Pool and spa business’s experience swings in sales with every season. Even an unseasonably warm season, like this fall, can extend the ‘busy’ season of pool and spa dealers. With winter approaching and cooler temperatures in the forecast for most of the region, the off season is near. This is a time to breathe, finally, and also begin for the spring rush. Looking at pool and spa software, examining your staff, and thinking of new specials are some of the tasks to focus on this winter.
Planning yearly events in the off-season can be fun and enable you to execute more profitable events.
Whether you plan one, two or ten events per season, select your dates and make a solid plan in advance for each. This will make it easier to implement the events during the season when you and your staff are busy taking care of daily operations. By planning, you ensure that you have the right number of sales people and support staff scheduled to handle the extra business and festivities.
The fun part is involving your staff with the planning. Schedule some time in the off-season with your staff to meet over pizza and brainstorm about the products that will be on sale at each event and how they will be merchandised. If your salespeople are involved in the planning, they will be more likely to work harder at the events and produce better results.
Selecting the products in advance and deciding on the sale prices ensures that margins remain profitable. Preplanning also enables you to raise some regular prices a little to position yourself to maintain good margins on the event sale items. To use as a draw to the events, you may want to choose a few items to advertise in which the margin is cut considerably, or are not put on display except at events.
While brainstorming, select what games you will have for the kids, what games you will have as incentives for the staff, how sale merchandise will be displayed, what food and drink you will provide and any other plans relative to each event.
Assign specific tasks to each staff member as a part of the planning process. There will be things to do the week prior to each event, tasks in the morning of each day, and duties during the sale. Many will gladly volunteer for tasks when they are part of the decision making process.
Decide on a budget for each event based on projected profits so that you ensure they are profitable. Take payroll, marketing, prizes, food, sales incentives, and all expenses into consideration along with reduced margins on your sale products.
Utilize your point of sale system in the planning process. Look at inventory reports to see overstocked merchandise and slow movers from the previous year to put on clearance. RB Control Systems has an Event Planning module in which you set your sale prices for each of the event sale dates so that they are automatically put into effect for each event. This automated process takes care of one big task that you will not need to worry about during the busy season or the week of event preparation.
Use your POS system’s sign making module to create colorful, professionally printed signs for merchandising your store. For an example, RB Control Systems includes a Sign Design™ feature. You can set the sale prices, send the sale inventory to the Sign Design™ module, select your style sign, and print. This allows you to quickly print all of your signs in advance of the events. Signs are great silent salespeople, and when uniform and professional, they make a powerful sales tool. Make sure they display the savings!
For added visual appeal to increase sales, combine your signage with pyramid displays throughout the store and impulse displays at the register. Plan how you will change the floor layout for each sale to promote specific products. You do not have to make big changes, just enough that your customers notice a difference. It will make it a little more exciting for them to shop at your event and will seem as if you brought in new merchandise.
How will you advertise each event? Postcard invitations to your current customer database, television, radio, internet, print ads, etc. Advance planning allows time to research advertising costs with local media for all of your events. You can often negotiate better prices with a commitment for multiple ads.
Preplanning your events when you have the time will contribute to a more profitable pool & spa season and ease some of the in-season stress associated with the busiest times of the summer.