Is It Time For A Sale?

Summer isn’t over yet, but with two-thirds of summer’s holidays behind us, your sales may be starting to lag. As the weather is heating up, many will begin to see the year’s record high temperatures on the nightly news and less anglers on the water. Many retailers may be noticing a decrease in sales this time of year, or may just need to jumpstart their customer’s awareness that fish still bite in hot weather. Having a summer sale can easily solve this!

Is A Sale Right?
Short answer is yes; a sale that generates enough revenue to offset the reduced profit earned through your markdowns is always a great idea. Sales generate foot traffic in your store and clears out inventory that may just be collecting dust in your storage room. Fishing tackle has low profit margins to begin with; decreasing the costs of these items by having a sale may sound risky, but by selling inventory that has already been paid for and is still unsold from years past can offset this risk. An additional way to lessen a potential profit loss is to put items with the largest profit margins on sale in order to lure in customers. Many customers report purchasing non-sale items while shopping at such sales, due to the fact they need the non-sale item, or it was just convenient to purchase the item while they were in your store.

Preparing for the Masses
Hopefully your sale will bring increased traffic and revenue to your store. If it does not, then reconsider having a second sale. Increased store traffic means an increased need of employees, and the need for a cleaner, better-stocked store. If your store is seeing slower traffic through the heat of the summer days, put your employees’ idle hands to work cleaning and stocking the shelves. Find the leftover lures, hats, chairs, rod and reel combos from year’s past and get them displayed. Think of creative ways to display these holdovers from summers past. Create a dump bin for lures, or sealed grab bags where anglers won’t know what lures they are getting until they purchase a bag. Have fun with it; show your creative side and remember you’ve already paid for most of this; any money you earn from these sales is pure profit.

If your store has tight quarters, hold your sale under a tent in your parking lot (check local ordinances first). This is also a great way to promote your various tents you have for sale. If you are planning to hold your event outside, plan too for the safety of your customers and staff. Summer’s heat is not something to ignore – watch staff and customers alike for signs of heat stroke or difficulty in dealing with the temperature. Also, ensure that if the sale is being held in a parking lot that the sale tent area is safe from customers parking in your lot.

One other suggestion that works well for many retailers is to hold a giveaway during the sale. This always draws attention and lures in more customers. It is also a great opportunity for you to gather names and email addresses for use in your digital marketing campaigns. You can use this contact information for your newsletter or email blasts to promote upcoming sales and to invite those who have entered your giveaway to follow your store on social media. When picking an item to give away, work with your buyer reps and manufacturers to see if they can help lesson the expense on you. Many times they have budgets or promotional items set aside to assist retailers. Normally there is a limited supply of such items – if you miss out this year inquire when submissions are being received for such products next year.

Picking the Day
When you hold your sale is up to you, but the date should not just be chosen at random. If your town has a summer festival try to coordinate your sale with it. If you are a member of your local business group, see if fellow merchants would be interested in pulling together to have their sales on the same day or weekend. Not only will this boost your sales, but it will also show your investment back into the community, and you should notice an increase in local foot traffic. If your store is having an anniversary, you could also pick this date, just be sure to let customers know why the sale is taking place on that date. Americans love to celebrate anniversaries and seeing a local business that has remained open for so many years is not only a cause for celebration, it also gives your store more credibility.

A sale will only be successful if customers or potential customers know it is taking place. No matter if it is an annual sale, an anniversary sale or a community-wide sale, you need to get the word out to as many customers as possible. There are many advertising outlets available and you should use all of them. Your local newspaper is a great place to start – if you’re currently buying ad space in the paper, change out your ads to reflect the sale and be sure to mention key items that you will be featuring in the sale and what the marked down price or the percentage off will be. You should also capitalize on the digital marketing experience you have been working on. Promote your sale through your social media outlets and your website. The more excitement you can generate online about your sale, the more customers you should expect to see. It is important to remind your followers the day of the sale as well through your social media outlets that the sale is today and what you have for sale. Post photos of your sale items set up and ready for their browsing and buying pleasure; take a picture when the sale is crowded and remind people of your hours and create an urgency for them to come in before you sell out of certain products. The key is to make the event as big as possible and make them feel as though they need to attend.

Let the Fun Begin
No matter how many years you have held a sale, or the amount of planning you put into your sale, something will inevitably go wrong. Mr. Murphy loves to showcase his laws the more we plan for something special. You could be planning an outdoor sale only to see the summer’s drought come to an end on the morning of the sale with a weekend long deluge. This is where you need to have someone who is responsible only to the sale’s success on staff and in the store at all times during the sale. This way they can focus on the sale and make decisions without interrupting your focus from the regular business your shop has. This is especially important if you’re a known stop for local bait or last-minute supplies for anglers hitting the water on a weekend.

How many of you hold mid-summer or late-season sales to move inventory before your new shipments from ICAST start to roll in? Share your tips or what you have found to work with your fellow fishing tackle retailers on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group. Who knows, maybe you too will pick up a tip or two from a fellow retailer.