Summer Retail Merchandising Series Part 1: Tips for Manufacturers

Warmer weather is almost here, and, like many Canadians, we are ready for it. In fact, some retailers may have customers already shopping for summer-specific products or getting their garden ready.

The summer season in Canada can be a relatively short window with the bulk of activity happening in May, June, and the beginning of July. By the end of July and start of August, many shoppers have already stocked up on their summer needs and are turning their attention to back-to-school.

Still, within this window, manufacturers can accomplish a lot with the right strategies. Consider the following:

1. Plan a summer event.

Consider coordinating a special summer event, like an in-store demonstration, a barbecue, a fashion show, and more.

The event you plan should be specific to your products, but the idea is to take the time now when the season is less rushed to draw in potential customers for the whole year.

2. Think about smaller, more rural venues.

In the summer, one thing a lot of people like to do is get away – perhaps to the cottage or camping. For this reason, it makes sense in these months to focus on more rural retailers.

In many getaway locations there are fewer major retailers, or only one. If you can, get out to rural locations to make sure your products are being displayed properly and all information and stock is accurate (or work with a team like Storesupport Canada to visit these locations for you).

Alternatively, for city dwellers, you might consider offering “getaway” bundles or displays – things that travelers will likely need for their beach trip.

3. Reward travelling customers.

In a similar vein, if you know many of your customers are travelling for the holidays, why not incentivize them to stick with your brand while on the road?

Forbes suggests offering decent discount coupon if a customer share a photo of themselves on summer vacation wearing or using one of your products and tags you in the photo.

You can also work with smaller, local media to offer region-specific sales or give customers who purchase one summer-related item (like sunscreen) a coupon for a related product.

4. Create a limited-edition summer product.

You might also consider switching up your branding for the summer. For instance, Starbucks offered Lilly Pulitzer water bottles in a previous season. Florals are always popular for the summer, as are summer-specific attire like flip flops, sunhats, bathing suits, and more.

5. Think about how your all-season product marketing can be tweaked.

For manufacturers whom it doesn’t make sense to create new branding, or a limited-edition product, look instead at your retail marketing.

Even if you make an all-season product, there might be a way to re-think its uses for summer. For instance, a kitchen accessory manufacturer might create tongs – useful for all summer long – but in summer, they are particularly good for outdoor barbecues.

Or in food marketing, chocolate and marshmallows may be for sale all year long, but they are specifically used to make s’mores by the campfire in the summer. Why not remind shoppers of these possibilities?

6. Consider the product displays.

Part 3 of our Summer Retail Merchandising series will be diving into visual merchandising tips – stay tuned! – but we’ll mention it here as well: think about your brand’s product displays and where items are positioned in the store and online.

The simple act of grouping products together or creating a clever display name – Toys for Kids to Use on Rainy Days, for example – can go a long way to generating more sales.

With the relatively short summer window, it might be hard to get to all locations to check stock, change out displays, and more. This is where Storesupport Canada comes in! With our nation-wide team we can help manage your summer brand merchandising across the country.

Contact us today to learn more. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of our Summer Retail Merchandising series, coming out over the next two weeks.

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