Homes in many parts of the country are blanketed by snow. Yet, in a few months, spring will arrive, and the whirl of snowblowers will fade away and be replaced by the melody of chirping birds. Now that the holidays rush is over, retailers have more time to prepare for a profitable spring season. February is usually a slow sales month and is an ideal time to check inventory, refresh the store and review the annual sales and marketing plan with your staff. It’s essential to communicate early and often to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Doing this will help the team evaluate and improve the overall customer experience. There are also other measures that owners can take to be competitive in the spring—a peak sales period for hardware stores.
Deep Clean and Refresh the Store
Look at your store through the eyes of customers. Your store could probably benefit from some intense spring cleaning and colorful signage. Cleaning shelves and sanitizing surfaces is a great way to get rid of dust and grime accumulated during the long winter months. Pay special attention to the floors since they tend to get scuffed up and damaged by salt and dirt. Be sure to check for obsolete inventory that can be discounted or donated to free-up space for new spring merchandise. Create a clearance bin for discounted merchandise and top the container with a large sign to get the customer’s attention.
Update Window and In-Store Displays
Think of window displays as an invitation to customers to come inside your store. Every two weeks, displays should be updated to keep them exciting and relevant to shoppers. If space allows, create a showcase for new products by incorporating them into different spring-inspired themes. Signage promoting sales, special offers, and upcoming events should be bold and straightforward to quickly get to the point and catch the attention of anyone who may be walking near the store. Incorporate spring colors into the display to show customers it’s time to leave the winter blues behind and step into the sunshine of spring.
Help customers visualize how they can benefit from using the product by creating attractive in-store displays. Gardening, painting, and home organization are popular activities during the spring. Devote specific sections of your store to highlight product categories in demand by customers and generate a significant percentage of sales.
Get Staff Up-to-speed
Customers often ask the salesperson to explain the features and benefits of new products and merchandise unfamiliar to them. Many items sold in hardware stores may require your staff to walk the customer through the process of how the product is to be used. When things slow down, it’s a good idea to train your staff and identify where products will be located on the shelf or floor.
Participate in Trade Shows and Conventions
Store owners should prioritize being informed about the latest products in the marketplace and knowing which ones will be in demand by customers during the upcoming seasons. It’s also essential to understand the home improvement market trends and related industries that affect your business. One of the easiest ways to cover most of these bases is by participating in trade shows and buying conventions.
While the pandemic has caused many organizers to shift from physical to virtual events, participants can still benefit from what is being offered. Options include buying events that specific wholesalers hold for the primary purpose of purchasing merchandise from assorted vendors or industry-wide conventions geared to new product introductions and retail education.
Launch your Marketing Campaign
You may opt to use a combination of traditional advertising and social media to launch your spring marketing campaign. However, all methods you select should deliver a cohesive message focused on a common theme. The purpose is to reinforce your message in the minds of consumers and prompt them to take action. Try to make the campaign energetic and fun. Spring is a time of renewal, and shoppers are in the mood to refresh their outdoor spaces and homes. Make a special effort to connect with your loyal customers since they already do business with your store and will be open to receiving and responding to your messages.
Use this time between winter and spring to your advantage by preparing your physical and online store for the upcoming season. Remember to make customers feel safe when they shop in your store. During this pandemic, a clean shopping environment and hand sanitizer are steps in the right direction.