After The Holiday Rush
( Originally Published 1902 )
After the holiday rush, comes what? After the hurry and hustle, the noise and excitement, the throngs incident to Christmas shopping of excited feminine-kind, and still more excited mankind, comes a period of lassitude as welcome to the over-worked employees as it is undesirable to the enterprising employer.
The enterprising employer enters his store the day after Christmas or the day after New Years, as the case may be, and as he gazes about at the deserted aisles and listless clerks behind remnants of holiday wares, he decides that instant action should be taken to inject some life into trade. Stagnation is fatal-an undesirable stock of unseasonable goods is not to be thought of. Something must be done—and that right quick. Put yourself in his place. First of all, dispose of the left-over holiday wares. Take a good-sized space—a quarter-page space, or, if you think you can afford it, a half-page space—in your local papers, and announce a speedy reduction sale of holiday stocks. Announce the fact eloquently and boldly that the knife has cut deeply into the prices of toys, books, handkerchiefs, embroideries, slippers, etc., etc.-that twenty-five per cent., thirty-three per cent., or even fifty per cent. reductions prevail in all departments that carry anything in the shape of holiday goods. And live up to your ad-of course this is a trite business maxim, but it can stand repeating. Keep pounding away on this sale for a week, ten days or two weeks—give plenty of items and prices and good-sized spaces to the newspaper announcements, and you'll be surprised to learn that you have rid yourself of a lot of stuff which represents an incubus of the worst possible order. No live merchant wants to carry over, season after season, a lot of goods; it is far better to turn them quickly into cash, even at the expense of anticipated profits, or even at a dead loss.
Of course, while this talk is aimed at the department-store manager or the general country merchant, the principal can well be carried into almost every line of retaildom. The furnisher and clothier will try to rid himself immediately of the left-overs in the line of smoking jackets, smoking-caps, silk handkerchiefs, embroidered suspenders, etc., etc., and if he makes the right prices and properly announces the same through advertising channels, he can find plenty purchasers shrewd enough to accept his inducements. The furniture dealer finds himself with a few smoking-tables and ladies' writing-desks on hand which he expected to sell during the holiday trade. He will find it good policy to make them travel fast with the twin motors of little prices and clever publicity.
Now about the right sort of an ad for such a sale. As I suggested before, a good-sized space is advisable for the general store. Have the reading something like what is given in the square space furnished opposite:
"HOLIDAY GOODS TO GO INSTANTLY!
They're Going Now—They're Going Quickly!
"We don't want 'em—perhaps you do. Anyway here are price inducements enough to to make your eyes blink and your brain think. For the next week or so you can indulge in the rarest bargain pickings in the following departments:"
Have the headlines six or seven-line DeVinne or Howland type, and the succeeding heading in three or four-line same type. The body of the heading could be worked to advantage in two-line lower case De Vinne, and the sub-headings of the departments in the same type as the secondary headline. The initialory talk that might follow the department headline should be set uniformly in two-line lower case De Vinne. The items could be set in Small Pica, with the prices, of course, in caps. As a specimen of initiatory talk under a department head, I append the above sample.
If this ad is illustrated, so much the better. I am a firm believer in illustrations—they lose no time in telling stories. Plain type tales require a little time to mentally assimilate-pictures flash their points on the brain at once.
At the end of a week or two you will find yourself with a very depleted stock of holiday goods—so depleted in fact that you will find lots of room for advance shipments of spring stocks.
But do not advertise your advance spring stocks yet. There is plenty of time for that. People find themselves after the holiday season rather short of ready cash, and the little cash they have is only going to be expended when a genuine bargain hap-pens along. Now this is when you ought to be ready with your genuine bargains.
You have taken your inventory. What then? Well, you have discovered you have quite a stock of goods on hand that you would prefer to have in the cus-
tomer's possession—every inventory reveals that very interesting fact. Get up an Inventory Sale, which might start in as the example given opposite.
The typographical arrangement in this instance could be about the same as with the sale of holiday stocks. In the department captions a little variety might be injected by the use of " Inventory Sale of " immediately preceding the department title. Thus: " Inventory Sale of Dress Goods," " Inventory Sale of Upholstery," "Inventory Sale of Furniture," etc., would make a pleasing arrangement to the eye. Of course, you cannot lay too much stress on the necessity of having genuine bargains, as well as having every statement in the paper substantiated with actual values.
About this time you might in the silent watches of the night sit down and write a column or two about your store-what an immense selling space you have, and how much money you have spent in decorating the ceiling of the upholstery and furniture department, and other interesting data, and perhaps you can induce your local paper to run the write-up in its columns. If the paper is enterprising and clear-headed it will be only too happy to accommodate a good advertiser about this season of the year in the matter of a write-up, and a write-up, if skilfully done, is a very important aid to a January business.