The holidays come earlier and earlier every year, and there is a good reason for it. Costco, which is a membership warehouse club for consumers and resellers, recently answered a question from a customer about why holiday items make an appearance in stores well before pumpkins line the shelves.
“It’s because some members purchase for resale, and partly because buying before peak season helps us lower prices. Plus, with less at the end of the actual season, we have less to mark down, move and store – saving even more in operating costs, which keep our prices even lower!,” Costco replied on its Facebook page.
There is a lesson to be learned by Costco and retailers of all sizes that inventory management is key in staying competitive and profitable. Having holiday items stocked early gives sellers an advantage to promote products in a variety of ways beyond shelf presence. They can capture the early shoppers and also the attention of different marketing and media channels.
Getting in Guides
Most media holiday promotion planning is already starting to come together in August in the form of holiday gift-buying guides. These are a great way to promote your business both locally and nationally depending on your customer base. But they require early planning. Preparing a signature holiday gift can get you included on many lists and reach a broad audience of holiday shoppers. Gifts can include products, but also gift certificates and special promotions.
To be included in a guide, start researching all possible media outlets available to you and determine their submissions guidelines. Some require submissions several months before publication, so getting an early start is a must. Consider looking at local print and television outlets, but also review online opportunities, including blogging communities in your area. Most major metros have a strong network of bloggers that will allow you to place your products and services listed on multiple sites, often for free or in exchange for a sample product.
Have marketing materials and samples ready to send to the outlets that show interest. This is especially important for online guides that include giveaways and reviews. Always evaluate each request for samples, ensuring that the value of the press is worth the value of the product. Determine how many people these articles will reach and if it’s your target audience that receives the publication.
Preparing now with stock and media coverage will help you with early sales and reduce the need for last-minute markdowns to sell off season-specific products. Many small businesses will generate a significant portion of their profits in this narrow window of time, creating a buffer for slow months of operation through the rest of the year. The key is selling more of your products early and at full price.
Even if you oppose the thought of seeing candy corn in August and Santa Claus before the first snow, early holiday marketing is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. Take a lesson from businesses like Costco are already successfully working the holiday magic in August.
Image Source: Creative Commons