At this time of year parents are thinking about (or maybe dreading) the long summer break ahead but also planning ‘back to school’ preparations ahead of the rush. Apart from the back to school shopping panic, there are many other major shopping days throughout the year that will have a huge effect on your retailers.
As a brand or wholesaler, how can you plan ahead and help your customers be more prepared for each one? Retail audit software is vital in helping to ensure retailers have sufficient stock levels and more.
Key points to consider before every major shopping day/season:
- Forecasting demand and setting goals - Data is what powers this exercise, so you should carefully look at historic data for every one of your customers, and consult with them (this is where your sales reps can come handy), while also considering changing consumer tastes.
- Manufacturing and distribution - consider your ability to meet demand from a manufacturing and supply chain perspective, and make sure you advise your customers on lead times, any new shipping options you can provide and cut-off dates, so they know when to submit orders.
- Marketing and sales activities - start working on trade promotions and marketing campaigns to your distribution partners and retailers. Don’t forget it’s not just about financial incentives. You should provide them with the tools to succeed, be that themed signage to use in the store, maybe special giveaways, suggestions for unique stand/storefront arrangements and so on.
Retail audit software is an indispensable tool for such activities as a structured audit cadence providing a wealth of data from the field, in support of your planning. It will also help you verify that the trade promotions and related in-store activities have been put in place.
During these shopping days, ensure you have the capability to monitor in-store inventory levels and quickly send additional products where and when retailers need them. Figure out which stores need more attention than others, so you can focus your efforts wherever they are directly needed.
If you’ve worked hard to make your products stand out at each event, you need to check your retailers are displaying your products as you requested and discounting products as agreed. With a retail audit app, merchandisers can check whether each store is in adherence with the agreed commercial contract.
They can use customized audit forms that capture any new info related to special shopping events. Furthermore, reports are easily accessed comprising all the data you need to see what your competitors are doing and how you measure up.
After each event is over, it will be all about analyzing the performance of your retailers, your campaigns, your field force effectiveness and so on.
So, which are the shopping days to be aware of?
1. Valentine’s Day - 14th February
Everyone loves a day of romance and everyone expects at least a card! Tempt your retailers by offering multiple levels/tiers of bundles – a cheap/good bundle, a more expensive/better one and another that is even more expensive/best.
2. Mother’s Day – 31st March
To be sure you capitalize on this you need to promote your deals as much as you can.
Use email marketing and utilize your social media accounts to make sure you're reaching the widest possible audience. Theme your B2B eCommerce portal in line with Mother’s Day to encourage retailers to buy.
3. Easter Weekend 19th April
Falling at the beginning of Spring, Easter weekend is dominated by Easter eggs and egg hunts. Win new customers with plenty of Easter-related social content. Have contests, giveaways and special promotions on your social media.
4. Father’s Day 16th June
Analyze order history to create personalized offers for specific retailers. Provide guides on how to present products on the shelves, in the shop window/store-front etc. These can be sent in advance of the holiday via emails, provided by reps visiting stores or shared on your B2B eCommerce website.
5. Back to School – August to early September
Brands and wholesalers can promote assortment bundles to increase sales volumes to their retailers such as a backpack, pencil case, pen, pencils, notebooks etc. all offered at a discount.
6. Halloween – 31st October
Halloween spending hit $9 billion in 2018 and is increasingly growing in financial importance year on year. Keep up with the competition by loading up your social media with scary snaps. Create merchandising collateral for your customers to help them sell in store – this could be brand/product/bundle specific promotions they can use in-store or even how-to guides for in-store and online merchandising.
7. Singles Day – 11th November
Singles day is a shopping holiday popular among young Chinese people that celebrate their pride in being single. The date, November 11th (11.11), was chosen because the number "1" resembles an individual who is alone. Like Cyber Monday (see below), what started as a celebration of online shopping primarily on Chinese marketplaces and online retailers (Alibaba, JD.com and many more), the holiday has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world.
8. Black Friday – 29th November
Black Friday is huge. In 2018 Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales, a growth of 23.6% year over year. Don’t miss out by writing Black Friday-related content for your blog, sending out topical emails well in advance, adding a countdown on your homepage telling retail buyers how long they’ve got until the big day and highlighting lead times and shipping options.
9. Cyber Monday - 2nd December
Cyber Monday was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. It was the biggest shopping day of the year in both 2017 and 2018, and nearly a third of shoppers begin Cyber Monday on the day before. Be prepared so you don’t miss out.
10. Christmas – 25th December
People prepare earlier and earlier for Christmas so make sure your retailers are ready for the Christmas rush. Christmas is typically the largest economic stimulus for many nations around the world as sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas. You can maximize sales with Christmas themed ads with strong CTA’s that will really draw in your customers. But plan ahead – at least 6 weeks before Christmas