Sam here to yet again fill your minds with important retail information. The first official day of summer came and went this week. Which is slightly hard to believe because it seems we can’t go more than 24 hours without a good old fashioned thunderstorm but nevertheless, summertime is upon us. Although it might seem early, the back to school season is upon us as well and for the big name retailers the season may have already passed.
You’re probably thinking, “What? How can we already be thinking about going back to school? Summer just started!” But the fact of the matter is, big name retailers are focused on planning ahead. In the grand scheme of things, it will not be too long until students and schools all over the country need to stock up on their office supplies, and this time period is always a fantastic opportunity for retailers to make a profit. A rush on sales for office furniture is already predicted for the end of August and early September, and so retailers need to act quickly. When you and I are thinking about spending the day at the beach or BBQing on the George Foreman, bigger retailers are already thinking about 4th quarter sales. As a consumer, it might seem like a big retail scam. Every year I hear people complaining about how Christmas decorations go on sale earlier and earlier. But the fact of the matter is, that’s just how it’s done.
If you were interested in planning promotions for back to school or any other major holiday, the planning has to be done WAY in advance. This is commonly known as lead time in the marketing world. Lead time is just industry jargon for the time it takes for a project to be executed from idea to completion. Larger retail vendors will require a much longer lead time when planning events. Vendors such as Walmart and Best Buy will start planning their back to school promotions as early as January!
To the average small manufacturer or company planning that far in advance might seem a little crazy. But when working with a bigger retailer it’s important to consider all the moving parts of their organization. When strategizing promotions for holidays or seasons, like the back to school season, larger vendors have to consider what medium they’ll use to advertise, what the ads will look like, how many ads will be run, the promotions, the prices, and the displays, oh my!
This is important for you as an inventor or small manufacturer to remember. Although it’s a little overwhelming, if you want your product to be shown during the fall then at the start of the new year would be the time to approach them. Waiting until the beginning of summer to approach a large name brand would be foolhardy.
However, if you are looking to promote your products locally, you might still be in luck. It might not be too late to reach out to smaller, local businesses in your area. Smaller retailers are more likely to be open to including your product in their upcoming promotions because they require a much smaller lead time. Although some planning of displays and promotions will still need to be done, the workload will be significantly less with a smaller retailer.
BIG retailer = BIG lead time
Smaller retailer = Smaller lead time
Peace of cake right? So even if this summer isn’t as sunny as we would like, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to capitalize on. So quick! Start looking for smaller retailers and get in with them for their back to school sales. Or even start planning for next years rush with a larger retailer, BIG lead time means BIG rewards.
Until next time folks, this is Sam signing off.