Making the Most of Seasonal Trade

seasonal_trade_imagesWhether you’re a bricks and mortar retailer, a pub, restaurant or market trader, you need to make the most of seasonal trade opportunities.

In addition, throw in major events in your locality and you should be able to capitalise on something all year round. However, you need to be ahead in your planning to make the most of the opportunities. For instance, we are at the height of our British summer (supposedly!!) but really, if you’re in retail or hospitality you should be well in to your Christmas planning now (please don’t groan, it’s really not that far away). For some, Christmas planning will all be pretty much done and dusted already. You should also be well ahead of the curve for events planned in your local area for Autumn and Winter.

Many car boot / market traders may pack up at the end of the summer season once the weather turns, but it’s likely that there will be Christmas or Winter fayres that are worth thinking about to bring in some extra income in the winter months.

So, if you’re ahead of the curve with everything planned, great, well done, you should be able to relax and start thinking about next Spring and Summer soon. If you’ve not got things sorted out for the next season yet, it’s time to get going. You need to look for those additional events that attract seasonal trade and start planning. Which events? How much stock? Do you need credit? Do you need storage? Do you need additional staff?

Whether you’re planning for the next 6 months or for summer next year, here are some things to think about.

1. Identify Additional Events
Look at local Tourist Information sites or similar to see what’s planned in the area and whether it’s appropriate to attend. There are likely to be a few major events a year, depending on the season.. Are your typical customers or clients likely to visit that event?

2. Stock
Image of Market Stall Christmas StockConsider the size of the event and likely footfall before ordering additional stock. Also consider what the impact is likely to be if something occurs that could result in far fewer numbers than expected. Is it stock that will last until the next seasonal specific event, e.g Christmas or can it be sold anyway in the following weeks or months?

3. Finance
If you’re planning for a big event, or seasonal market like the Christmas ones that seem to be getting larger and larger, you may need to sort out some short term finance to free up cash flow and allow you to get that additional stock.

4. Storage
This relates to stock. You may need to buy large amounts of additional stock or be able to get a better deal by buying a little more than you planned for. Do you have space to store it at your own premises? Stacking too high or squashing into small spaces can result in damage, which means unsold goods and ultimately, reduced profit. A self storage unit can be rented for a reasonable cost but make sure you check your agreement. If you need to store for longer than originally anticipated (see 2), your storage costs could go up. At Space Centre Self Storage we guarantee our prices for 12 months – not all providers are the same.

5. Additional Staff
If you’re expecting to be hugely busy, can you cope with your existing staffing levels? If you’re a market trader it’s likely to be just you and maybe one other. Are you likely to lose trade if you can’t keep up with the queues? Do you need an extra pair of hands and can you afford it?

6. Have a Plan
You need to make sure you plan. You don’t want to run out of stock, lose trade, or be left with large amounts of stock that can’t be sold at a later date. If you’ve been trading a while, the previous years’ seasonal trade will give you an indication of stock requirements and pricing. But for occasion specific events that don’t come around often, know your pricing model and plan effectively to move your stock to avoid losing money.

If you need additional seasonal or event specific storage for your stock, you can find our pricing on our website. Alternatively, if you’re not sure what you need, give us ring and we can advise you.

Have you ever had a stock disaster or success? Planned brilliantly and sold out, or been left with stock you can’t sell? Why not share your tips?