Seasonal Sales and Your Business
Although it is the big winter holiday shopping season that most retailers are preparing for right now the fact is that there are a number of shopping seasons spread throughout the year that can provide a boost in sales in certain categories. These include Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and the one that many of you may be promoting right now, Halloween.
Seasonal sales and how the seasons and certain dates impact your business can be something that is difficult to predict. However, with a little research and forward planning you can do a far better job of managing seasonal sales to help boost your businesses bottom line all year long.
Understanding Seasonal Sales Trends
The first basic step to understanding seasonal sales as they relate to your unique company, your products and the industry you are in is to look back in time. This will involve looking back into your sales history and finding the obvious trends.
If yours is a brand new company, you won’t have these figures for your own business but you can spend some time checking the historical seasonal sales figures for the product categories you offer.
The easiest way to find seasonal trends is by using a spreadsheet tool to create a trend chart. You need nothing too fancy – a simple spreadsheet will work just fine.
Start by listing the months in 12 columns, January to December, and then put products into rows. You can list individual products one by one or several product categories. Next input the historical sales data for each month in whatever way makes sense to you, either using dollar amounts or unit sales.
Then you can use the spreadsheet chart tool to create a visual representation of the figures that should make it easy to spot the more obvious trends. You can use this knowledge to plan for inventory based on what has sold in the past rather than what might sell in the future.
Planning for Seasonal Sales
Once you have a better understanding of the ups and downs that affect your seasonal sales you can begin planning for the future going forward. You should be able to identify most of the products, or products groups, that drive the most revenue every season and then begin to build a season by season inventory plan around them.
For almost any retail business, inventory purchases are often one of the biggest cash outlays they have to make. It’s one of your biggest assets and getting the best possible return on your investment is essential. Products that sit on the shelves at certain times of the year doesn’t help that revenue at all. Learning to anticipate your annual needs fairly accurately is a must.
An alternative that smaller retailers can consider is dropshipping. You will still need a greater understanding of your seasonal sales in order to create the best possible marketing campaigns, but by purchasing stock on a sale by sale basis you avoid the risk of being stuck with boxes of unsold goods that you would either have to heavily discount or store until next year.
Marketing Seasonal Sales
After you have created your trends chart and have a better understanding of your seasonal sales your marketing plan will be easier to build as well. Seasonal marketing plans can help you promote high demand items at just the right times and even plan for clearance sales at the appropriate times too.