Wow, it’s August already! It seems like only yesterday we were writing about how to manage inventory for the summer. In actuality, that article appeared on May 5th, a whole three months ago. In this business, time flies. As the dog days of summer are upon us, it isn’t too early to start taking a look at the future, and preparing your store for autumn.
Prepare For Seasonal Items
The majority of your inventory isn’t likely to change. Customers will still want Coca-Cola, lottery tickets, and potato chips. However, the changing season always bring in a host of themed options. Once you see the stores start stocking Halloween costumes, it’s about time you followed suit.
Pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors are always a popular selection as Halloween draws near. This often comes in the form of coffee, baked goods, and even seasonal beer offerings. Of course, partnering with a local bakery or brewery is always a good idea, if possible. Start the conversation now. September will be here before you know it.
Beyond the holiday-themed items, coffee in general is about to take an upswing in sales. Where hot coffee usually trends downward in the summer, the cold weather signals the unofficial start of coffee drinking weather. Prepare your coffee bar accordingly.
Speaking of Halloween….
The famous candy holiday isn’t just filled with fun. It’s filled with profits. Spending on Halloween candy in the US hit nearly three BILLION dollars last year, and we should expect a repeat in a couple of months. While it may be a little early to start stocking candy corn (is it ever too early for candy corn?), the time is rapidly approaching.
According to a study released last year by the National Confectioners Association, the preferred Halloween candy is chocolate. Lots of chocolate! Candy corn comes in second though, so maybe it isn’t too early after all?
Don’t Forget Back To School Promotions
September is right around the corner, and while it’s not “technically” autumn yet, just ask any schoolkid (or parents and teachers for that matter), whether or not it’s still “summer” when the school bells start ringing.
Teacher-specific gas/shopping cards. If you have teachers as customers, odds are your store is on their way to and from school. Give them a great reason to stop at your place, such as a special discount for teachers on coffee, gas, or other items.
Special discounts for students (with school ID). If the bell rings at 3pm and by 3:15pm your store isn’t swamped with students, give them a reason to stop in. Offer a discount on afterschool snacks, drinks, and even school supplies if you offer them.
Promote coffee/breakfast sales for commuting students, teachers, and parents. Again, if parents and teachers are stopping by your store, you’re on their way. Give them a reason to never go anywhere else with an attractive coffee and breakfast promotion, easily set up and managed with price book management.
Sponsor Homecoming. For many high schools, early September is homecoming week and there are many events to be had. From fairs to pep rallies, schools are often looking for local businesses to get involved by sponsoring the local team, donating concessions, etc. Start making calls now, because the school year will be here before you know it.
Look to the Past So You Don’t Fall Behind!
Halloween, back to school, cooler weather. There’s a lot going on once autumn rolls around. Make sure to check past sales reports and see what you did last year. What sold well? What promotions did you run? And keep an eye on the performance this year as well. Next autumn will be here before you know it!