Before you go to the Dallas or Las Vegas Market, you need a shopping list. Denis Caldora explains How To Maximize Your Marketing Dollar.
- Make a List
You need to know what you have on display, and what is in stock, so you can show complete styles that tell a story. In these hard times, no one can afford to make mistakes. We need to make every dollar work for us. Just like grocery shopping, when you go without a plan or deviate off your list, you bring home a bunch of stuff you didn’t need. Being a great buyer is about knowing what the trends are plus what is selling in your showroom.
If one of six sets of wall lights isn’t selling well, now is the time to find a better product at market that will add some punch to the whole section.
- Take Photos
The best reminders are visual ones. Photograph all of your displays so that you know what you have now, how the presentation looks, and what it lacks. This way, when you are looking at new products, you can decide to give the display more oomph by either replacing a lower-performing fixture or by adding a piece that gives the surrounding fixtures a fresh look.
- Get Tough on Non-Performers
In department stores, within one month they recognize which items are moving and which aren’t. When items aren’t selling after 30 to 40 days or so, they start marking them down about 20 percent. Sometimes at a better price, merchandise that hasn’t moved might suddenly seem more attractive to the consumer.
Move out these poor sellers to make room for the market purchases. Don’t slap a “Sale” sign on them; mark them as “Special Value.” The word Sale is overused and has no meaning anymore. You can tell customers that you bought a lot of this style and therefore can offer it at a special price. A fixture that did not have appeal to your average customer might be good for the first-time home buyer who is looking for value. If you have products hanging around for six months that aren’t selling, your showroom will start looking dated.
If the “Special Value” pricing doesn’t work, take those fixtures off the floor and hold them for a twice yearly “blow-out” sale where you are offering them at cost or below cost. If you make the blow-out sale a special event, people will line up around the block. Time these sales before your next buying trip – for example, hold one in October or November before the holidays (so you’ll have more cash in Dallas) and then in late April or May as a “Mother’s Day Blow Out” in appreciation of all the wonderful mothers out there before the June market.
Dealers have to realize that they’re setting the trends for their area. When you bring in a new style, have enough of it to make a statement and support the display with visuals (photographs of room settings) so that the customer understands how it fits in with their décor.