Yes it’s true
we are just three short weeks out from the unofficial start of the holiday
shopping season, Black Friday. As expected the trend of advance Black Friday
sales has continued into this year with mega retailer Amazon starting their
holiday shopping event Countdown to Black Friday on November 1st and
running for a whopping 52 days! So as Amazon goes so does the rest of the
retail world but what does this push to an even earlier holiday shopping season
mean to you as an independent retailer? For starters it means that traditional
bump in sales that you have come to expect on Black Friday will be spread out
both before and after the big day so if you have not started prepping get
- Load your pipeline– What we mean by this is to start
getting your merchandise in now. Remember it takes 5 to 10 business days to
receive your order not to mention the few days it takes to process your order. Don’t
forget to keep the pipeline filled until the end of the holiday shopping season
don’t lose out on sales because your running low on inventory.
- Evaluate your current merchandise– So you’re looking over your existing
stock and wondering what to do to get it out the door, you want to make room
for new stuff and some of it may have been collecting some dust for a while. Here
is a suggestion; group your merchandise by priority: low, medium, high and
create a plan of action.
Low priority items Maybe you picked
up some winter coats back in June and now we are coming into peak demand
season. No reason to discount these or lose margin yet by adding these into a
store sale you have months to sell these add these to low priority.
Medium priority items would be end
of last season items or items older than 60 days consider creating a sale or
revise pricing in this case a reduced margin is better than carrying the
inventory over into the next year.
High priority items should be aging
inventory 90 days or older or holiday specific items. The dust collectors; mark
them down, create a sale and or offer free shipping to move them out. Holiday
specific items can be a bit tricky, there is a very small window of demand for
those xmas sweaters and holiday stockings; keep a careful eye on sales if by
the second week of December you are sitting on inventory mark it down and move
are essential– Are you stocked up on all of your essentials? Packing materials,
packing tape, printer labels? Running out of supplies in the middle of the
season can cost you big. If you can’t
ship because you’re out of padded envelopes you can rack up some severe penalties
from sites like Amazon or eBay for late shipments. It’s also a good time to
start thinking about upgrading some of that essential hardware like your
computer, printer or digital camera. Again
it’s about being prepared, if that printer is on its last legs or that camera
is just not up to your standards now is a good time to invest in upgrades and
get that tax deduction for tax season; sadly that’s coming too!
your inventory and the market– Monitoring your prices and the markets in which
you sell is essential for maximizing sales and profits. Don’t get caught up in
the battle for the buy button on Amazon too early, remember Amazon has put in
restrictions on new sellers so in theory the battle should be less fierce than
in previous years. Now because of these Amazon restrictions the opposite may be
the case, on other sites like eBay; new Amazon refugee sellers are popping up
on eBay so be careful not to lose sales because of undercutting.
- Manage your time– Are
you building some time into your normal daily schedule to deal with the
increased demand? If not do so. Maybe set aside some time in the morning and at
night to handle the essentials, in the morning handle the
packing on the slow days do some listings and in the evening review your sales,
make price adjustments and post some new items. The key is to create a schedule
that you can stick to, discipline is an essential key to success.