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Fall Merchandising Tips

Posted: August 10, 2011, 1:10 p.m., EDT


Even though the mercury is still registering well into the 80s, it’s time to start thinking about fall merchandising. As we get into mid-to-late August, all the major retailers will be full speed with back-to-school apparel. You, too, need to be stocking your shelves with sweaters, rain coats and light winter coats to capitalize on the consumer’s mindset. Since these items typically have a higher price point and margin than many of the products you’ve been selling during the summer months, having a strong fall season is very important to set you up for holiday ordering.

Wondering what floor space to dedicate to these products? I have mixed them in with my summer displays. For example, my back table has fun summer T-shirts and polo shirts, but now I have added hoodie sweatshirts that complement the bright summer color scheme. I have also added a few pegs to my summer mesh harness display and stocked some fleece-lined harnesses.

Make sure you don’t underestimate the potential sales bump that Halloween can provide. From my perspective, while Christmas is by far the biggest shopping holiday for the family dog, Halloween and Easter are neck-and neck for second place. Fill your bakery cases with pumpkins, black cats, skeletons, ghosts and candy-corn shaped biscuits. Stock a wide selection of canine costumes, especially larger sizes. I can’t tell you how many XL and 2XL costumes I sell every year.

In the past, the most popular canine costumes have mimicked their "human" counterparts. This year, I’m focusing on royalty costumes (Prince, Princess and Knight in Shining Armor). The Hot Dog and Beer Can costumes are always big sellers, as are Hugh Hefner-style smoking jackets and the playboy bunny costumes. Be sure to start stocking your floor with these in early September so you have ample time to sell them and can reorder your best sellers. Also, creepy looking squeaky toys—especially the ones that make strange noises—sell very well.

A great way to capitalize on the increased traffic around Halloween and ensure your customers return for Holiday shopping is to offer a discount coupon that is only valid during the month of December. Also, host a Halloween Event. Our Annual Halloween Costume Parade and Party is one of our biggest events of the year.

Even if you’re are still wearing shorts and sandals, you need to be thinking ahead…falling leaves, apple picking and haunted hayrides are right around the corner.



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