Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More learnings from the sale

Here are some more learning from the sale. If you want to read more about the sale then go here.

  • When you do something like this be prepared to give up a lot of things that you would have done otherwise. During the Christmas sale we had to give up all the preparation for Christmas because we were busy with the sale. You will have to be present from morning to evening at the business doing sales and many a time you will have to spend the night doing strategy or marketing - so you pretty much don't get time to do much other than the sale.
  • There will be times of insecurity and doubts. It is important at these times to back yourself on what you planned and believe that it will work. You should not let your shoulders drop. At these times it is important to evaluate and change direction if needed but these changes have to be subtle and small. If the change in direction is too big then you might lose focus.
  • Have different people to do sales and marketing. Since we were only 2 of us to look after sales, marketing and a home (we have a 2 yr old) we found that since we were doing sales the whole day, marketing was effected and if we were doing marketing then it was not possible to do much sales. So its important to have someone strong in sales and marketing looking at each one of those tasks full time.
  • Always remember that there will be defective products and damaged items. You will also have to put items on display which cannot be sold at full price. You will need to estimate what is the percentage of these products and you will have to make sure that you take this into consideration when you decide on the price.
  • Be prepared to repackage and change your product presentation in the middle of the sale. What we realised is that a lot of people who came in to buy did not know much about Christmas trees so it was easier to sell them a complete tree set (tree, ornaments, lights) rather than have them choose the ornaments themselves. So we broke up the sets of ornaments that were there and made our own sets mixing up all the ornaments. This was one of our hottest selling items.
  • If the item that you are selling are reusable and not perishable then be prepared that you are not going to get repeat customers for the same product. In last years sale we had a lot of people who bought Christmas trees but this year very few people came back and bought the same. So if you have products that are non perishable then make sure that you have something new for the new customers. So this year we had nativity sets and wreaths which were lapped up quite quickly.
  • One of the things that you need to do if you have a lot of stock is that you need to make some bulk sales in order to move the stock. We decorated a couple of offices and so were able to move a lot of our stock there. You will not get as much money as a retail customer but at least you will be able to move the stock. Also look at selling to other retailers so that you minimize the risk of being stuck with stock that cannot be sold. It is especially essential to do this if you have products that are season driven. In our case there is nothing we can do with our remaining stock till next Christmas.
  • You need to enjoy what you are doing. It is hard work. You have to believe in yourself and back your instincts.

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