Seasonal change has always been a huge part of the retail calender. Fashion retailers have four seasonal changes a year coinciding with the changing of the actual seasons, which is normally proceeded by a sale. This is all common knowledge. Charity retailers also carry out seasonal change overs that align with the changing of the weather, however we tend to have only two; one in Autumn and one in Spring.
High street retailers will often try to bring forward their seasonal changes in an attempt to get a jump on the competition. But this strategy isn’t as straight forward as simply being the first to blink and switching over your stock. Move too soon and the market will not be ready for you. Too late and your competition have gained the upper hand. This strategic game of chicken played by traditional retailers has always led to fantastic opportunities for charity retailers.
Traditional fashion retailers plan their shop layout changes every 3 months using science and data to optimise the customer flow and ensure they have the perfect product positioning in each store. It probably comes as no surprise that the vast majority of charity retailers don’t traditionally utilise this same science of shop layout planning. Whilst many have the capability to capture data within there shops it is seldom used to it’s full potential and, rarer still, coupled with their customer flow to optimise sales. The result? Every seasonal change becomes a risk that deoptimises the sales in every shop that gets it wrong.
With customer shopping habits changing in a way we’ve never seen due to Covid 19, ensuring your shop layout is correct has shifted from being extremely important to business-critical. It is essential that your retail teams are not just capturing but using data to ensure the product category space allocation is correct. This will guarantee good customer flow and category ratios, which ultimately lead to a higher return for every metre of retail space.
When carrying out your seasonal changeovers, always remember these top tips:
- Establish and utilise all of your hot spots
- Keep to the right category ratios (eg tops vs bottoms or fiction vs non-fiction) across all product categories.
- Consider the customer flow in each and every shop before implementing a new shop layout.
- Capture and use data to ensure that the product category space allocation is fully optimised.
- Measure optimisation by shop by using all of the data captured. There are 10 specific pieces of key data, which we call ‘The Magic Ten’, that should be measured per shop, each and every week.
- Ensure you have a robust seasonal storage strategy to keep the best brands of donated summer wear for next year irrespective of specific storage space challenges.