Q: My business has started to come out of the slower sales cycle that everyone has been in for the last year or so, but it isn’t recovering as fast as it did in the past. Is it just me, or is everyone having a hard time picking up speed when it comes to sales?
Steve Pruitt: You ask an important question. Of course, there are always retailers who will do well despite the general sales cycle, but you’re right, we are seeing a slower acceleration than normal.
A normal sales cycle has an average of 24 down months, followed by 60 months of growth. Our latest down cycle was longer than usual and the recovery has been slower. What we are seeing in our stores is that fashion customers are still eager to buy, but the normal “buy now, wear now” costumer needs more incentives to trigger demand.
The most difficult part about this is that markdowns won’t necessarily do the trick. What these customers want is new, exciting trends, or selling them on a lifestyle or vibe when they shop in your store. You need to make them feel something, not just offer them discounts.
You do this by creating a unique environment that inspires them with style and service. That is a much taller order and hanging out a big red “sale” sign. If you need help, give us a call.
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