5 Questions to Ask Yourself After the Back-to-School Season and Before the Holidays Hit

Kids are back in school and brands are analyzing their back-to-school sales while getting ready for the upcoming holiday season. For brands and retailers selling products like pencils, backpacks, and clothes this season can be extremely lucrative. However, to claim a piece of the almost $27.6 billion in sales the back-to-school season generates each year, businesses must be competitive and flexible.

As you look back on your sales ask yourself these 5 questions and consider these steps to grow your sales for the upcoming holiday season.

1. Did you meet your goals?

Look at what your goals were and see how your sales performed against them. Hopefully, you exceeded your goals but whether you did or did not, you can’t afford to be complacent and risk your competition outpacing you.

Make your goals aspirational but realistic by basing them on past performance and a well-thought-out sales funnel with realistic conversion rates.

2. What are your competitors doing?

Performing a competitive analysis is one of the best ways to make sure you’re aware (and hopefully ahead) of what the competition is doing. Look at what they’re doing versus what you’re doing and funnel your resources into promoting what differentiates you from everyone else. Don’t copy the competition – out think them.

Benchmark your past and current sales against your competitors. If you can’t find exact information, look at publically-traded company’s 10Ks and retail industry reports. Examine their marketing tactics, their digital presence, the technological tools they use, and whenever possible visit their physical displays. Finally, If you’re not already, consider adding visual merchandising into your marketing strategy.

3. What’s in your toolbelt?

Take a look at the tools in your arsenal. Examine everything from your CRM system to your inventory management software to see if you’re utilizing your existing tools to their full potential. Make sure you have as much data entered as possible to be able to transform it into actionable insights. Talk to your software providers to see if there are updates or areas you’re not utilizing that could improve your performance without adding cost or time.

However, be wary of relying on technology alone to increase your sales.

4. Who are you partnering with?

Your partnerships are the most important resource you have. Are your suppliers, supply chain, and sales firms performing as you hoped? Providing clear instructions and expectations to all of your partners from the beginning as well as communicating regularly will help make sure everything is on track.

 Also, ask your partners regularly about what they’re seeing, they will have a different perspective than you and may be able to add value beyond what’s in your contract.

5. What happened to your products once they were at the retailer?

And last but certainly not least, you’ll want to take a look at what actually happened to your products once they were in the store. Were they set on time? Did you encounter multiple out of stocks? How many products did you have to markdown?

The back-to-school season is a great time to practice your retail strategy for the holidays as 71% of back-to-school shoppers shop in-store. However, you need to do more than just get your items to the store. You need to check in to make sure things are functioning as they should and your products are being executed properly.

After all, if your products aren’t set on time or in stock, you won’t make sales. If you’re not already, consider partnering with a retail merchandiser. They specialize in making sure your products are placed correctly and in stock.

Use this checklist to make sure the holiday season goes off without a hitch.

❏    Make sure holiday displays get to the selling floor and are fully stocked.

❏    Keep displays and shelves full during heavy-traffic periods.

❏    Utilize instant redeemable coupons (IRCs) to help your product stand out or to help sell down lump inventory to reduce markdowns at the end of the season.

❏    Take a physical inventory count prior to the holiday rush to make sure inventory is flowing to the stores and meeting the demand.

Small changes in your retail strategy can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Make sure you’re not missing out on sales by being thorough in your analysis, by establishing solid partnerships, and by staying on top of what happens to your products once they’re at the retail location.

If you’re interested in partnering with a retail merchandiser to make sure your products are set correctly, in stock, and much more contact Retail Merchandising Services today. To talk to one of our experts today by calling 877.248.5429 or emailing us at info@rmservicing.com.