At the end of every year it’s the same, sad story – low sales at FlagandBanner.com. All the profits made in the Spring and Summer months are lost in the Winter, as I keep my staff employed and our ship erect. Sleepless nights are a given, as I ponder how long the sales drought will last.
During the busy season, we kid ourselves that this year will be the exception. That, because of our clever marketing, our customers will still be buying flags and flagpoles in the winter. But unless (God forbid) there is a war, they never do.
A few decades back, to offset this downturn, I began a retail store with the slogan: “More Than Just a Flag Store.” It sells both online and in-store Americana themed gifts, Christmas ornaments and Razorback paraphernalia. But alas, even on a busy day, these sales in no way add up to that of a big Spring festival banner job or a car lot flagpole. With this thought in mind, my staff and I tried a different advertising approach this year.
During the marketing meeting we made a calculated decision to move our allocated November and December advertising funds from local TV and newspaper to nationwide direct mail. We designed the most beautiful 32-page catalog, showcasing our most popular, big-ticket items and mailed it to our customers. The results in November were promising, but December, it was business (or should I say NO business) as usual.
After 40+ years in the business of selling flags and banners, it is time I faced the fact “there is no silver bullet” for the winter months. The only solution I can think of is adding a new product line to our sales inventory, preferably something non-perishable that can ship out of my warehouse and, of course, sells in the winter months.
I’ve been racking my brain…Christmas Trees? (can’t afford a farm), Grapefruit? (got to live in Florida), Coffee (hmmmmm) …..Help! It’s harder than you think.
Send suggestions, please, so this sad story doesn’t repeat itself at next year’s end.