It’s a sad truth that every retail business has its busy seasons and its slow seasons. Even mighty multinational behemoths like Amazon report a dip in sales in mid-June and early August.
No matter how good your product is, no matter how alluring your store, nobody is immune from seasonal shift.
However, there are ways to turn these natural dips and rises to your advantage, and overcome those annual blips simply by utilising your point-of-sale (POS) system, and a touch of creativity.
1. When exactly is your slow season?
Do you actually know when and where your slow season falls? You’ve probably got a rough idea (early-spring, late-summer, for instance) but let your POS find the exact dates for you. Armed with past sales reports you’ll find two things happening: first, there will probably be more seasonal dips than you were expecting, and second, you will now be prepared for hitting those slow moments.
2. Get your team involved
If you know when you’re approaching a slow season you can anticipate the drop in future sales and make up for them in advance. The best way to do that is to promote a little healthy competition among your sales team. Your POS can monitor and print off sales for each individual on the team, letting you keep track of what each team member sells. If you tell your staff you’re running a competition in the two or three weeks leading up to a slow season, and log their progress every day on a chart in the staffroom, you will soon see the sales begin to spike. This is especially true if you offer a prize or a bonus to whomever is the eventual winner. You’ll be amazed how inventive your team will get when it comes to making those sales.
Every sales transaction affects your stock levels and traditional earlier systems required laborious stock control, tracking and ordering systems that were independent of payment processing. Today’s POS systems track every order via the sales receipt system and then adjust inventory orders and stocking accordingly. The system can even be configured to automatically re-order goods when stock levels hit a defined low. This automation is a powerful feature with total accuracy and the ability to free up management time for other tasks.
3. Adapt and adjust
Why do you have a slow season in the first place? Normally your product is as good as it ever was, but it’s the street traffic and customer base that changes. With your POS directing you, you can make changes to your inventory, knowing what underperforms in the slow season. Knowing the slowdown is coming, you can prepare the business and your staff for the possibility of reduced hours in the coming weeks. Perhaps that’s not an option, or reducing hours isn’t something you want to do. That’s fine. Knowing when you have a lull in activity means you can schedule things like staff training, performance reviews, teambuilding activities, and the like when they will be least disruptive to your business’s intake.
4. Be creative
Of course, a period of slow sales can be an opportunity rather than a crisis. Since you’re already anticipating lower revenue during your slow season, why not shake things up a little? Run a pop-up booth at a local fair or festival, send out some emails to your existing client base telling them to bring a friend and be entered into a raffle, invent a special occasion (the birthday of your store mascot, if you have one) and throw a party/flash sale in its honour. Not only might you boost sales in a time that is usually slow, but it’s a great way to improve the morale of your team, by doing things a little differently.
5. Stock Control
So, if you are new to POS systems or dealing with a legacy technology that is a due a refresh, it’s time to find out how modern solutions can benefit your business security, efficiency and service levels. Fine-tuning processes, saving time, providing richer management data and vital automation all boost that important bottom line. Contact us to discuss the needs of your business and to learn more about the latest POS systems and the benefits that they offer.