Sales Methods: All in the Timing

Sales Methods: All in the Timing

Store owners use promotional tools to get the edge on their competitors. In today's volatile economy, changes in consumer behavior and attitudes, the impact of product performance, and increases in branding, and the importance of distribution channels all combine to make the crafting an overall sales strategy a real challenge.

To make the job easier, ask yourself the following – What vehicles make the most sense to promote your products, yet are consistent with the marketing image you want to project? Timing is important, so recognize specific holidays or events; use sales discounts as weekend specials; and try the "product of the month" approach. Take a look at more typical promotions:

  • Theme sales encourage consumers to purchase specific products for specific celebrations or events. Inventory sales methods often take advantage of various holidays and events that occur throughout the year, such as Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), marking the official start of the holiday gift-buying frenzy. Back-to-school sales and Mother's Day sales focus on certain inventory that appeal to those events.

    Historically, Memorial Day tends to be a big sales weekend for a handful of categories like summer clothes, home furnishings and seasonal outdoor merchandise, including patio furniture, garden and grilling products.

  • Loss leaders are goods or services offered at deep discounts (generally below cost) in order to entice customers from competitors. If your inventory isn't moving, for example, or if you're overstocked on a particular item, a loss leader can move it. Cutting the price not only frees up shelf space and reduces inventory, it also increases cash flow. This strategy likewise assumes that through the smart use of loss leaders, a store owner can entice customers to purchase other merchandise.
  • Weekend sales are effective because they recognize that often, primary customers are employed, and tend to do most of their shopping on Saturday and Sunday. Moreover, some studies indicate that most retail revenue is generated on the weekends. Stores traditionally advertise these two or three day events during the prior week in newspapers, mailers, in-store and through e-mail. The idea is to give the discounted products plenty of advance promotion.
  • Product of the month sales highlight a specific item for a variety of reasons. Overstock, slow movers and products set for replacement (e.g. electronics, seasonal items, and fashion trends) keep inventory cycling through the system.
  • Retail discounts are offered to a market sector – senior citizens for instance – or for specific reasons, such as use of a store credit card. Senior discounts usually happen on fixed weekdays when sales are normally low. These discounts generally are applied in addition to any other advertised sale discount.

These days, a lot of people are struggling with less money to spend due to increases in basic expenses such as gasoline, food, property taxes and home insurance. Responsible retail owners can use the tools discussed here to make buying a bit easier for their customers – and stay solvent in the bargain.

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