TIP SERIES FOR INDEPENDENT RETAILERS: Increase Your Seasonal Margins With One Simple Tip

TIP:  Build anticipation for a product or collection through release dates

Illustration for Release Dates

The most common reaction to receiving new inventory is to place product out on the sales floor as soon as it arrives in your stock room. Many retailers have the idea that you must catch every sale as soon as possible. This does not create excitement for your customer, and does not drive traffic through your door.

Having weekly, monthly, or seasonal release dates gets your customers excited about coming through the door on a regular basis instead of just when they need a particular item. This also instills a sense of worth around a product or collection instead of a customer waiting for the item to go on sale at the end of the season. This strategy will maintain the margin for longer into the season and possibly even sell out of inventory before you need to lose margin with a seasonal sale.

Team up with suppliers so that your release dates align with their marketing campaigns and get double the bang. Partner with brands using co-op allowance to help build the buzz around special releases.

Nike has created lineups for their core retailers world-wide for years, by creating release date buzz around highly anticipated pro models and limited edition products.

Online businesses have a history of success, such as Canadian brand Frank and Oak or even discount retailers such as Gilt, releasing new collections monthly or at specific times of day creating a virtual line-up with customers clicking refresh on the anticipated hour to be the first to get the new collection or deal.

Connect the Dots Barkbox

Subscription based businesses have done this extremely well.  A good example of this is the “BARKBOX”.  Not only does the dog owner anticipate the arrival, but the excitement the dog shows upon seeing the box of goodies makes the monthly expense worthwhile.  Once the owner sees what toy or treat the dog loves the best, they can go online to the BARKSHOP and buy more.    This business model drives traffic to the e-commerce site that it would not otherwise have.

Do You Have a Brand Manual or Style Guide?

If you have answered this question with a “no” but deal with vendors, suppliers and media on a regular basis, then you need to consider working with your designer to create one.

One key way to build brand equity is to create a set of “design rules” that tie together the look and feel of all your marketing materials. We pull this together into something called a “Brand Style Guide” that can be shared with internal departments, marketing and design agencies, suppliers and media.

Style Guide and Brand Manual

At the very least, it is important to have a style guide to keep your look consistent across all consumer touch-points. Having on hand a quick guide to your corporate fonts and colours is a time saver that ensures that your logo and/or wordmark will be seen accurately on everything from websites to t-shirts.

Build your visual STYLE GUIDE around these 4 key areas:

  1. Logo: The consistent use of your logo is the most important piece to your brand. A style guide outlines how the logo should look on different materials and backgrounds. It will outline the placement and size that should be used for different communication and marketing collateral.
  2. Colour: Colour is the second most important component to your brand identity. Colour makes an immediate impression and impacts perception of your brand. Colour has different meanings in different industries and different cultures so a lot of research is needed before final selection. A style guide will show how a colour can be used and how your logo will look in Black and White scenarios. A style guide will define the colour model depending on where it will be used – ie/ RGB for digital / CMYK for Print / Pantone for solid colour use. (Basic Colour Theory)
  3. Fonts: A brand style guide will outline the font families that are associated with your brand materials. This is usually limited to one or two fonts along with different weights and sizes for Headlines, Body Text, and Info-Graphics.
  4. Visuals – Graphics / Illustrations / Photography: Every brand needs to consider what type of visuals they want to represent their brand. Graphics such as symbols and shapes should be used the same way across all materials from environmental signage to annual reports to digital assets. The style of illustration or photography should be consistent across all corporate materials. Seasonal advertising campaigns would have their own specific style sheet that would fit into the overall guidelines.

If you do a lot of packaging, advertising or media events, a brand manual will include everything from your mission statement to your brand voice to how your taglines should be used to what photo filters to use on your custom photography.

Being in control of your brand across all touch-points is a very important step in helping you keep all your dots connected.

Check out a post by Mary Stribley that showcases  50 great examples of Style Guides