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Why You Need a Retail Calendar

By Jimmy Lamb

There are all kinds of opportunities for you when it comes to making money, but you need to be proactive rather than reactive to capitalize on them.  In fact, many opportunities are huge but short-lived so you have to be ready for the moment when it they happen, like Mothers Day.

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Being prepared for the moment is key for you and your business especially when dealing with retail products such as gifts and personalization.  That means planning ahead – way ahead.  The best way to get that done is with a retail calendar.

Most of us know the key holidays and celebrations within our countries.  It is important to note that there are also a lot of lesser-known events taking place every year.  These events could possibly be worthy of generating revenue.  Plus, most countries have many people of different ethnicities that may have celebrations that you are totally unaware of.  

Your first step is to go online and find a detailed calendar of world holidays, celebrations and events.  Go through it and choose the ones that you feel would be good choices for you to build marketing programs around.

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Now create your own retail calendar using this list.  For each event you will initially setup three dates as follows:
1. The event date
2. The preparations start date
3. The marketing start date 

The preparations start date is typically forty-five days in advance of the event date.  (There are exceptions such as Christmas where you should start planning about ninety days in advance.)

In the preparations phase, you will put together your marketing program which means creating samples, writing blog posts, making videos, creating promotions, planning social media messaging, etc.   These tasks will be put into action beginning on the marketing start date and continue until the event date.  This means you will need to assign dates for every marketing task and add them to your retail calendar.

Another part of preparations is making sure you have all the materials that you need on hand.  Ink, a spare waste ink tank, transfer paper, blow-out sheets, substrates, heat tape etc.  Remember that a lot of people wait until the last moment, so the worst thing that can happen to you is to run out of something vital right in the middle of peak sales.

If your business is more along the lines of fulfillment and B2B than B2C and/or personalization, you might be thinking that you don’t need a retail calendar.  Not true!  You just need a different kind of calendar.  

The majority of my business has always been fulfillment, on many different levels.  One key area was souvenir goods for the summer tourism market along the east coast of the United States.  The tourist season typically is Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.  When do you think the stores order their merchandise?  April?  March?  Nope. November and December.  

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In the beginning we were always too late to get the big orders, but learned the buying cycles.  Thus, we started showing up in November to show new products for the following season.  Stores would confirm orders by the end of December, but not take deliver until late spring.    Then it was time to look at fall tourism, quickly followed by winter tourism – in the middle of the summer.

We created a sales calendar for talking to existing and new retail clients in the right time frames for their preplanning.

Calendars are a great way to make sure your business is always ahead of the wave so that you are ready to ride it when it hits.  Today is a great day to start building one.  It may not be perfect the first time around, but it will get better as you go and believe me, it will really help you guide your business in a positive direction rather than floundering around hoping for the best.

And don't forget about our Premium Designs from Premier Artists.  With hundreds of retail themes, it's the perfect complement to your retail calendar.
 



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