Posted on | December 3, 2013
Written by | Brian D. Rosen
Fellow Beverage Retailers, it is here: THE HOLIDAYS. This is the time of year when 10 months of mistakes, over-buys, merchandising errors and breakage can all come back to us in profit. For six short weeks we collectively forget all the pain of January-March. We forget it all for the promise of the “season” This is the time of the year when the phrase, “After the 1st” is universally known as the ultimate push off.
It used to be that in the old days, circa 2000, you just need to make it to November and then you would basically be all set to have a profitable shopping season. Not true anymore. Now, circa 2013, you need to be savvy, e-competent and resourceful to make a good season. So, all that said, what is your plan?
If you are reading this in the 4th Quarter, then you, I am sure, have done the work in July to be prepared for season. If you have not, then follow these easy recommendations to get up to speed quickly and profitably.
1) Look at bottom 200 SKUs in your inventory and begin to create gift “kits” to expel them from inventory. Pair a red and white wine together, make them to move and turn that dead SKU into cash. This is the opportunity. (Note: may not be legal in all states.)
2) Move your closeouts and high gross margin goods to the front of the store. Studies show that customers buy more at the start of a shopping trip than toward the end. Place the goods that want/ need to move near the front door.
3) Create a store experience. Customer spend jumps by 18% when store visit time lasts more than 14 minutes. If you are a destination store then this is no issue; if you are a quick-trip store then this should absolutely be a goal.
4) Tastings, tastings and more tastings (where legal). See Rule #3. Keep them in store, keep them engaged and happy.
5) Be social. I am talking virtual. Use the networks, a lot! Free, easy and effective.
As beverage retailers, we have a small window to generate cash flow for early Quarter 1, 2014. How we as a group approach the holiday will show itself in strength and prosperity in the coming year.
What do I know? Well, I ran the nation’s largest wine retailer for years and then became a partner at the nation’s largest retail consulting practice. So, experience aside, I know the pain, and reward, of being a beverage retailer in today’s world, and I am here to help.
Brian D Rosen