Making the most of sales and promo periods can earn your store a ton of revenue. In fact, for brick and mortar retailers, promotions generally account for anywhere from 10% to 45% of total revenue. Understanding how to manage seasonal sales and promotions is key to running a successful store.
But it also requires having an excellent understanding of your historical sales data, current trends, and your inventory or you risk over or understocking—and therefore missing out on revenue instead.
This job of managing promotions becomes more complex when you start adding multiple locations into the mix. Now you have to take into account local differences, stock differences, and coordination across multiple teams.
What are the challenges of managing promotions across multiple locations?
Differences in local consumer behavior and preferences
Each location has its own unique customer base with varying preferences and behaviors. Understanding and catering to these differences can be a challenge. What works well in one location may not have the same impact in another. It requires market research and a tailored approach to ensure promotions resonate with the local audience.
An obvious example of the difficulties of managing promotions across locations is national holidays. If you’re running a July 4th promotion in the US, for instance, that’s not going to translate to your international locations.
Varying local and regional laws and regulations
Different locations often have specific laws and regulations related to promotions, discounts, and advertising. For example, grocery stores in California are legally allowed to stock liquor, while those in Virginia are not—meaning that a national chain like Safeway needs to avoid marketing liquor promotions in Virginia.
Navigating these legal requirements can be complex and time-consuming. It’s essential to stay informed and ensure that all promotional activities comply with the local regulations to avoid any legal issues.
Logistical issues related to stock management and distribution
Ultimately, a big part of a successful promotion is having just the right amount of inventory to satisfy customer demand without having too much inventory left over. That’s enough of a challenge in a singular location.
Coordinating stock management and distribution across multiple locations can be a full on logistical puzzle. Each store may have different inventory needs based on customer demand and regional preferences (or laws, like the Safeway example above) adding many layers of complexity to the problem.
Communication challenges between different stores and management
Effective communication is vital when managing promotions across multiple locations. Ensuring clear and consistent communication between store managers, regional managers, and the central management team is key. This includes conveying promotional strategies, guidelines, and addressing any concerns or feedback promptly. Keeping everyone on the same page can be a logistical challenge, but it’s essential for successful promotion execution. Otherwise you may end up with the promo being forgotten in certain stores or marketed in a way you didn’t want.
6 Strategies to Effectively Manage Seasonal Sales
When it comes to effectively managing seasonal sales, there are some important strategies you should follow to ensure success.
Create a comprehensive promotional calendar
Develop a well-structured promotional calendar that outlines key seasonal sales and events throughout the year. This allows for better planning and coordination across multiple locations. It ensures that promotions are strategically timed, preventing conflicts and maximizing customer engagement.
You should develop this calendar by looking at historical performance to understand what has worked in the past, while also looking to see what opportunities you may have this year with product launches, holidays, etc.
Ensure adequate supply chain management for stocking needs
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to analyze historical sales data and market trends to anticipate demand for each location during seasonal peaks.
But you’ll also need to set up a supply chain that runs smoothly, so you have inventory in time for promotions. A supply chain that runs this smoothly may take many months or even years of work and optimization, so it’s crucial to get started there immediately.
Adapt local cultural events and holidays
Like the July 4th example from earlier, it’s very important to customize promotions to align with local cultural events, holidays, and traditions. By taking into account the preferences and interests of each location’s customer base, you can develop relevant and impactful promotions that truly resonate with the local community.
This approach fosters heightened customer engagement and, in turn, leads to a noticeable boost in sales. When customers feel that a promotion is tailored specifically for them, it creates a sense of connection and drives their enthusiasm to purchase.
Leverage technology for inventory and promotion management
Technology plays a crucial role in running successful promotions today. First, you need sales software and inventory management systems to understand how promotions have performed historically for you, so you can plan better promotions and purchase enough inventory for them.
But you also need to use technology that helps you execute the promotion. Bindy’s retail audit and inspection software, for instance, can provide an easy way for staff at multiple locations to ensure their floors and back rooms are aligned with the corporate’s go-forward plan for a promotion.
Have communication strategies for conveying promotion details to each store
Establish clear communication channels between the central management team and individual store locations. Regularly share promotion details, guidelines, and any updates to ensure consistency and accuracy in execution. A common tactic for large, established retailers like Talbots, is to create a booklet that provides exact directions on things like signage for your store layout. This booklet may also include other details like suggested wording for sales associates.
You should also encourage open communication and provide a point of support to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
Train store staff for the implementation of promotions
One of the keys to successful promotions is having a well-prepared and knowledgeable team on the front lines. That’s why it’s crucial to equip your store staff with the training and resources they need to effectively implement promotions.
By providing them with comprehensive product knowledge and explaining the ins and outs of each promotion, you set them up for success. Well-trained staff not only enhances the overall customer experience but also plays a vital role in maximizing the effectiveness of your promotions. They become your brand ambassadors, engaging customers and creating a positive impact that drives results. So invest in your team, empower them with the right tools, and watch as their expertise takes your promotions to new heights!
Managing promotions across multiple retail locations is no joke. But if you prepare ahead of time and learn from your successes and failures in the past, you’ll be able to run a successful promotion. And ultimately, one successful promotion will snowball into more – adding huge amounts to your bottom line each year.
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About the author:
Francesca Nicasio is retail expert, B2B content strategist, and LinkedIn TopVoice. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales and serve customers better. She’s also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores.