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Stay in Season or Drive Them to Amazon

I was in Target two days ago. They have a huge selection of swimsuits front and center. Tonight and tomorrow we’re going to get 3-5 inches of snow. Sunday is going to be 12 degrees Fahrenheit with a minus 5 windchill.

Unless you’re going to Florida, no one in Michigan is thinking about swimsuits. Heck, with the holidays only a couple weeks behind us, most of us don’t even want to imagine trying on a swimsuit right now.

Earlier this week my son went to Target also. He was looking for earmuffs. No luck. Plenty of swimsuits, but only a small section of hats and no earmuffs at all.

He spent the next two-and-a-half hours driving around town looking for a pair of earmuffs.

He found a $2 pair at CitiTrends, but the quality matched the price. He walked two malls, visited several stores, including three big-box stores, and came home empty-handed with cold ears. And he’s a Generation Z!!

Only after exhausting all the brick & mortar stores he could think of in town did he go online to Amazon to order.

That’s the point. When you drop this season’s goods to make way for next season’s goods, you lose a lot of in-season sales.

When do many people shop for a swimsuit? Three times:

  • When they are planning a trip somewhere warm
  • When they try on their swimsuit for the first time and it doesn’t fit.
  • When their swimsuit is ruined because of a spill, a tear, or a split seam.

Two of those are smack dab in the middle of the season, not months before.

When do most people shop for mittens, gloves, and earmuffs?

  • In the fall for Christmas gifts
  • When the first cold snap hits
  • When you’ve lost or destroyed your current pair

Those last two groups want desperately to find a pair in a brick & mortar store. Yet, many of those stores let them down.

Most of my competitors were already sold out of their sleds by this point in the year. With 3-5″ snow predicted for tomorrow, I would be making a killing selling sleds today, and another killing replacing everyone’s old sleds that break tomorrow. All because my competitors aren’t staying in season.

You can put the spring stuff out if you want. Just don’t put away the winter stuff—unless you want to drive your customer base to Amazon.

There are far more people still buying in-season than trying to get a jump on shopping for the next season.

Just sayin’ …

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS I had that problem two summers ago when I was teaching sailing. I wore a swimsuit every single day. I had two to get me through the season. One died on me in the middle of the summer and the other got snagged on some rigging. It was July and I could only find one store that still had swimsuits in stock. They all had winter coats, though, and probably plenty of earmuffs. In July!

PPS My son said he would have gladly shopped local but couldn’t think of a single local store to try. As it is, we forgot one store—a regional sporting goods store—until just after he had checked out online. The second point of this post is that his generation is supposed to default to shopping online. Don’t believe that for a second. They only shop online because you make them.

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