Your Biggest Retail Day of the Year
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Professional merchandising should play an important role in the overall success of your school. With the Christmas/Holiday season, you have the best opportunity of the year to sell merchandise. Your students, their friends and families are going to spend many thousands of dollars during the holiday season. You need to position yourself and your school(s) to be able to provide as many opportunities for these people as possible to purchases products and services from you.
It is during this time of year that you need to have the widest variety of materials available for your students to choose from. Remember that you have a relatively captive audience in your students. They are not usually able to go anywhere else to purchase the products that you have available through your school. Keep this in mind when your are developing your fall and winter lines of products that you will make available to your students.
Try to provide as much apparel and products with your name and logo on them as possible. If it comes with your name and logo on it, then your school is the only place that the item will be available. Also remember, when an item has your name and logo on it, it becomes a specialty item and then it has a greater potential value to the student.
Many retail stores make between 70 and 90% of their total annual profits during the Christmas holiday season. During much of this season, people are looking for opportunities to spend their money.
They will be much more open to suggestions than any other time of the year. You should be able to do three to five times your normal monthly merchandise volume during the holiday season. But, to do this you must start planning NOW!
You must begin planning now to make the holiday season a successful and highly profitable one. If you follow the guidelines for running a “Friends and Family Shopping Day” you should be able to have your most successful holiday season ever!
Decide today everything that you are going to make available to your students that will come with your logo on it. This includes shirts, hats, coats, watches, mugs, pens, clocks, backpacks, uniforms, safety equipment, etc.
Next, you need to decide what other items you want to make available. Some of the items you may want to stock a sample and others you may just want to have available through catalogue order. If you are going to do catalogue ordering, be sure that you order plenty of catalogues well in advance.
Once you have decided what you want to sell this season, you now need to decide what and how much of each item you are going to stock. In some cases you will only stock one sample or a sample of each size. In other cases you may want to stock a good number of certain items.
This would especially be true of some smaller items that you could use as ‘up sell’ items to fill out their buying list. Plus your shoppers could take these items with them immediately. Many times these smaller items will be impulse buy items. Example: mugs, water bottles, hand targets, pens, watches, etc.
Besides your regular stock of items that you have available, you should have a few items that are only available at the special shopping day. These can be purchased as special surprise gifts. You may also want to have a couple of unannounced specials available on that day to encourage additional purchases.
Don’t hesitate to come up with additional ideas to stimulate the desire to buy. Example: How about offering an additional special FREE gift if someone buys a big ticket item, like a stretching machine.
It is essential that you begin promoting your Christmas/Holiday items as early as possible. Remember, children begin planning what they want already in September and October. That is when you need to begin promoting the products that you have available and what they need to do get them.
If you are going to use catalogues, you need to get them out in early October. This will give the students an opportunity to put martial arts related items at the top of their list. Your pro-shop should be at its fullest by the beginning of October as well. Try to get all your samples in by the end of September and ready to be displayed by the beginning of October.
Try to be especially creative with your displays during this time of the year. You may also want to put up a special display in your front window for passersby. You will be amazed by the number of people who are drawn in by an exciting display, people who otherwise may have spent their money elsewhere.
We recommend that you give or send out copies of the “My Martial Arts Wish List” during the month of October.
You need to choose a day or evening in November to be your actual “Friends and Family Shopping Day.” We recommend a date between November 13th and the 22nd.
Remember, the day after Thanksgiving, the 24th, is typically the busiest shopping day of the season. You want togive the friends and families an opportunity to do their shopping at your school before
they do the rest of their shopping . On the evening or day that you choose to have the event, you may want to cancel classes on that day to emphasize the importance of the event for the students and their friends and families.
Try to make the shopping day/night a very special event by providing beverages and snacks for everyone that attends. Be sure to have enough staff on hand to help everyone. If you promote the event correctly, you should have an excellent response and you will need all the help you can get.
Also, don’t forget about selling upgrade and private lesson programs during this time.