Selling seasonal

Retailers can up the private brand value proposition with a successful seasonal program


While customers often make a shopping trip to pick up their traditional standby items, today’s consumer also loves an unexpected product that is on-trend. Seasonal items can be both traditional and trendy, and they can round out a retailer’s private-brand offerings to reap rewards.

Whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall, there are several winning strategies retailers can implement to offer a seasonal program and catch the eye of their customers. Retailers looking to build a successful seasonal private-brand program can do so by following four key best practices.

Be on Trend
It’s really important to identify the trends in the market and ensure you are not too far ahead or too far behind. This goes not just for trends in products, but also for trends in such macro categories as bakeware versus serveware and adult entertaining versus children’s products. It also applies to such elements as materials (porcelain versus stoneware, cotton versus polyester, copper versus silver), colors and designs (Bohemian versus traditional, Nordic versus whimsical).

Understand Your Consumer
Loyalty programs, great customer service and unique shopper amenities are musts in this competitive retail environment, but when it comes to products, what is going to keep the consumer coming back for more? How do particular trends align with a retailer’s customer base? Are they ahead of the trend, on-trend or more comfortable with evergreen or traditional trends?

To determine the answers to these questions, retailers perform surveys within their stores. This can help retailers gain 
a better understanding of the types of items consumers prefer — and even how different designs might resonate with their shoppers.

Once they understand what their customers are looking for, retailers can develop a targeted and exclusive line of products that will keep shoppers coming back for more. Having exclusive designs and patterns sets you apart from the competition.

Create a Cohesive Program
Once retailers have the foundation in place, they can take the trends of color, design and materials and apply them to a custom design that can be replicated in every category across the store. For example, you could have a green candle in a specific shade in the lighting section, a plate with the same shade of green and a custom design in the tabletop section, and then a towel with the same design and green shade in the housewares section. That way any part of the store the customer shops, they have the same experience and interaction with the seasonal design, which helps create solutions across multiple categories.

Have the Right Sourcing Strategy
The right sourcing strategy is absolutely critical to a seasonal sales program. Retailers and/or their third-party agents should consider the following:

  • Ensure they are familiar with commodity pricing to negotiate best costs;
  • Determine product lines that can come factory direct;
  • Consolidate sourcing efforts to the fewest number of factories and ports to ensure minimum order quantities and cost of goods savings are maximized;
  • Have dedicated sourcing or quality assurance teams in Asia and Europe;
  • Ensure quality assurance practices are in-line with industry standards; and
  • Track sell-through and price correctly to minimize mark-down.

When sourced and executed properly, a seasonal private-brand program can generate both revenue and customer loyalty. When customers know they can only get these limited-time products at your store, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Maria Rodriguez is the import sales director at Daymon.


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