Taking Your Dollar Store out the Door
Warm weather is typically viewed as a business boon. Common logic assumes that that warmer the weather, the more likely it is that the average person will head outside and into shopping centers. However, those of us who have worked in retail know that this does not always hold true.
magine: It’s a Saturday, the weather is perfect and you anticipate record sales for the day. You unlock the doors of your dollar store or general merchandise business and get to work. Quickly scanning the floor, you straighten any items askew or in the wrong place. You work hurriedly, expecting the first customers of the day to come in early, maybe within the first hour of business. Once you’re done preparing for the onslaught, you take a seat at the register and wait for the sales to start rolling in. You wait, and wait, and wait … And no one comes through the door! No regulars, no new customers, not even any window-shoppers! It doesn’t pick up in the afternoon, either. You end the day with just a few sales in the register and many questions on your mind. What went wrong? Where were all the shoppers if they weren’t out shopping? What could you have done differently to increase your daily sales?
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, it may be time to consider taking your dollar store out the door. I’m not suggesting that you walk the streets in a giant dollar suit or start selling your merchandise from a random street corner, but I am telling you that it may be time to consider a new approach to summer sales. Let’s examine the aforementioned questions raised by our hypothetical summer sales flop.
1) What went wrong? This is a tricky question, and impossible to answer with complete accuracy. However there are a few basic tenets of summer shopping that are often overlooked or misinterpreted by retailers. Many assume that when the weather is warm people are more likely to spend the day outside, and therefore they are more likely to go shopping. This idea is only half true. Yes, when the weather heats up people are more inclined to spend the days outside. However, we must also consider the reason why they are more apt to go out. It’s because of the lovely weather, of course! And if people are venturing outside because of the weather, they are more likely not to enter your store. On summer days, many would-be shoppers prefer to remain outside, soaking up the sunshine and the pleasant ambiance of summertime.
2) Where were all the shoppers if they weren’t out shopping? Just because shoppers aren’t taking advantage of the deals offered by your dollar store does not mean that they aren’t out there looking for the latest in general merchandise. Summer is the season of swap meets, outdoor malls and farmers markets. These open air marketplaces enjoy huge popularity during summer months because they allow shoppers to remain outside while also filling their retail needs. While no one was inside your dollar store, there may have been hundreds of potential customers just down the street at your local swap meet!
3) What could you have done differently to increase your daily sales? Get in on the farmers market craze! Go to your city council (or online) and find out if you can apply for a booth at any local open air events occurring throughout the summer. Of course, for some of you this might be impossible due to waitlists, extensive application processes, or lack of opportunity. In that case you can still add a summer spin to your regular retail location and increase your sales by taking a few simple steps. Grab several of your most seasonally-appealing items and place them just outside your storefront, as if you are having your own “sidewalk sale.” Make some eye-catching signs, add a salesperson to monitor outdoor activity, and voila! You have your own mini outdoor market!
Kole Imports’ dump displays and summer-themed pallets are perfect for this type of merchandising. For example, DA135 (Summer Toy Starter Pallet) is filled with irresistible summer impulse buys. Items like pool toys, swimming goggles, water guns, and beach toys are the kind of low cost/high return merchandise that can add that sales boost you desire while also attracting summer shoppers who might otherwise pass you by. Don’t forget that Kole Imports’ PromoPallets ship free on orders over $1,000 and can be set up in under one minute, making it easy to set up an attractive “Summer Sale” section just outside your store!
The beauty of summer is that it brings us outside and into our communities. By adding an open-air feel to your dollar store or general merchandise business, you encourage shoppers to stop and view your merchandise. You also gain the opportunity to have direct conversations with your customers, as well as receive immediate feedback from them. And such personal interaction dramatically increases the probability that they will return to your store, even when the weather turns cold.
Bringing people together- isn’t that what summer is all about?