Sales, everyone loves a sale right? Many of us creatives are not natural promoters or business people for that matter. Funny that. However, if you can turn your creative talents to the commercial side of the game and flourish. You have heard of creative accounting, right?! All it takes is a little lateral thinking across some well-trodden paths of retail and these don’t need to be cheap tactics, although a little of that does not hurt. We all understand the needs of a business and the need for successful sales.
Many photography products are commonplace and easy to find, much like most consumer products, so it is important to make sure your products in this category stand out. Also, the products that are not so common will need a bit of extra thought on how they are promoted. Not all retail outlets run sales and stand apart on that basis – it is a sales tactic all of its very own. By doing this, they are placing themselves in a high value environment and relying on the assurance that customers receive from this very act. Risky but it can work.
- A permanent SALES section. There is nothing wrong by committing to this approach as people will always search this option and some people only search this option so why deny it. Crucial to this is being regular as those people will always check in. They will check in a lot less if they find the same items always there.
- Levels of sale. Many established retailers have a pyramid approach to displaying their sale items. 20%, 30%, 50% or as much as 70% or even 80% off, is not unlikely. Obviously the higher the discount the smaller the margin for your business but holding stock also means it is taking up space that new, more exciting products can take.
- Communication. Promoting your sale in the right places is a key ingredient. Getting people to talk about it, creating a buzz and tapping into those customers that really care about a particular product can really drive the sale. Groupon is being increasingly used by photographers to drive volume.
- Time-sensitive promotion. Getting people to talk about it often means placing a time limit of the promotion, as they will place a natural urgency on the situation. Urgency means people will feel like they are missing out.
- New product sale. This may sound odd, but the psychology of this tactic is sound. It has the dual benefit of both introducing a new product by way of promotion and giving customers the chance to buy it at a reduced price for a very limited period. This produces urgency and a way of testing the market.
- Pre-sale promotions. It is not always clear which products will work and which will not. By offering items up before it is possible to buy them, there is the opportunity to really gauge interest in them. It may result in those products not appearing at all or perhaps ordering in more stock of one particular product over another.
Running sales will bring the market seller out in you so be careful not to get carried away by selling at all cost. Sales are good, ruining your margin is not. This will also give you an insight into how much time you should spend doing promotions versus other aspects of the business such as workshops or classes. Time management and what is most profitable is the key to success.