Capitalising on quiet periods: tips for builders’ merchants and DIY stores

Now that the Christmas rush is over and the January sales are a distant memory, many traders will find that the sales figures in their retail software aren’t looking as rosy as they once were.

25th January 2016

retail softwareNow that the Christmas rush is over and the January sales are a distant memory, many traders will find that the sales figures in their retail software aren’t looking as rosy as they once were. In many cases these quiet periods aren’t a sign of decline, but a predictable seasonal variation that takes place every year. Despite the lack of sales, quiet periods can be used productively by businesses. Instead of twiddling your thumbs during the next lull in sales, here’s how to use the time rather more effectively.

Plan and strategies

Use your spare time to formulate those plans you always wished you’d had in place. Review your store layout, rethink your marketing strategy and evaluate the software and technology your business uses. Take another look at financial reports to assess sales of different product lines. Consider expanding product lines or cutting back on slow sellers.

You may also wish to use your spare time to look again at a project that you’d put on hold, whether it’s expanding to a new town, changing premises or redecorating your shop front. You may not have another quiet period this year, so if you don’t use it to make progress on big projects, then you might as well cancel them altogether.

Spring cleaning

A spring clean of your shop is always a good idea, particularly if you’ve been putting off giving certain areas of the premises a deep clean. However, your spring clean should extend online, too. Tidying up your digital presence is a task that’s all too easy to put off. Use your downtime to take a look at your website and social media channels and refresh them with content. Don’t forgot to remove any out-of-date information and adjust details such as opening hours and staff profiles where necessary.

Seasonal success?

Take a good look back through your books to see how your business fared during traditionally busy periods in your sector. Did your seasonal discounts and promotions make a satisfactory return? Were your marketing campaigns as successful as you’d hoped? Assess what worked and what didn’t. Next, start looking ahead to upcoming events and busy periods and consider how to adjust last year’s strategy based on your evaluation. With this extra preparation you can maximise the revenue you gain during these all-important periods.

Marketing

Marketing is seen by some small businesses as an unnecessary drain on resources that rarely draws in the money that was spent on it. However, we’d argue that marketing is a valuable source of revenue – but only when planned and implemented well. Every marketing campaign you carry out must have a clear aim, a means by which to measure its success (or failure), and a sound strategy for reaching the target market. Start drafting future marketing campaigns now so that they’re ready to implement quickly (with a few tweaks) when the season rolls around.

If you aren’t using retail management software, some of the steps above might not be achievable, or could take days to complete. If you’re after accurate, actionable business data, consider upgrading to specialist accounting software for merchants. Give us a call to learn more.  

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