Extending the season
By Petey Fleischut, Casual Marketplace, Hockessin, Del. -- Casual Living, 9/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
September is upon us and as retailers we seem so conditioned that the season is coming to an end. Contrary to that belief, this is the time to shine as a specialty business.
Weather continues to be surprisingly favorable, children are in school and mothers are free to shop easier. Don't ignore the fact that all major chain stores are out of the casual furniture business for the year.
Re-merchandise your showroom with an influence of fall throughout. Re-dress table settings to create a fresh fall atmosphere, linens included. Create vignettes not seen earlier in the season. Invest in fall-related home accessory and outdoor product.
Fire pits should be at the top of the list — torches, chimineas and fireplaces, too. Offer a special promotion containing a fire pit and a set of furniture you are hoping to exclude from your inventory for 2007. Customers have difficulty expanding their vision and need for outdoor living, so be their guide. Sell what you believe.
When your staff asks how low do you want to go, tell them, "I am where I want to be in margin on my floor. You may sell your customer a fall accessory at a special promotion."
Perhaps offer free delivery for a limited distance or special financing limited by dollars of sale. Schedule a barbecue cookout providing food and drinks in order to promote your grill or Big Green Egg business. Advertise special promotions on accessory items combining offers that will provoke interest in the minds of your customers. Combine the sale of a BBQ or Big Green Egg with a set of furniture. Make it an offer worth talking about.
Whatever you decide to promote, know your ultimate goal is to create excitement to extend your selling season.
Fall means football. Invite your customers, through advertising, to your designated media area with a wide screen TV and comfortable seating in an appropriate area of the store. Remember: Wives shop while husbands watch.
Advertising should be at the top of your list at this time. Don't allow your customers to forget about you. Remind them you will always be there for them.