Make it a December to remember
By Gordon Hecht, Contributor
Right about now you may be thinking, “Forget about it. Might as well lock up the shop after Black Friday weekend because no one buys bedding in December.”
Not so fast! That may be what conventional wisdom tells us, but it really isn’t true. First the boring math: 100% of your annual sales are written over a 12-month period. If you split that equally, it would mean that 8.33% of sales are written every month. That would be the average amount.
A 10-year history of bedding sales shows that 7.6% of all mattresses are purchased in December, or about 92% of the average. (And since you’re probably gonna ask, January and November tend to be the strongest months and April comes in dead last in average sales.)
It is, however, a natural and scientific fact that people sleep 365 days a year — except Santa, but he only works one day a year and can therefore only get third-tier financing. And many of those who do sleep, sleep poorly.
Here are some suggestions for pumping up the post-Thanksgiving through New Year’s sales period:
- Start by changing the attitude. Sales are a transfer of enthusIASM. The last four letters stand for I Am Sold My Self. Know this: every shopper walking into your store is on a mission to purchase. Give them more reasons to buy!
- Help relieve the pressure on their budgets. Rather than have your customers slap the purchase on an overloaded credit card, why not suggest short-term free financing? They can pay it off with a tax refund in a few months.
- Hold model year clearance sales. They want it now and you need to sell it now. Be very liberal on your floor sample discounts and prepare to invest in refreshing every floor sample in 2024.
While you’re at it, yank a couple of twenties out of your wallet and buy some ribbons and bows to make your beds and accessories look like a holiday gift. It’s also a great time to give a meaningful gift-with-purchase. Maybe it’s a 55-inch TV ($299), a tablet ($99-$299) or a $100 supermarket gift card. Just make it easy for them to get it.
- Yes, you can solve the gift conundrum. You know the TV commercials where the guy buys his wife a car for Christmas? It ain’t because nothing says love more than all-wheel drive and fine Corinthian leather; it’s because a lot of guys are dense when it comes to buying their ever-lovin’ brides a present. He just doesn’t know what to get her. He figures that he’s gotta buy a new car sometime, so he just ties it up with a holiday, looks like a hero and spends money he woulda spent anyway. Translate that to your sales presentation. Gently remind Mr. Shopper that nothing says love and caring more than the gift of good sleep, and our mattresses make the perfect gift.
- Keep your marketing pedal to the metal. If you want to realize 7.6% of annual sales in December, you need to spend 7.6% of your annual sales budget. That’s approximately your average monthly investment. Promote financing, 2023 closeouts, 2024 model-year introductions, gift-with-purchase, guest-room bedding or free candy canes for the kiddies. Take advantage of your competitors who are in shutdown mode. Just keep promoting and own December in your market.
Commit to making December a month to remember!
Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at Gordon.Hecht@aol.com.