Summer In The Store
Unfortunately, with June sales coming in pretty soft, most of the focus this summer will need to be on moving all the leftover spring and summer goods. It's Clearance Sale time again.
This is also the time, however, for independent retailers to be making final preparations for the fall selling season, which is likely to see a modest rebound in retail business, but still be pretty difficult.
Here's a quick list of things to be thinking about while you're putting out the sale signs:
- Revisit Q3 sales, inventory and buying plans. Make sure they are conservative, conservative, conservative and reflect your latest sales results.
- Make sure you are planning both units and dollars. This will yield planned average retails. Buy to those retails. Don't buy the units at higher retails. You're only walking into a markdown.
- Keep assortments narrow. What used to sell on the fringes most likely is hardly selling at all now. Don't try to force sales with unproductive inventory.
- If you're appealing to a broad market, focus your assortments on basics. If you're appealing to a narrower specialty niche, focus your assortments on the things that differentiate you.
- Err on the side of lean inventories and greater liquidity. Plan to sell and react. Limit pre-season commitments to core essentials. Again, if your focus is on a narrow specialty niche, a little scarcity might create a greater sense of urgency in your customers.
- Plan the events and programs which will help you stay close to your current customers, and leverage those relations into additional customers through reward referral programs. Think like a community organizer. In this environment, your reach must extend beyond your front doors. How can your outreach crystallize your community of customers?
- Finally, renew your own passion, and infect your employees with it! They are the difference between a store being memorable, and a store just being another store.