They say that ‘summer bodies start in winter’ and indeed in our industry, the summer stock that decides the fate of your busiest retail period has all been bought way back in May.
That stock starts to deliver this month and while it might seem that we’ve just only gotten used to the spring (with winter still lingering in the southern states), the silly season is right upon us.
So are you ready for the summer?
Here are 7 things you might consider:
We always talk of a ‘spring clean’ but you’re probably still hung over from your winter sales, spring somehow caught up on you and your store is looking a little tacky. It’s time to clean up and get your space ready for summer! Start minimizing your sales racks, remove all remnants of your winter (or even spring sales), yes that includes any fluro card signs your staff made with good intentions (please ban all staff from making cheap and nasty card or photocopy/laminated signs in store! – The 80’s and 90’s are well over!) Clean up your shoe box stacks, sort out your thong racks, and fix up your signage – there’s still time to freshen up your imagery in store too.
First 5 meters
What is the plan for your prime real estate? What first impression will customers get when walking into your store? Your first impression is also your biggest opportunity. Do you have a merch table greeting would-be buyers? What brand(s), category or stories will you be telling?
You’re probably running out of time if you haven’t locked these in, but what is the window schedule for Oct – Jan? Does it tie in with the first 5 meter tables and have you got enough stock to support the ‘advertised lines.’ Hint: Find out what your brands are promoting through the summer and capitalize on their vast and broad reaching social media push.
Are you geared up? Make sure you start bolstering up the roster early and give yourself a little time to train up new (or younger) staff members. Are there any brand or category tutorials they can do, what’s new on Brandscope they can educated themselves on?
You might say it’s too late, I’ve already ordered everything and there is no open to buy budget left…
But are there any trends from spring that you should be taking note of? A hot streak perhaps – from a brand or category that you could capitalize on?
Also, have you reviewed your summer essential categories and devised a plan for product, promotion, merchandising, social media and storytelling for eyewear, sunscreen, thongs, beach towels, boardies and swim etc! Don’t forget your category specialist brands come into their own over seasons like this – it’s their time to shine, and your time to bank profits.
In this day and retail age we shouldn’t even be talking about merchandising. It’s a given that how you display product affects sell through, and yet so many retailers are still merchandising product likes its 1989. Use October to test areas in your store, move some categories around, experiment with new front facing styles and keep the store looking fresh. Customers start to come into store more regularly over the next few months looking for gifts and updating their own wardrobes – make sure their experience is fresh and new every time.
Have you got a plan? Posts without purpose don’t do you any good. How are you engaging with your customer? What needs are you filling for them? What stories are you going to tell? Straight product shots, while serve a purpose (new stock just landed) and have there place, wont get as much engagement as a behind the scene story – your brands and indeed your own store has so many of them, make sure you tell them!
Aside from these key areas, there are two other vital questions you need to ask yourself going into this summer.
What consumer experience are you creating this summer?
What will you do differently this summer?
Images from Amuse Society