My jewelry business is located in a mall, and you are correct
Neil–the mall is absolutely PACKED with shoppers the entire weekend
after Thanksgiving, but the majority of shoppers are only looking for
items that are on sale at a deep discount. As a result, Black Friday
was never a big deal for us–sure, business that weekend was better
than normal, but considering the number of people in the mall, but we
were never as busy as I felt we should have been.
Up until last year, I was the type of retailer who didn’t "believe"
in holding sales or offering deep discounts, thinking that it
cheapened my product line & overall business. After all, I offer a
good product at a fair price, so why should I discount them? Also, I
was worried that I might “train” customers that if they held off
buying something they liked, eventually I would put it on sale.
(NOTE: Overall I think the retail industry has done exactly this, and
personally I almost never buy something until it’s on sale.)
However, last year I finally bought a jewelry inventory / POS
program, read a few articles by David Geller & others, and finally
began to realize how detrimental old / dead inventory is to a retail
business. Sure, my showcases were FULL of jewelry, but half the stuff
were old designs that for whatever reasons nobody wanted! I wasted
time trying to to offer small discounts and holding “fake” sales of
15 and 20% off until finally one day I said “Enough is enough”. I
cleared out two cases, filled it with stuff I’d accumulated over the
years, and put everything in it 50% off. And guess what? Customers
As a result, I sold off a large majority of otherwise dead inventory
and began 2006 much healthier. The showcases looked fresh & clean,
downstock was organized & uncluttered, & personally I felt better
when I was at work.
Besides the fact that we all like to save money, one reason I think
sales are so successful during the holiday is this: most shoppers
have at least a couple of people on their holiday shopping list
(distant relatives, co-workers, neighbors, etc) that they feel
"obligated" to give a present to. Since they are not particularly
good friends with or close to these people, they don’t really care
what they end up buying, as long as they have to spend a lot of money
on it. However, if they can buy something inexpensive that LOOKS like
they spent a lot of money it, well, then all the better! I can’t tell
you the number of customers I helped last year who were looking for
"Obligation" gifts who couldn’t decide between a couple of items,
and when I pointed out that Item A looked the most expensive, that’s
the one they bought!
Interestlingly, I guess my concern about training customers to
expect a sale as come true–my employees tell me that several people
have dropped by asking if I’m going to be holding a sale this year!
Am I? Of course I am! I want to go into 2007 a lean, mean, selling