When business is booming you are often so busy keeping pace with consumer demand that you don’t have time for major projects and activities. This is where your off-season provides you with a great opportunity to undertake renovations, planning activities and market research.
Quiet times in business give you the chance to reassess your stocktaking procedure or other factors affecting inventory management during your busy times. You can optimise your off-season by undertaking the following tasks.
Administration and Marketing
Use the time to think creatively and get stuck into those behind-the-scene tasks that keep the business functioning well during peak demand. Undertake business planning and develop your next seasons’ marketing strategy.
Revamp your website and engage with customers through the various social media channels to maintain consumer awareness in the off-season. Use this time to seek customer feedback to help with planning and marketing activities.
Look for ways to generate off-season excitement by creating events that generate interest during the slower months. This is an excellent time to target local customers through special deals, promotions and activities specific to the customers living in your immediate area.
Providing exclusive offers and discounts to locals can encourage their support and goodwill while providing an opportunity to clear inventory stock and generate some revenue.
A seasonal business presents unique challenges and truly seasonal businesses are often faced with generating a year worth of revenue in a few months of peak demand. Assess all the factors affecting inventory management in your business, from forecasting and supply chain management, to simply optimising your retail space.
The factors affecting inventory management are not limited to the procurement of inventory stock, storage or shipping activities. Use your down time to rearrange store layouts and better present merchandise.
Invest in equipment that allows you to show off your inventory stock through improved visual merchandising. Ensure popular items are easily accessible and that you have sufficient storage of these popular items in handy locations.
In this era of a global market place you can sell goods to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Off-season in your location might corresponds with the high season somewhere else. This is particularly true if your business is oriented to weather-based seasons. Do you offer products for cold climates or winter pursuits? If summer is your slow season locally, look for international markets that are experiencing winter. Likewise, if your peak demand is in the summer months, use the winter slump to seek out markets and exploit the summer season elsewhere. For example, if you’re selling ski gear in the Northern Hemisphere, your peak season might be in the winter months of December, January and February. You can also capitalise off the Southern Hemisphere’s winter season in June, July and August. Maximising both periods is definitely better than just selling three months out of the year!
Use e-commerce platforms to expand your market. E-commerce software enables you to rid yourself of any surplus inventory stock and can be used to foster demand through limited offers and scarcity promotions. For example, with the capacity to manage stock in real time you can promote limited availability at a special discounted price.
Think outside the season
Don’t wait until the cold sets in before attempting to establish a year-round customer base. There will always be peaks and troughs in business but with a little creative thinking you can smooth the fluctuations of seasonal demand. Focus marketing activities toward overseas consumers and set the groundwork early through targeted online advertising and by building relationships with regulars.