Owners of seasonal businesses will know all too well the struggles that come with selling products and services which are only in high demand for short periods of times. You may own a jet ski rental company, or an e-commerce site that sells hunting accessories. Whatever your seasonal business, the off-season can be a real challenge to your bottom line.
In the following article, we look at some common issues seasonal businesses face during the off-season, and some tips to capitalise on the off-peak season!
Use the Downtime Wisely
While your business is experiencing a lull before the peak season, you need to ensure that you are being resourceful with your time. When the peak season finally does arrive, you will need all hands-on-deck in order to tend to all of your customers’ needs.
Because you will be so busy with front-of-house tasks, you will barely have any time to think about things like store presentation, marketing and other behind-the-scenes jobs like stock take. Our advice is to use this period of low demand to work on things like renovations and remerchandising.
Has your store been in dire need of a new coat of paint but you haven’t had the time? The slow period before the peak season is the ideal time to get this done – you may even want to consider closing the store for a day or two to give yourself plenty of time to get it looking perfect.
Another task that will be difficult to do during the peak season is remerchandising and rearranging the stores layout. It’s important that you refresh the store before the peak season swings around, because keeping the same old themes and displays year after year can put off customers. This is also about keeping up with trends – do some research and make sure any displays you use really showcase any items that you know will be in high demand.
You may be off-season in your primary location, but somewhere in the world your products will be in high demand. While you are experiencing a period of low demand before the peak season, you may want to consider capturing the international market through your online store, social media, discounts or free shipping offers.
If your products aren’t in high demand yet, customers will need an incentive to buy from you. For these purposes, you could offer discounts such as 2-for-1 deals, or a 50% off deal for the second product purchased. By doing this you will still be making money even during the off-peak season!
Get your inventory in order
Take advantage of the off-peak season to take stock of your inventory. You might be able to close the store for a day or two while you do a stock take. By preparing your inventory stock when business is quiet, you can hit the ground running when the peak period is in full swing!
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.