Keeping Retail Business Active
( Originally Published 1902 )
Nearly every retail business advertises. If it does not it will in the course of time. All signs point that way. Advertising is being more and more recognized as a legitimate and desirable business force. Acting on this line of thought it has been deemed desirable by several (as well as the writer) to give a few general hints as to how the average retail business should be advertised every month of the twelve. So here are the ideas —briefly put.
For January.—January generally opens with a clearance sale of holiday merchandise—followed by a pre-inventory sale—followed by the inventory sale—followed by the great January mark-down sale-followed by the usual shirt, linen, muslin underwear, upholstery, office furniture and such sales that are necessary to stimulate this ordinarily dull month into activity. Clothing prices suffer, which fact is well advertised.
For February.-February is a great month in which to pound prices on and liberally advertise masculine and feminine garments—push reduction sales in silks, dress goods and dress fabrics of all kinds—prepare sales of books, notions, house furnishings, blankets, underwear, hosiery, gloves, etc.; and an earnest effort is made about this time to effect a clearance on all winter goods for the new spring styles will soon show themselves.
For March.-March is the month when the advertising man has plenty of opportunities to prove his descriptive powers in introducing the new challies, silks, dress goods, millinery and spring goods generally. Advance exhibits are held on these goods and not only must he advertise them in the local papers but also by cards of invitation, circular letters and personal letters from salespeople to patrons with whom they have been long coming in contact. All winter goods have been materially reduced in prices and sales lasting a week or longer must be gotten up on the principal lines.
For April: More talk about the new Spring goods. (This is a line of advertising that can be made interesting through March, April and May.) A number of houses have a great sale of furniture, carpets, rugs and house furnishings generally about this time, as May 1st is considered a universal " moving day," and households generally are ready to furnish and refurnish their homes. Other April sales are held on Spring Garments for men, youths and boys as well as women, misses and children.
For May.-Early showings in summer goods and sales on spring merchandise represent the " order of the day " through-out the month of May. There is some activity in hammocks, trunks, bags, upholstery goods, furniture and house furnishings and such goods during this month. Spring clothing for both sexes is marked down and advertising to that effect is put forth with vigor. Implements for gardening, etc., beside seeds, bulbs, plants and trees sell freely during May.
For June.-Exhibitions of new Summer merchandise receive due consideration from the advertising man in June as well as " Sweeping Clearance Sales" on all sorts of spring goods. Warm weather needs like window screens, bamboo portieres, Chinese and Japanese mattings, rattan, willow and grass furniture, pictures and summer home decorations generally are in demand "to furnish or refurnish the summer home." Light, cool clothing and furnishings for people are in strong demand-push them! Now is the time for profits in such as well as in summer dress fabrics of every sort. Hammocks and outdoor games are good June sellers.
For July. Speak of the cool store you have-the prompt service and quick deliveries. (People have warm tempers during warm weather.) If you give them free iced drinks in the grocery department you score a point right there. Cut prices on summer goods and let the world know it. Push along special sales of upholsteries, carpets, rugs and household necessaries generally as " the Summer home " is now an important subject. Cool garments for feminine and masculine wear at the seashore, mountain resort, or in the city, are essentials and when advertised will win lots of trade. Push straw hats, alpaca coats, serge suits, flannel suits and light clothing generally, if you are a clothier.
For August.—The August sale of furniture is an important feature with many large stores. With it are seen special sales on accompanying household needs. The negligee shirt cries for advertising aid, so does the Panama hat and reduced prices on summer goods generally should be well advertised. Inventory usually comes in August--a week before it comes get up a pre-inventory sale, and when it comes along get up an inventory sale. The mid-summer clearance sale comes along about this time-push it for all it is worth. If handled properly this sale can be made to last two weeks.
For September.-Advance openings of autumn millinery, silks and dress fabrics generally, hats for men and boys, as well as many articles of apparel are now in order. The few remaining summer goods must be cleaned out at any cost. Furniture, carpets, rugs and house furnishings must be advertised to meet the eyes of those returning home after their summer vacations, and generally speaking September sees an active resumption of trade, which had been somewhat dull the two previous months.
For October.-Autumn merchandise in every style, shape and shade now beckons the public with fresh and fashionable features. Advertise this fact. Speak about the special sales of cool weather goods, and give some thought to pushing fall over-coats and suits for men and boys, besides garments for feminine use. Furniture and household necessities are good sellers this month. You can profitably make a feature of a sale of house furnishings. The grocery store or department should do a good business in October. In fact, all lines of retail business should now do a big business, and they will, provided the advertising man makes frequent rounds and publishes the results of his in.. vestigations with force and frequency.
For November.-Frigid weather is now on. Give the public frigid facts about your abundance of cold weather needs, and how your values give competition a chill. Furs are now beginning to show themselves. Winter styles are now side. by side with autumn ideas. In fact, some of the early autumn. arrivals have suffered marked reductions in prices—which should be advertised. A Thanksgiving sale of knives, forks, spoons and cutlery generally with groceries, wines, furniture and " fixin's for the Thanksgiving table" is a well-known November idea.
For December.—This is the holiday month-the month when " Santa Claus '' dominates every line of trade and almost every human mind. Subordinate everything to the holiday trade-concentrate every force upon it. From December 1st till about the loth the holiday selling is slow. Stimulate it with logical advertising, urging your patrons to begin their holiday buying " before the rush sets in." And when the rush does set in, as it will about the loth, be ready for it. The advertising now is of the suggestive order, rather than the bargain order. During the week between Christmas and New Year announce a radical reduction sale on all holiday goods. Look back on the year just ended and make plans for another year.