Discounting stock for the wrong reasons will cost your business dearly. In fact, without a strategy in place, sales can even be dangerous to your business: lowering your Average Sales Price (ASP) and reducing overall profits. To maximise the opportunities of a sale, retailers need clear objectives, says Phil Barnard.
Some might say that you don’t need a reason for a sale. We know customers love a bargain, (who doesn’t?), and sales are something most retailers do intermittently throughout the year. However, sales need to be planned as part of your business strategy, and with specific reasons in mind. Putting on a sale because ‘it’s that time of year’, could have a negative effect on your bottom line.
So how can you ensure your sale will bring the maximum benefits to your business?
Firstly, you need a clear-cut method of determining which stock items to discount or discontinue. Use your stock management system, or EPOS, to identify which products and categories are selling slowly, or which have become obsolete.
It’s in the Timing
Sales work best if they’re unexpected to avoid customers anticipating them and holding out for cheaper purchases. At this time of year, a small sale of, say 25-50 items over the course of one weekend would work best.
There are many reasons for putting on a sale, but here are 3 of the most common factors:
There’s a two-fold reason to clear-down stock. Firstly, to make space for the new season’s arrivals: a cluttered shop will degrade the overall look and appeal of the customer experience and make the retailer look disorganised.
Then, of course, there’s the genuine business need to get cash back into the bank, which can be liquidated, and reinvested in new product launches.
The way to overcome these end-of-season pitfalls is to make good use of your monthly stock turn reports, which a good EPOS system should produce. These identify products that are either overstocked, or not selling through fast enough. Better to recognise them early, rather than at the end of the season when there are less golfers out on the course, and in the shop.
Sometimes, an item which has proven successful in previous years, may start to lag behind other items. It’s taking up wall space so don’t hang on in the hope that it will suddenly turn around.
Plan promotional activity to resolve the problem as soon as it’s flagged-up in the reports. These could include:
- Discounts: percentage, or money-off
- Linked offers: Buy one get one free / Buy one get one half price (for example)
- Bundling: “Free pair of gloves for every club purchased”
- Increase Foot Fall
So, the shop’s looking great, the merchandise is on-trend, the sales team is incentivised and yet, sales are disappointing. There’s just one element missing – the level of foot fall: customers in the shop.
This is one of the most important metrics for retailers. It’s simply the number of people entering the shop. So, if footfall is down, it’s time to do something about it. Try:
- Promotions. Get your marketing hat on to ensure your clearance sale is being advertised via social media, posters and emails
- Running an event appropriate to the time of year. Ask a supplier to help support your event with display materials
- Attract New Customers
Sales are a great way for people to access your products at a lower price point and can be used to attract people who have never bought from you before.
As a retailer, you want to offer a good product range, combined with a great shopping experience, to ensure the first-timers become regular visitors at the normal prices.
The traffic light system within Crossover’s leading epos system, XPOS, has an easy-to-use ‘margin indicator’, ensuring you don’t discount at a loss. For profitable sales and retail success all year round, call us on 01454 418395 crossovertec.co.uk