How to Navigate the Off-Season Post-pandemic
Since last September, the pandemic-related sales momentum has evaporated. Most beauty supply stores are now struggling to cope with this unprecedented off-season with events and promotions. Here, we wanted to assist our readers with proven-to-work strategies of beauty supply events and promotions.
1. Clearing the inventory is a must-do during off seasons
Because you have a less number of customers, you have more time to clear the inventory. It’s a great time you do long overdue cleaning, inventory, and reorganization of the store. When it comes to items that sit in the storage a long time, clearance is the way to go. When they occupy your storage room, you lose an opportunity to have new products that can generate sales. If an item goes unsold for a long time, you can sell them at a break-even price or even lower for a long-term benefit. Nonetheless, many beauty supply owners are hesitant when it comes to selling goods at loss. While nobody wants to lose money, you need to change your perspective. They can be great loss leaders to generate revenue by attracting customers.
A beauty supply store in Philadelphia featured in the pictures below is attracting customers with clearance sales during off seasons. They place their old inventory on a side of their outside parking lot and sell them at 50% or more off during a slow season. Manager J who planned this clearance event said, “when the business is slow, we sell items sitting in the inventory at break-even prices or even less, to clear the inventory and to attract customers to our store.” According to J, “while being a clearance event for some items, it is also a promotional event for the rest of the items.” The secret of successful off-season lies in bringing customers to the store. It is a rare event that a customer enters a store and exits empty-handed, so bringing a customer is very important.
2. Shortcut to generate revenue—stock seasonal items one-step ahead
You want to get it ready for seasonal demands ahead of the season. Lately, people often experience out-of-season cold weathers. In these days, you really want to show your customers that your store is already ready for upcoming seasons. For chemicals, oils sell in Summer and lotions in Winter. You should get appropriate items in ready for sale. When you try to find seasonal items only after the cold weather arrives, you will like experience backorders. Sales associate K in the accessory market said, “not many people place orders for seasonal items before the season starts.” “Ironically, wholesalers likely run out of seasonal items as the season approaches,” said K. Moreover, the supply chain disruption of recent makes it more important to place orders well in advance to take account of the expected delays. At the same time, you should pay attention to avoid overstock. Seasonal items stop selling as soon as the season ends. In short, you should place an appropriate amount of order in advance of the season. During off-season, you simply cannot afford to let a customer walk out the store empty-handed because you do not have what they want.
3. The wholesale price for essential stocks can be negotiated
Ahead of the time though, wholesales face an off-season just like retailers. During this season, it is easier to strike a good wholesale deal. Those items that are usually not offered at discount may be purchased at a lower price in October through December, which is an annual off-season. Higher-end products like human weavings and human bundles may be purchased at a deeper discount if you order a right quantity of goods. A sales associate at leading hair company A said, “In the second half, which is typically off-season, the company struggles with meeting its revenue goals because of which you might be offered a steeper discount than other seasons.” He also said that “it’s the best time to purchase discounted goods that are usually offered at regular prices only.” Most beauty supply owners tend to cut order sizes during the slow season, but you can take advantage of this to get a great deal for items you need for peak seasons. Another thing to keep in mind is that month-end is better timing than earlier in a given month for discount. Of course, you want to make a deal for items that steadily sell well throughout the year. If you buy too much simply because of great pricing, they likely become overstocked.
A young business owner H, who runs three beauty supplies in Philadelphia and is well known for his business acumen, said, “to keep high customer traffic to the store, we run a variety of events. At certain times, you want to place a big order at a great price for items that are to be offered at sales events during off-season.” A beauty supply run by the business owner H, shown on the below picture, has big promotion signs that can be easily noticed from distance. Also, note that you can sometimes have these banners sponsored by hair companies.
In the end, to overcome a slow season, first, you need to clear the inventory by selling them at a low price, even at a loss, to procure newer products. Remember: clearance events can generate revenues for other items. Second, get it ready for next season one-step ahead. Especially, seasonal items, especially popular items, are hard to find when the season starts. You need to place orders in advance. Lastly, when a retailer has a slow season, the wholesalers do, too. For items that you sell well year round, you can use this off-season to negotiate good terms and prices. You may want to stock up those items if you can make a good deal with a wholesaler.
All businesses have ups and downs, but minimizing fluctuation in revenue is very important for businesses. Supply chain crisis due to the pandemic, high inflation rates, and so on give reasons for you to prepare ahead of others and reach out to customers rather than waiting passively for a successful navigation through a slow season and extending a peak season as long as possible.