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We work in the off-season. How to boost sales in a downturn
06.05.2019 6013

We work in the off-season. How to boost sales in a downturn

In the process of collecting material for this book, Iya Imshinetskaya asked all of her friends and strangers businessmen the following questions: Does your business have a seasonal decline? How does a business feel it? How does he explain it, for what reasons? How does he fight with him if he fights? In addition, the author was looking for specific examples of dealing with a seasonal decline in open source sales. As a result, a very practical book was obtained, the material in which is classified by the “floors” of marketing and the information from which can be applied immediately after reading. A system of techniques has emerged that are now able to help cope with the seasonal “pit”. A distinctive feature of this book is that two businesses are taken as an example - one is b2b, the other is b2c with non-coincident seasonal cycles and each of the 28 techniques found by the author is illustrated by their example.

Iya Imshinetskaya Iya Imshinetskaya - Candidate of Philology, expert-technologist for systemic promotion, author of 10 books on promotion and advertising. More than 230 developed and successfully implemented promotion projects in 44 cities of Russia and the CIS. Work experience 20 years. iyapro@gmail.com www.iyapro.ru

What could be the reasons for seasonal sales drops?

The reasons for the occurrence of seasonal differences in sales in business can be different, some of them do not depend on us, and we can influence some. The list of reasons is as follows:

  • season, climatic and weather factors;
  • Holidays and calendar events
  • business activity (including dependence on the timing of payment of salaries in small cities or single-industry towns);
  • Mass vacation season
  • the impact of budgeting;
  • habits and stereotypes of the target audience.

How to determine - do you have seasonality or inept company management?

Of course, the shoe market lives by strict seasonality rules, depending on the vagaries of the weather, commodity circulation, revenue and profits, customer traffic and conversions depend. It often happens that inept managers skillfully cover up their professional miscalculations and wrong actions with the standard phrase "So it's not the season." Therefore, in a market that lives cyclically, by season, it is especially important and not easy to determine whether the low season is to blame for the fact that the store is in the red or a manager or manager with low qualifications. You can talk about the presence of seasonality if:

  • The opinions of customers, experts and competitors' experience show market stability. Everything is relatively stable on the market, life itself objectively tells you about it;
  • The results of each year from the last three years of your company’s work are growing. That is, at the end of the year, your indicators are improving;
  • fluctuations in the sales curve (ups and downs) are repeated every year at the same time and for at least three consecutive years.

If all this is about you, there is a seasonal factor. If not, consider whether you (or your employees) hired your company professionally.

What are the types of seasonality?

Tough seasonality - the difference between season and non-season sales reaches 100% (these are New Year decorations and Christmas decorations, “Valentines”). With severe seasonality, the intervention is in the vast majority of cases useless; demand falling to zero cannot be raised until the next season (Christmas, New Year, etc.).

Bright seasonality - the difference in sales at the recession and peak is 30-40%, we are talking about 80% of all seasonal cases. You can jump over such a hole in sales.

Moderate seasonality - fluctuations - 10-20%, do not cause significant harm to business, do not require serious intervention, but require only to take them into account in the annual planning of the company. If you know that in the fall you will have a small hole, then you simply plan the year differently.

When is it NOT NECESSARY to struggle with seasonality?

You do not need to deal with seasonality in the following cases:

  • it is too complicated: if you have the seasonality of production, not consumption, or the seasonality of consumption associated with objective reasons (season), or the seasonality is tough;
  • it is too costly: it’s expensive to retrain consumers, shape them and accustom them to new habits;
  • it is too risky: in the image sense as well. If during the off-season you have greatly reduced prices, you will receive a different audience than your usual one. And after the end of the low season it will be very difficult to explain to your regular customers that you are working for them, and not for those who came, seduced by very low prices;
  • the company found its annual optimum and in the season of minimum sales "sharpen the saw": because it still needs to be done. And in the high season, only the wasteful can "sharpen the saw". What does it mean to sharpen a saw? For example, to develop our own infrastructure, re-equip equipment, prepare an advertising campaign for the new season, work on the site, write articles - in a word, do everything that has accumulated over the year. Or train staff, improve service, establish software, set and solve creative problems, create ads, souvenirs; think over new sales channels, forms of sales, analyze competitors, enter fields, etc.

And here's what else you can do in the off-season (according to E. A. Skriptunov, the article “Seasonal sales declines”, published in the magazine “Sales Management”, No.9, 2017):

  • maintaining relationships with regular customers (calls, letters, exchange of information);
  • audit and "cleaning" of databases;
  • conducting an analysis of activities (for example, evaluating the effectiveness of various methods of advertising activity for a year);
  • systematization of the archive;
  • cleaning up papers, in the office;
  • revision of workflow and file system;
  • carrying out large inventories;
  • checking the knowledge of employees, conducting testing, certification;
  • safety compliance check;
  • replacement of hardware and software;
  • installation and training of new programs and work technologies;
  • audit of promotional materials, updating the structure and content of sites;
  • self-education, reading professional literature, attending professional events;
  • preparation of rational proposals, drawing up ideas for the development of the company.

The key question is: if it is NECESSARY to step up its activities in the low season, then HOW to do it?

One and the same problem can be solved in different ways.

Ways to combat the seasonal decline lie in all functional areas of the management system:

  • in frames;
  • communications;
  • supply;
  • logistics and transport;
  • production;
  • finance;
  • marketing.

Marketing has five floors, five “P” in its structure: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Personal. And each of them has its own tricks.

1. Product - the assortment features are actively involved: adjust the assortment, diversify in a connected and unconnected manner, release new items; focus on the win-win, the most tested and running items in the assortment, show the second (third) function of the product; Move less urgent and less profitable projects for the off-season.

2. Price - here the methods of dealing with seasonal sales declines are based on the possibilities of pricing policy:

  • create different price packages;
  • adjust the drop in demand with discounts and special rates;
  • make pre-sales.

3. Place - here the only trick - the creative use of distribution channels - allows you to go to the target audience, if she does not go to you. Therefore, the main task is to get as close to your target audience as possible.

4. Promotion - the most “populated” receptions floor. The marketing communications are included in the program of actions to reduce seasonal undersales:

  • expand the range of situations of use of the goods;
  • Encourage b2b customers to stock up before the high season at special prices or through a pre-season exclusive service program;
  • reorient to another segment;
  • create special low-season service offers (especially for regular customers);
  • create situational modification of the package;
  • enter the system of accumulative bonuses in the recession, which are exchanged for goods at peak (when they are especially needed and dear to those who have accumulated bonus points);
  • create special low-season training offers;
  • give gifts;
  • draw prize draws;
  • reduce promotion costs to a minimum;
  • remind Central Asia that she can buy a product for a special occasion;
  • use a partner’s resource;
  • create a point of interest;
  • Create a semi-cultural event and make it traditional off-season.

5. Personal - One of the main rules of all HR directors is: motivate staff to super work. How - using material or non-material motivation, or combining them - it's up to you.

This article was published in the 148 issue of the print version of the magazine.

In the process of collecting material for this book, Iya Imshinetskaya asked all of her friends and strangers businessmen the following questions: Does your business have a seasonal decline? How does a business feel it? How is he…
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