The Importance of Seasonal Offerings: Boosting Sales and Avoiding the 'Ick' FactorMay 15, 2023
What does a Pumpkin Spice latte have to do with pricing compression?
More than you might think.
People's wants and needs change with the seasons. For example, when the weather is hot, you most likely won't order a Pumpkin Spice latte (in fact, you can't!). Starbucks is on to something here, and we can all learn a valuable lesson.
Seasonal or “limited-time offerings” can be a great way to attract new customers and boost sales quickly. These offerings create a sense of urgency for customers to act and make a purchase before the promotional period ends.
Prevent the ‘ick’ factor with limited-time or seasonal products
However, it's important to be cautious. When the availability of limited-time products extends past their relevance, they can start to feel outdated and, even worse, give the ‘ick’ factor. Halloween candy may be acceptable in stores a few days into November, but it can feel inappropriate if it's still on sale past Remembrance Day. This ties into being a savvy retailer and thinking about SKU Rationalization, which can help you make better product assortment choices.
🔗 Learn more about SKU Rationalization to prevent ‘the ick’ factor. We explore how having fewer SKUs with more assortment can differentiate your brand or retail business in a crowded market.
This presents a challenge for cannabis retailers and brands as seasons change. In many cases, we don’t have a lot of awareness about which products are being developed and when they’ll be in the supply chain for retailers to order. This is why brands need to think two product releases ahead, conduct research, develop bundling or promotions with key partners, and focus on the product’s lifecycle.
Reactionary discounting is a slippery slope to pricing compression and can make returning seasonal products less successful. If customers know they can wait a week for a seasonal product to be marked down, they are less likely to pay full price. Retailers and brands instead want to create demand and excitement, and sell-through, much like our original Starbucks example.
Some products, such as candy cane chocolate edibles or eggnog-flavoured vapes, can lower inventory value if seasonal stock isn't managed properly.
As a retailer/brand, it’s up to you to ensure products don’t end up ‘on sale’ for extended periods of time. You don’t want them to get the ick. And you do not want to be discounting, which can lead to a pricing compression trap.
How to avoid pricing compression with seasonal products
- Think about how you’re capturing customers with ‘limited time’ offers. Evaluate how you’re communicating the limited time or quantity of your offering.
- Carefully plan inventory purchases. Purchasing too much inventory will eventually lead to markdowns while purchasing too little will result in missed opportunities.
- Are seasonally relevant products decorating your store in the right way? How do they fit into your overall atmospherics?
- Think about how you’re pricing seasonal products. Price isn’t what drives the sale of these SKUs, but you still have to ensure the products will sell through.
- Plan ahead. Do R&D for products two seasons away.
- Carefully evaluate your target audience for seasonal products and market to them.
- Is pricing being reviewed for seasonally appropriate SKUs? Think about line pricing, special pricing, and why a customer would pay more/less/the same for a seasonal product.
- Think about whether being seasonally relevant is on-brand. If not, how can product marketing be spun to make products more seasonally relevant?
- Consider how often you’re releasing seasonal SKUs. If only occasionally, it creates scarcity. If often, it could become a brand staple that customers expect your products to remain seasonally relevant.
Remember: having an excess of seasonal products in-store that get marked down can impact the overall perceived value of your total assortment. As we’ve always said, inventory management is both a skill and an art.
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