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Getting Through the Winter Months

Posted: February 7, 2011, 5:25 p.m., EDt

The change of pace between the bustling holiday shopping season and the quiet (and quite frigid) months of winter is striking. Here are some tips to jumpstart your business during this sleepy retail period:

1) Have an Indoor Sidewalk Sale
• Every business has those odds & ends and/or discontinued items that have sat around forever just taking up space. Have an indoor sidewalk sale to clear out this inventory. Contact nearby businesses to participate and market the event with them in order to defray advertising costs. Make sure your price points are very attractive so it is a "no brainer” for the customer to purchase the items. Don’t be afraid to price the items below cost. You’ll feel liberated not having to stash things away in a box in the stockroom at the end of the season.

2) Market Around Upcoming Holidays/Events
• Dedicate a table or two to Valentine’s Day. Put all your red and pink merchandise together to make an eye-popping display. Although not nearly as big as Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day is gaining traction as a big doggie holiday. I sell hundreds of "Conversation Heart” biscuits with sayings such as "BITE ME,” "BE MINE” and "LOVE YA”.
• Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrock collars, leashes and bandanas sell well throughout the year so don’t be afraid to overstock these items.

3) Start Planning & Marketing Your Spring Line
• It’s never too early to start thinking Spring. Most Spring Pre-books are out and orders are due soon. Plan your Spring floor set around the new items and tease your Facebook Fans with a taste of what is to come. Your customer needs to be thinking about a new collar/leash set, a new lifejacket and buoyant toy for the lake and a daisy party dress for their little princess.

Before you know it, the snow will be melting and the frozen ground will thaw. Your customers will emerge from their winter hibernation looking for new and exciting products for their dogs. Make sure you are out in front of your competition.

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