May 13, 2014
Alas, it appears that the weather has finally broken from the long Winter and is catapulting us rapidly through Spring and knocking hard on the door of Summer. The Sun is shining consistently, the wind is balmy, the temperatures are eliminating the coats and sweaters. Soon pools will be opening, kids will be getting out of school, and vacation details are being finalized. Many are taking Saturday and Sunday drives with the tops down on convertibles, just enjoying the Sun, and getting out after being inside for a long Winter, as they travel to get soft ice cream or listen to outdoor concerts.
Events are many and often—Meet in the Streets, Block Parties, Chamber of Commerce sponsored outside activities, Prom season and golf tournaments. Baseball season is in full swing and many take in a game or two. Then there is Mother’s Day, the one day during the year that it seems almost everyone thinks about. Yes, it is a huge retail event, but it crystalizes our devotion and appreciation for our Mothers. It is really the first big family get together day of the year. Then comes Memorial Day when we commemorate our fallen heroes. It also signifies the beginning of the Summer, which is the season many of us enjoy the most.
Business owners need to embrace and stay focused in the Merry Month of May. With all the distractions available and the euphoria generated, many will easily lose focus. This is where the discipline to stay focused can pay huge dividends. Businesses that are positively impacted by the good weather need to be focused and prepared to take advantage of the increased shopping, people wanting to be out and about and idyllic weather that generates the good feelings which cause some to enjoy, really enjoy—possibly loosen up their money belts and spend.
Considering the billions of dollars spent on Mother’s Day, the retailers, florists, have the opportunities to make or break their year during the weeks leading up to it. If they are not prepared with merchandise, marketing, pricing, staffing, training, operations and the proper mindset to maximize their sales, they can leave a lot on the table. The same can be said for those that are able to support and participate in outside activities—block parties, outside concerts, baseball—being prepared, in stock, marketing, staffing, etc., have the ability to make a participatory event into a homerun for the business.
Many retailers have made all Holidays such as Memorial Day a big sales event. Some of this is by thinking outside the box, some is just by following the leader. Many years ago I worked for a catalog showroom that sold primarily Jewelry. As a result our history told us Memorial Day weekend was not a big sales month, however we decided to make Memorial Day an event. With sharp pricing, key bargains, aggressive marketing, and proper staffing we took a beach, cookout weekend and turned it into a huge sales and profit weekend for us, adding millions to the bottom line.
Businesses that slow down during the Merry Month of May need to think creatively and take advantage of May purchasing and create their own events that may cater to Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, outside activities and the warm weather. The key is staying focused. Remaining focused despite all the distractions and making lemonade out of potential lemons.
Listening to the lyrics from the song from Camelot—the Merry Month of May enlivens, excites, and creates a tremendous sense of being enjoying the fruits of life. Business owners have the opportunity take advantage of this and to make it truly a Merry Month of May.