Advertising - January Sales
( Originally Published 1902 )
New York clothiers are quite lively after the holidays in the matter of advertising, and, as a consequence, in the matter of trade. Pick up the Journal, World, Sun, or any of the metropolitan dailies, and you'll be sure to find several big clothing ads, each one clamoring for recognition, as representing the best values.
The window dressers of these concerns are very active at present, and many artistic clothing and men's furnishings windows can be noted in a Broadway saunter.
The same motive that induces the department stores to hold great sales through the year's first two months causes big movements in the clothing and almost every line of retaildom.
I had quite an interesting talk, recently, with the manager of one of the big Broadway clothing concerns. Said he
" Immediately after the holidays, business slackened fright-fully. We had splendid stocks-splendid values—and every inducement that any man desiring a suit of clothes or an over-coat could want. But trade walked right by our door, and, unless I am much mistaken, into the store of a concern down the street, which was advertising at a great rate. Well, sir, after four or five days of this sort of thing I woke up to the fact that a little strong advertising wouldn't hurt. So I began to advertise a certain line of suits and overcoats at certain prices. I dressed up a couple of windows with these same suits and prices, and trade jumped—yes, sir—jumped right in the store. I've kept up this sort of thing, and as a result we are doing quite a fair business just now."
His experience is a fair sample of many others. The retail clothing business should be advertised—and well advertised-through the dull January and February months. Pushing business thus reminds men of the need of an ulster for the big storms yet to come—of a business suit to replace the one which is a little seedy-of a pair of trousers—a coat and vest—a suit of underclothes—or any of the many requisites to a man's winter, wardrobe, which he may never think of until he sees that particular article staring at him from the advertising columns of a paper—rendered doubly attractive by a small price.
Price cuts, of course, prevail in the January stocks, and a man ought to be able to get a suit of clothes or an overcoat at a very material reduction from the figures of the early winter or fall. This is a point that should be everlastingly jabbed into the advertising.
Now a few remarks about the ads for 'a lively mid-winter campaign—clothing dizing—if I may coin such a word.
Saturday is a good day to start a big clothing sale, as most male workers get their weekly salary that day, and with many Saturday is a short business day, allowing them time to come around to the store and select their bargains.
Let us suppose, then, that Saturday is the day selected for the big clothing sale.
Thursday should see at least a preparatory announcement of the event. Friday should see the ad in all its glory. Have the ad well illustrated, as men always admire brevity and point, and illustrations help wonderfully in this regard. Thursday's preparatory announcement might read thus
It wouldn't be a half-bad idea to run in a cut of a well-dressed man in the attitude of watching for something-say presumably for The Year's Great Clothing Event.
Then the Friday ad might start in something like this begins tomorrow at our store. This is our great yearly effort to rid ourselves of fall and winter stocks, and prices have been cut deep and mercilessly. Every line of masculine wearables is now offered at prices that are by all odds the lowest we've ever quoted."
In the heading of this and future ads relating to this sale harp upon your reliability-your age in business—" your money back if you want it "—your ability to back every printed statement with the goods "exactly as advertised "—and all those sayings which make pleasant reading to possible customers.
Overcoats, ulsters, reefers, and mackintoshes should occupy at least half the space in the ads. The certainty of big rain, wind, and snowstorms before gentle spring again comes around, and the knowledge that suitable apparel for such exigencies at bargain prices can be had at your store, will send many men in your direction.
Furniture sales can be pushed about this time—providing the prices are low enough. Of course we all know that the fall and spring are the best seasons for furniture selling, but a well directed splurge in furniture advertising for three or four weeks in January and February can be made to produce surprisingly satisfactory results.
In a big furniture sale, which might be christened "A Mid-Winter Sale of Furniture," or "Our Mid-Winter Furniture Movement," or some such name, two or three full columns should be given to the first ad. This ad might be preceded by a short announcement, as in the clothing case.
The ad proper should have about Too lines of display heading and argument—a score or more of small cuts to illustrate the items, of which there could be several hundred-all set in agate or nonpareil lower-case, with the former price and the present price. The present price should be brought out in display. This will give you an idea of how the items should be set:
Formerly. Our Mid-Winter
37 Ladies' Writing Desks. .. 22.50 18.75
14 Oak Chamber Suits . .. 30.00 21.25