In our last blog we gave you a taste of what retail seasonality is and how it pertains to the mobile accessory industry. For this blog we’re going to give you a bit more to snack on, so we hope you came hungry… to learn! We’re going to provide some insight into selecting the right product offer, inventory planning and forecasting, merchandising, and promotional planning. Take this blog as a solid starting point to greater fortune and success. Oh, and remember to thank us later!
Selecting the Right Offer
In a previous blog, we emphasized the importance of asking questions and learning about your customers in order to better serve them. When it comes to selecting the right product offer, that information is essential, so we hope you’ve been keeping up. According to About.com, “Choosing a product for your retail store to sell may very well be the most difficult decision you will need to make,” and we couldn’t agree more. Beyond your customers’ tastes and interests, take into account seasons and gift giving holidays when deciding to stock up. For instance, if it’s warm out and customers are frequenting the beach stock up on waterproof products. If you’re in the midst of a gift giving holiday, Bluetooth audio and hands free accessories are always a sturdy go-to. We also recommend stepping out of the box a little bit when it comes to your offer, and major gift giving holidays such as Christmas provide a great time to experiment with products alongside the tried and true.
Getting to know your customers and planning accordingly is an excellent step towards successful retail seasonality preparation, but there’s more you can do via forecasting and inventory planning. According to website Businessdictionary.com, inventory planning is “the process of determining the optimal quantity and timing of inventory for the purpose of aligning it with sales and production capacity. Inventory planning has a direct impact a company’s cash flow and profit margins especially for smaller businesses that rely upon a quick turnover of goods or materials.” Businessdictionary.com defines forecasting as “a planning tool that helps management in its attempts to cope with the uncertainty of the future, relying mainly on data from the past and present and analysis of trends. Forecasting starts with certain assumptions based on the management’s experience, knowledge, and judgment.” When it comes to mobile accessories, we suggest the introduction of a new phone model such as iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6 edge as a largely obvious indicator that it’s time to wind down stock for older and/or current models in favor of accessories supporting new devices. If you’re planning for a specific event or holiday, view your results from the year before as a possible indicator of what you’ll need for the future. If you’re new to inventory and planning, please reach out directly to your rep with questions.
If you’ve been following this series, you’ll be familiar with our trio of blogs exploring merchandising (The Benefits of Merchandising, You’re Retail Ecosystem, and VoiceComm Merchandising Options). When it comes to retail seasonality, be sure to plan your merchandising around device launches and retail holidays, such as Christmas. When you don’t have peg space to spare utilize relevant displays, especially countertop displays to encourage impulse spending during particularly traffic-heavy events. For ideas on transforming your retail space check out our growing list of merchandising displays.
So, you’ve selected the right product offer and followed best practices for inventory planning, forecasting, merchandising. You’re on the right track, but there’s one more step towards greener pastures and a heavier wallet: promotions. According to Businessdictionary.com, a promotion is “marketing: the advancement of a product, idea, or point of view through publicity and/or advertising. See also sales promotion.” Businessdictionary.com also defines a sales promotion as “stimulation of sales achieved through contests, demonstrations, discounts, exhibitions or trade shows, games, giveaways, point-of-sale displays and merchandising, special offers, and similar activities.” When it comes to mobile accessories, plan promotions for moving old stock around device launches and items you don’t typically offer to aid in sell through. Use this in conjunction with merchandising, especially around the holidays. Finally, incentivize your employees with train-to-earn and sell-to-earn programs. Financial incentives help the world go around, but be selective and targeted when pairing products and programs.
We covered a lot of ground, so remember to consult your sales rep with any tips covered in this blog. And remember to stay tuned for the next blog further exploring how we can help you prepare for retail seasonality.