The Opportunities and “How To” Dynamics of Seasonal Retail Merchandising

Modern retail merchandisers understand the seasonal retail calendar year is broken down into over four conventional seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). In actuality, the Wall Street Journal enumerates involving 13 to 20 seasons!

Even though it can be overwhelming to consider 13 to 20 merchandising turnovers, restocks, and resets, a much more proactive approach is to understand seasonal retail turnovers as events to emotionally connect with your clients, heighten brand awareness and create more persuasive sales opportunities.

Target embraces unconventional seasonal changes to keep things fresh, create excitement and get shoppers into stores. As an example,”Storage and Organization” and”Self-Improvement” season starts in January as Goal exhibits products that appeal to shoppers’ New Year’s resolutions to get fit and de-clutter.

Read our suggestions below for methods to utilize seasonal retail merchandising to interact with existing clients, reach out to lost clients, and excite new clients.

Know that the”seasons” that appeal to your clients

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What seasons are most likely to resonate with the consumers in your vertical?

Health and wellness retailers need to pay attention to both Cough, Cold, and Flu (Nov-Jan) in addition to Allergy (March-May) seasons and participate clients desperate for relief. QSRs and grocery retailers are able to benefit from playoff season (Jan-June) to catch some of their $14.8 billion buffs spend on Super Bowl parties or the 20 percent average rise in beer sales during March Madness. Spa retailers will need to be careful of Valentine’s (Feb) and Mother’s and Father’s days (May-June) but not discount Spring Break (Feb-May) and the pampering so many crave after a long winter is over (March-June). Alcoholic beverage retailers can capitalize on Wedding season (May-Aug) in addition to the Fall prevalence of craft beers during Octoberfest.

Host a pop-up

Retail pop-ups happen to be on trend for many years now and for good reason! Pop-ups provide retailers the chance to try something new and connect to clients without the dedication to a long-term rental.

Retailer Spirit Halloween only does pop-up shops for their Halloween product; they pop-up 1,200 stores year! Build-A-Bear takes advantage of this holiday travel season to fulfill their clients where they are by opening pop-ups in train stations, hotels and family-focused hotels .

Even though Halloween and the Holiday season is an exceptional time to sponsor a pop-up, the obvious seasons are a much greater chance since fewer retailers are capitalizing on people. This provides your brand the opportunity to garner additional attention.

Penguin Random House launched a pop-up bookshop in London for International Women’s Day showcasing their lifestyle branch, Penguin Living. The Like a Woman Bookshop featured a carefully curated stock to showcase names by female writers together with author appearances, workshops and story times for kids. The pop-up gained more than positive media, it brought those coveted socially aware millennial and Gen Z customers who favor brands who stand for something positive.

Want to optimize merchandising to your pop-up? Pop-up and Stand Out! Techniques to Maximize Pop-up Shop Merchandising by Kizer & Bender details best practices within this retail specialty.

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Create stores in Your stores

A store in a store is when you sponsor another merchant, brand or experience in your own stores. Kevin Marschall,Vice President in CBRE’s Retail Partnership says:”Done well, store-within-a-store is the proverbial win-win circumstance. The host merchant reduces payroll and unproductive stock when extracting value from under-monetized floor area. Halo advantages for the host include an improved brand image, an energized shop environment, and enhanced customer attraction.”

Another alternative is to host your own brand’s store in a store. Target touts its self-branded Wondershop as the client’s one-stop-shop for all holiday needs: presents, decorations and holiday-themed snacks and treats. This past year, Target took it a step further and provided gift personalization in 80 of the Wondershops, bringing a favorite online experience in-store. A store in a store helps focus your clients’ focus on these seasonal retail offerings with greater built-in margins.

Host an in-store occasion

Your seasonal retail displays are set up, shelves are full, signage and displays are fresh. Your shops are looking their best. It’s the best time to leverage that with an event!

“Effective in-store events engage customers,” observes Jacquie Young-Sterling, Manager of Customer Experience, Compliant IA. “Think about themed one-day sales and gifts with purchase. Support these efforts with committed charismatic employees on hand to interact with each and every client about the products that are featured.”

Inviting your loyal customers to an exclusive event will make them feel appreciated. This helps solidify them as brand ambassadors and creates brand loyalty. The perfect sort of event can reinforce brand awareness during what would otherwise be a slow sales period. As an example, jewelry shops see a pure uptick in sales during the spring as a result of Valentine Day and Mother’s Day. Summer may be a different story. To associate with the summer holiday season, Swarovski channelled summer holiday vibes for an exclusive roof-top celebration complete with a Swarovski popsicle stand, roller girls, DJs, and bespoke cocktails for their star and dedicated VIP clients.

Furthermore, events are an ideal way to reach out to new clients. Häagen-Dazs boasts brand recognition with both baby boomers and Gen X. With a new field of alcohol infused ice creams, Häagen-Dazs was anxious to court millennials. Taking advantage of the summer season and customer desire for cool treats, Nestlé launched Bär Häagen-Dazs within a trendy social club featuring ice cream tasting flights on gilded spoons. On weekend evenings the whole store transformed to a legal-drinking era bar complete with DJs and technical cocktails featuring Häagen-Dazs ice cream. The store, product demonstration, and weekend celebrations were created with social media in your mind: a modern, luxurious experience ideal for millennials to discuss on Instagram.

Take another suggestion from Jacquie and make”a curated, photographable area to lure clients and influencers to discuss your event on their sites, Instagram and other social networking platforms. This can help create organic consciousness of the new product but also FOMO — a sense of urgency to come into shops quickly or overlook.”

You may further use social media to assist your event gain traction by inviting local influencers. Coupling unique content with influencers enabled Häagen-Dazs to garner over 12 million impressions.

Lastly, to take advantage of your event, Jacquie urges”requesting customers to join your mailing lists and cite that the occasion on social media for an opportunity to win an in-store credit. These strategies will ensure your seasonal retail occasion has client reach well beyond only the times the event is occurring.”

Provide helpful, personalized solutions

Think beyond gift-wrapping services. Nordstrom relishes making their customers feel cared for and streamlining the purchase experience. Nordstrom lately embraced 3D foot-scanning sizer technologies to recognize a client’s unique fit requirements (e.g. flat arch, narrow foot). Employees use this information to remove ill-fitting alternatives and steer clients toward the ideal brand for their footwear needs.

Knowing people are anxious to get outside during the summer season, the two Home Depot and Lowes provide free meeting for grill purchases. Most are ready for pick-up the exact same day. Retailer Athleta not only provides free in-store adjustments, clients can have a complimentary exercise class while they wait.

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Support your employees

Your employees are one of the greatest drivers of retail productivity. Miscommunication with your store workers can easily derail your seasonal merchandising efforts. Seasonal merchandising is time sensitive, and overlooking screens, incorrect pricing, and out-of-stocks can cost up to 25 percent of your complete campaign revenue.

Retail expert Francesca Nicasio urges,”As much as possible, stick to a single communication platform when disseminating critical information.” Select a platform that will let you distribute pertinent training material, merchandising programs, set tasks, conversation securely and have checklists for assessing merchandising execution. Using a system to keep everyone in sync reduces uncertainty and enables your employees to perform merchandising tasks effectively.

Your seasonal merchandising program may run just a few weeks (or even a couple of times ), but the effort is well worth the payoff with year-round advantages. Both conventional and unconventional”seasons” give you the chance to create instore excitement and reinforce product and brand awareness. This all leads to successful sales opportunities.