Defining Selling Seasons

The gift industry is segmented into two primary buying seasons:

  • The winter/spring buying season (for purchase of summertime and travel industry inventory)
  • The summer/fall buying season (for purchase of holiday inventory)

As a result, you will see lots of activity in the industry centered around these two periods. For example, large wholesale gifts tradeshows for the summer retail buying season are mostly in January and February. Shows for the holiday buying season are mostly in August (but as early as June and late as September).

I found that large buyers, such as chains or “big box” stores, can bury a manufacturer or importer with one order. Most large producers in the gift industry often require an order date several months out, and make products “to order”.  Companies with multi-million sales levels NEED that lead time to stay competitive and profitable.

In my mostly rural territory, I find that April and May are peak buying and ordering months for summer merchandise, and October and November are prime for holiday merchandise. (Don’t get me wrong, sales in March and June, and September and December are still good!)

In more urban areas, or if you call on larger accounts, you may find sales more spread out, or that the peak is earlier in the year for both seasons.

Since much of Idaho offers a busy tourist industry for summer outdoor activites, spring is a busy time for me.  Traveling to mountain and lake resorts in the spring is one of the most pleasurable parts of my job.  Sales are constant and steady during this time.

The holiday buying season is shorter – running primarily from mid-September until mid-November.  Sales and requests from buyers can be fast and furious during this time as stores get ready for their biggest buying season of the year.  Often buyers seem mentally “scattered” as they are bombarded with high volume sales and customers.  By this time, most of the tourist based stores have either quit buying or even closed for the year giving you time to work with your urban area stores.  Depending on our specific territory and product offering, fall can easily be the busiest time of the year.

 

3 comments for “Defining Selling Seasons

  1. Zainab Hardwarewala
    March 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Excellent post. Thank you for answering my questions.

  2. April 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Sandy:

    Do you recommend trying to set an appointment with gift shops or just simply dropping by. If an appointment needs to be set, how do you suggest doing that? Thanks! Ken

  3. April 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Ken,

    There are many different opinions surrounding the option of cold calling or selling appointments. Personally, I found cold calling to be effective, but then it depends on the store.

    You might want to check out my post on the subject: http://sellingtogiftshops.com/2009/06/18/making-appointments-vs-cold-calling/

    Good luck,
    Sandy

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