A guest post by Isabella York
Within most any business, there is a peak and a slow season. The truth is that there are times when a customer wants to buy all of our stock, and a time when we just want to move units out of our storage space. When seasons and trends come to pass, so does the flow of customers.
If you have a business that is expected to make the lion’s share of sales over two months of every year, it is a constant marketing strategy game, getting creative with concepts and ways to use your products, and coming up with methods to stimulate profit for the whole year.
Here are a few things we need to note to keep our seasonal business thriving all year round:
Plan ahead: Kevin Fraley of Printworks talked to the Wells Fargo Business Insights Series about planning months, even years, in advance when it comes to business. Anticipation of the inflow of income during the season highs and the strategy to keep moving units in the slow seasons will ensure that the business stays active year round. Like the Boy Scouts, preparation in a seasonal business is the key to success.
Slash prices in the off season in a creative way: Offer a sale they can’t refuse, and make it interesting. Off season sales at unexpected times, like Christmas in July, when people are craving the chill and comfort of the holiday season, or Halloween costumes to celebrate an iconic horror movie’s redistribution in a digitally re-mastered version, are consistently popular and strike a happy image in the customer’s mind. Use popular television shows, movies or albums to tie in your stock, and hear the cash register ringing all year long
Manage your online reputation: These days, the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to market your company is to do it online. Create, manage and take care of your online reputation for an easy way to connect to the customer on a 24/7 basis. Create a fan page on Facebook and offer deals and steals on the page; connect with past and potential customers while on the site. Check online review sites and offer explanations to customer complaints on these review sites, as most of them give the merchant the option to do so.
Offer your business in a new light: Michael Jones of Chicago’s In Bloom Floral & Events knew his summer was going to be a hard one due to the seasonality of his flower shop, so he created another way of getting his customers inside his store during the off peak season. He opened up an art gallery in his store space, creating more interest in his other offerings by getting people inside to see his items. He drew them in using art, and showcased his flowers as well.
Ride the highs and the lows of your seasonal business by working the unexpected, and planning ahead. Creativity with a lot of planning will get you ahead, and thriving year round, all the whilekeeping your business in tune with the trends.
Isabella York has been in the business world her entire life. Having seen business cycles ebb and flow, she knows a thing or two about developing strategies for changing demands, however her job with a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees has catapulted this skill set to a new level.
Good article about the business sense and depth of buznomatical skills… appreciate it..
Planning ahead is the top and most important tool for a seasonal business to grow and thrive. For instance, if you have a flower shop, expect customers to flow beginning at February. Planning ahead of time will keep your flowers fresh and on-time for massive orders.
Also, have an advance order system. Call/contact your targeted or regular customers in advance and make them reserve flowers. This way, they’ll not crowd your store when the flower season comes.
Good points — thank you for sharing them. You’re right — when your window of opportunity is small and finite, you’d better be well prepared to drive right to and through it when it opens.
Do you use any special tools or websites to keep yourself this organized?