangover of Christmas to deal with. The whole of the high street have collapsed into a sale-frenzy, desperately trying to secure some custom whilst clearing out the Autumn/winter and seasonal stock. So, what can you do to make January a more positive and productive month?
Spring Clean your store! Clear the clutter, refresh the visual merchandising
January is a great time to really refresh the store. Try and look at your store from the perspective of your ideal customer. Tidy up, give it a good clean, do some general decoration if required – if sales are slow and you can find the time to do this it will really give the store environment a great boost to start the new year.
Next you need to clear out all the old stock – declutter – sell it in the store or via Amazon marketplace / eBay. If stock is not selling, just gathering dust, you’re as well to get as much cash back from it as you can to invest in better, more productive merchandise for the forthcoming season.
Finally, with everything looking pristine, it’s time to merchandise you new ranges, Spring Summer items, and prepare for the rest of the year.
New ranges, trade shows, and choosing the ideal products for your ideal customer.
January is also a great time to analyse past business performance and to plan ahead for the trade shows that typically run during February. When you visit trade shows you must always go prepared. Reflect on who you are buying for, their needs and wants, don’t get carried away buying items that YOU love unless you are typical of your ideal customer!
Using past business performance data plan how many items and of what type you need to source. Determine what price points you’ll ideally be retailing at and make sure you go to the shows with a checklist e.g. 10 items in the bedding category (not 15, not 5). If you want to retail the items for between £30 and £50 then make sure you’ve got your calculator so you can do a quick check that the supplier price would enable you do achieve your target margin / markup AND your target retail price.
Getting your range right BEFORE you buy stock means you’ll be far more likely to have less of an end-of-season clearance issue on your hands when the time comes, and as a result you’ll be much more profitable!
10-Steps to Retail Success
If you want to delve deeper into some of the ideas in this blog I’ve touched on several aspects of the 10-steps to retail success methodology – specifically:
- Step 3: Ideal Customer
- Step 4: Range Planning
- Step 5: Pricing and promotions
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