The Big Finish to the Holiday Selling Season
Now is the time to proactively take the steps to assure that you have a banner finish to the holiday selling season.
As you approach the holiday selling season, it's time to prepare for a big finish. Your objective is to maximize sales while minimizing those markdowns that can devastate profits. Here are several thoughts to keep in mind:
- The first half of the season is the time to offer your customers a complete assortment of merchandise across all of your categories. But as the season progresses, narrow and focus your assortments on the best sellers, the proven winners, those items that customers have clearly responded to. Those are the items that will generate the most sales with the least amount of markdown risk. Shift your focus from being fully assorted to being more narrow and deep.
- Review your sales plans for November and December. By this time, you are far enough along in the season to project the last two months with more certainty than before the season started. How have sales trended versus last year? What categories have been particularly strong, what categories have been weak? Make sure your sales plans reflect what you really think your sales will be.
- Review your inventory plans for the end of October, November and December. How much inventory will you need to make your revised November and December sales plans, without ending so heavy that you are risking significant markdowns? What percentage of your ending inventories each month do you want to dedicate to stocks of your best items, the items that will drive your sales in those last two months?
- Determine from your sales and inventory plans, as well as your current inventory position, what you need to bring for the rest of the season. What items, what quantities, what delivery dates, which vendors? Make sure your vendors know now what you'll need. And if your primary vendor doesn't have one of your key items, keep looking. Somebody else will likely have it, or something very similar.
- After you've placed your purchase orders, stay in constant contact with your vendors so they deliver on time. Late deliveries in November and December can very easily turn all your hard work upside down, resulting in lost sales and heavier than anticipated markdowns.
Now is the time to proactively take the steps to assure that you have a banner finish to the season. Take the time to plan now, and you'll be well positioned to maximize your sales while minimizing markdowns.