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Aliza Sherman is a new media entrepreneur, author, women's issues activist, and international speaker.

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Sales Methods: All in the Timing

Sales Methods: All in the Timing

Consumer behavior, product performance, branding and distribution channels all impact your sales strategy. To make your job easier, ask yourself what methods would best promote your products, yet are consistent with the marketing image you want to project.

Timing is important, so start by targeting specific holidays or events; use sales discounts as weekend specials; and try the "product of the month" approach. Take a look at more typical promotions:

  • Theme sales encourage consumers to purchase specific products for designated celebrations or events. These can occur throughout the year – Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), “back-to-school” and Mother's Day sales each focus on certain inventory that appeal to those events.

Historically, Memorial Day tends to be a big sales weekend for a handful of categories such as summer clothes, home furnishings and seasonal outdoor merchandise, including patio furniture, garden and grilling products.

  • Loss leaders are goods or services offered at deep discounts – generally below cost – in order to lure customers from competitors. If your inventory isn't moving, for example, or if you're overstocked on a particular item, a loss leader can move it. Cutting the price not only frees up shelf space and reduces inventory, it also increases cash flow. This strategy assumes that through the smart use of loss leaders, a store owner can entice customers to purchase other merchandise.
  • Weekend sales are effective because they recognize that often primary customers are employed, and tend to do most of their shopping on Saturday and Sunday. Moreover, some studies indicate that most retail revenue is generated on the weekends. Stores traditionally advertise these two or three day events during the prior week in newspapers, mailers, in-store and through email. The idea is to give the discounted products plenty of advance promotion.
  • Product of the month sales highlight a specific item for a variety of reasons. Overstock, slow movers and products set for replacement (e.g. electronics, seasonal items, and fashion trends) keep inventory cycling through the system.
  • Retail discounts target a market sector – senior citizens for instance – or recognize specific circumstances, such as use of a store credit card. Senior discounts usually happen on fixed weekdays when sales are normally low. These discounts generally apply despite other advertised sale discounts.

As a responsible retail owner, be good to your bottom line. Try the tools discussed here to make buying a bit easier for your customers – and make money, even on the bargain.