Along with accommodating the rush of shoppers to find the perfect costume and sweets for trick-or-treaters, it’s time to think about how to optimize your Halloween point of sale (POS) system to maximize your store’s profit potential. Here are four strategies you can use to better manage seasonal inventory, capitalize on the appeal of Halloween — or any other holiday — and achieve a healthier bottom line.
1. Develop a sales plan.
Break out your merchandise by category and either month or, for very seasonal items (e.g., Halloween masks), year. Then, use POS data to calculate the most likely level of sales you can expect at the Halloween point of sale. This number should reflect sales from stock in each category, excluding special orders. Now that you have these Halloween point of sale figures, review sales histories from the previous year. Don’t forget to make adjustments for such variables as weather, out-of-stocks, and one-time promotions. Then, for each category, calculate how much you expect sales to increase or decrease from the previous year. Base the figure on current sales and the abovementioned “highest level of sales” statistic.
2. Build your inventory.
Determine how much inventory is required at month’s or week’s end to stay on track with your sales plan and keep your Halloween sales humming. This quantity should also offer you the flexibility to maintain impactful merchandise displays throughout the Halloween season. Consider that the Halloween point of sale season typically runs from the end of August through the end of October. Avoid ordering more inventory than is necessary to create high-quality displays, support anticipated sales between deliveries, and provide “safety stock” in case of late deliveries. Ordering too much inventory too far in advance and displaying it all at once will likely lead to an overstock situation.
3. Plan and schedule promotions.
As Halloween approaches, plan discounts based on quantities of each category of merchandise you have on your store’s shelves and plan the dates the markdowns go into effect. And of course, calculate your markdown percentage, ensuring that the offer will attract enough customers to move the quantity of merchandise you think you’ll sell, without leaving significant overstocks. This is all data your point of sale system can provide.
4. Target marketing.
Your POS system’s customer relationship management (CRM) module can help you segment your customer list so you can get marketing messages and special offers into the right customers’ hands at the right time. Make sure customers that make regular appearances at your store are aware of promotions and have the opportunity to take advantage of discounts. Send emails and texts as well as direct mail to get the word out.
The Halloween season — and the subsequent weeks that lead into the winter holidays — can be lucrative for retailers that take a strategic approach to optimizing sales and delighting customers during this traditionally high-traffic shopping time. Using data from your POS and other store systems is the trick to optimizing inventory and promotions that will mean higher revenues for your business.