We spend months prepping for our favorite holiday in adult, Valentine’s Day.
It’s the culmination of weeks of buying, receiving, decorating the store, staffing, inventory management and other duties.
Now what? It’s so important to manage this transition before we start hitting Pride season and a few other holidays along the way.
Don’t forget how hard your team has worked over the last few months. Most of your stores have been short-staffed, so a lot of your team members are wearing many hats — yourself included. Celebrate in a big way, giving everyone the credit that they deserve. Don’t think that you have a pizza party to celebrate Valentine’s Day and it’s over — you can continually celebrate those wins over the next few months. Rewarding your team for a month or two after Valentine’s Day can keep the momentum going in a big way. Have that traditional party but come up with some other fun ways to celebrate your team. If staffing allows, layer in some extra breaks, or offer coupons to leave early or a few hours of paid time off if possible. You know your team and what they like best; I’m just suggesting extending your normal celebratory period into the upcoming slow months.
Use this spring and summer to work with your favorite distributors and manufacturers to set up some fun sales contests to rally those post-Valentine’s Day sales. You don’t need to have all the ideas or do the hard work. Most of us have programs in place to easily implement fun and successful store contests without a lot of work. It’s a great way to incentivize people without spending any of your own money. New products are coming out; setting up contests for associates to get their hands on those new items is a total win-win for everyone. Bingo is a fun way to implement a simple contest for prizes or cash. Set up a few spiffs on your top-sellers, and a few slower items to see if you can move some product. Remember, contests aren’t meant to be difficult or add a ton of work to your daily reporting. If tracking spiffs is difficult, pick something that works for you. You aren’t limited to a few options. As a manufacturer, we can come up with a way to support you without adding a ton to your daily workload.
Now is the time to evaluate your sales floor and mix it up a bit. Freshness on the sales floor keeps your regular customers feeling like they always have something new to shop. Keep those solid top-sellers that perform well for you, but give up that bottom 20% and try some new product strategies. January typically comes with a lot of product releases, so you have options! Don’t be afraid to ask for samples to check out some of the latest and greatest. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group Pleasure Professionals Place, you should do so. It’s a great resource that you can use to learn about new products, as well as inquire how items perform for other retailers, and stay on top of new releases. It’s an excellent source to connect with product and people. XBIZ also features a lot of product reviews on new items; check out the back of the magazine or daily e-blasts for info on new releases.
We are about to have our first in-person trade show this month at Altitude in Las Vegas. There is going to be hugging, and a lot of it! But there will also be so many new products to see. Think about it: there hasn’t been a live trade show product launch in over two years. Take your time and make appointments to meet with people. There are three full days to walk the show and meet with people, so you have plenty of time to do both. There are also a lot of promotions during the show, and unless you meet and speak with everyone, you won’t know what kind of deals are out there.
One of the things I love most about Valentine’s Day in retail is how much people decorate and brighten their stores to celebrate the holiday. Keep this tradition going year-round. Think about how motivating and pleasant it was to see everything decorated. The Dollar Store or Amazon have such inexpensive décor to choose from. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but just to see an environment blooming with color around spring is a vivid motivator to shop more. So many toys are coming in new and fun colors, it makes a great impact when you do displays to celebrate these options.
Hopefully a few of these ideas will help resonate in your store and give you some new perspective on old ideas. There is no perfect answer in retail, but having a plan of action is the first way to accomplish big goals. Make this typical slow season one of your busiest by implementing some of these tools.