Coordinating your seasonal merchandise

20Sep10

As I walked into the grocery store on Saturday, I immediately noticed a proliferation of fall merchandise. Between the large displays of pumpkins and the fall colored flowers, it was quite clear that the summer items had started making way for fall products.

As luck would have it, I planned on buying some canned pumpkin that day. With fall merchandise abounding, I figured it would be a cinch to locate canned pumpkin and other seasonal items. But after looking all over and finally asking a store employee, I learned that they hadn’t received any canned pumpkin yet. What’s more, they had no idea when it would arrive, aside from the generic answer of “soon”.

This brings me to a seemingly obvious recommendation. If you’re going to make the effort to carry seasonal merchandise, you should place all of those items on the sales floor at the same time. Otherwise, the presence of a few seasonal products (like pumpkins, in my case) makes customers expect that you’ll have all the other seasonal products (like canned pumpkin) available, as well.

How do you coordinate the seasonal products? Either order all the inventory to arrive around the same time, or hold the first few items in the back room until the other products arrive. Sure, you might miss out on a few early sales. But there’s a lot of value in introducing the full seasonal assortment at once. Customers will recognize that you’re a one stop shop for their seasonal needs, and will respond more favorably to seasonal messaging that highlights relevant cross-sells and up-sells. Taken together, these benefits should more than outweigh the small effort that it takes to kick the season off right.



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