Being a seasonal retailer can be a tough gig – how do you manage to stay relevant when summer is your busiest month, or you rely on winter to bring in the strongest profits? Truth be told, all retailers can suffer from slow cash flow from time to time, not just seasonal retailers. Luckily, there are ways to ensure a steady flow of shoppers all throughout the year.
Make hay while the sun shines
It’s common practice (and understandably so) for seasonal retailers to focus their attention on managing their store during the off-season rather than the peak season. Peak season is your key money-making season so it pays to put some extra effort into planning and management. Make sure you and your staff are ready for big turnovers, large shopper numbers and high demand for popular products by adding casual staff to the roster, increasing your product inventory and extending your opening hours to suit shopper needs.
Mix up your inventory
While you may be the go-to retailer for the highest quality skiing gear in Perisher Valley, come summertime you may find it tricky to move those expensive ski jackets. Selling only one line of products for only one season is not an ideal move for seasonal retailers as it limits your market and your prime selling months even more. If you are selling in a holiday hotspot such as Perisher Valley, it might be worthwhile exploring other inventory lines such as gifts and mementoes that will appeal to tourists visiting in summer. Another alternative is to create a sub-niche of your brand (selling summer clothing as opposed to only ski gear for example) to ensure you stay relevant and profitable for the whole year.
Location, location, location
If seasonality and location are your biggest retail obstacles, seeking out an additional retail location for the off-season is a worthwhile strategy. A supplementary location doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical one – you could opt to open an online store when the off-season starts and your shopper numbers start to decline. An online store can help beef up your shopper numbers during the off-season and is a great way to market to other geographical locations that are still in the peak season.
Create a 12-month marketing plan
Creating a 12-month marketing plan ahead of time will prepare your retail business for the inevitable slow months of the year. This foresight will give you a good idea of when business is likely to drop off and the steps you can put in place to make the most of the downtime, such as advertising online ahead of the off-season, creating promotions to increase shopper visits, and offering in-store incentives to stay relevant and profitable.
All that hard work is worth nothing if you’re not discoverable in the first place. With Store Discovery Optimisation stores, brands and other physical retail places can be found online for relevant searches to drive shopper visits. If you’re based in Sydney’s Bondi and stock Nike exercise gear, you want to appear up top on Google when shoppers in Bondi search for ‘running tights in Bondi’. This is the heart of SDO. Think of it as SEO for physical stores. Having your store or brand listed on comprehensive and SEO optimised store directories like Booodl is a great way to achieve this and be found.