biz chat: holiday show season inventory prep and sales

Square Analytics
With the holiday show season fast approaching I wanted to do a four part series to help you get prepped. First thing I do is look at our sales data from Square of the previous holiday season. If you don’t use Square, please come up with a way to be able to look back at your sales data, it’s so helpful. Stitch is great, too! We use Stitch to manage online sales and show sales combined (it helps to keep us from over selling), but when I just want to look back at show data, I use Square data. You’ll want to know the quantity, size, style, and price point of each item sold. I have a separate button in Square for sale prices, that way I can easily see the difference in numbers between the regular and sale price points.

If any of the goodies we sold last holiday season are still in play for the upcoming season I look at the best sellers and make sure to start our inventory minimums with the quantity that sold last holiday season.

Poor sellers get the boot. Medium sellers may get the boot, too. Holiday show season is when you want to focus on upping your inventory on your best gift items to maximize sales to get you through the January lull. We sell 1-inch buttons at shows; those are not really a great gift item, but are good for stocking stuffers and just to pick up at check out. We do not up our inventory on buttons for holiday shows. We make “enough” and have them near the check out, just as an add-on item. By minimizing our not so “gifty” (made up word) items we have more time and money to spend on upping our best gift-giving sellers.

For items released newly this year, I like to do spring shows to get a feel for what people are liking, buying, and how they feel about our price points. I use this data to determine the quantities we’ll need per show for the holiday season.

With a holiday line I will not have real data for the designs, so I try to have lower quantities on these, because getting stuck with holiday themed goods after December is not ideal. This happened to us our first holiday season, and every time I looked at the leftover holiday cards the following year I was so frustrated. We did sell the leftovers at a discount the following holiday season.

Keep in mind the chance of each sale being given as a gift is more likely than a purchase for the buyer, you want your items to have your brand name on it. Make it easy for the gift recipient to be able to find you, so that they can become a future fan. Include more than one business card with purchases, too, that way the buyer can keep one, and give one away. Invest in quality cards and or stickers to give away to help get your name out there.

If your packaging has been rock-star awesome all year, then kudos to you! If not, now’s the time to up your packaging. If you can simplify the gift shopping experience you’ll be remembered fondly, and may gain repeat customers.

When we do a series of holiday shows in our hometown we release something new at each show and let our customers know. This gives our customers a reason to come to the next show, has been a great way to gain repeat sales, and an opportunity to chat multiple times with our customers.

Come back next week for a post on booth set-up tips! If you have any questions or tips to share, leave them in the comments below.


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