Q4 is Almost Here; Are You Ready?
The final quarter of the year, known as Q4, is pivotal for game store retailers. As the holiday season intensifies, retailers must be fully poised to seize the opportunities this bustling period offers.
The Labor Factor
Labor requirements during Q4 can diverge considerably based on a store’s locale and distinct situations. In college towns, the back-to-school rush can dramatically sway staffing needs, check out what we think about back to school time. Moreover, events like holiday strolls can exponentially boost customer visits. With the growing trend of online shopping, extra personnel may be necessary for stores that offer this option. As more consumers lean towards online platforms to sidestep crowded in-person holiday shopping, managing this surge becomes vital.
Store Hours Adjustments
Amidst the holiday commotion, some retailers might think about modifying their operational hours, especially during holiday breaks and the frantic shopping spree leading up to Christmas. Such extensions can bolster sales and cater more adeptly to the parents and gift buyers for your players. Keeping in mind gift buyers, who are juggling work hours and potential weather disruptions, staying open later can be a boon for these customers to make it in to you to be able to make their purchase.
Prepping for Winter’s Wrath
Winter’s unpredictability, especially regarding weather, demands forethought. It’s essential for stores to have well-defined strategies for adverse weather scenarios. This not only ensures the safety of staff and patrons but also promises uninterrupted business operations, even when conditions are less than favorable. Regular updates via social media, websites, emails, Discord (join ours here), or text alerts about potential weather-induced closures or hazards can keep customers informed.
Capitalizing on Major Events
The millions of dollars of advertising budgets of mainstream stores, particularly during spectacles like Black Friday, present an opportunity for smaller retailers. As customers are already primed to spend, aligning promotions with these prominent sales events can funnel traffic into stores and ring up impressive sales. It’s time to strategize which product lines can be advertised with promotional discounts and identify products slated for discontinuation for the next year. Making sure you are following MAP, Minimum Advertised Price, will help build better relationships with publishers who are active in looking for MAP violations. Also keep in mind that MAP means advertised. Feel free to discount products you know are slated to be removed from your shelves. If you are looking to maintain a relationship with the publisher for their other product lines, just don’t advertise the sale. Discount in store and move the products out.
Hot Launches and Adjacent Products
With highly anticipated releases, such as Disney’s Lorcana, retailers with the product in stock stand to benefit immensely. Furthermore, complementary products like Disney Funko Pop figures or Disney LoungeFly bags can enhance sales, increasing the average sales ticket. While last-minute orders in November and December may be challenging, those pursuing this in the mid-year months can still capitalize on these add-on items to sweeten the deal to your customers. Offering bundle discounts such as Buy One, Get X% off helps increase sales and gives a feeling to your customers that they received a great bargain price.
End-of-Year Inventory Management
Year-end inventory assessments aren’t solely for tax purposes; they also provide pivotal business insights. Recognizing stagnant stock, deciding on product lines to phase out, and estimating space for next year’s launches are all key factors. Techniques like clearance sales, eleventh-hour holiday promotions, or bundled deals can proficiently minimize surplus stock by year-end. As always, consult your accountant regarding the specifics of inventory valuation for state and federal tax submissions.
Q4 provides many opportunities and challenges for game store retailers. From labor adjustments and operational hours to inventory management and capitalizing on significant events, the stakes are high. Will you be entering the new year with your dead inventory gone and a sizable amount of capital to invest in new products or will you have dead inventory that you aren’t sure how to get rid of in the coming months while new releases keep churning out. Retailers equipped with a lucid strategy, fine-tuned to their individual needs, stand primed to harness the full potential of this crucial quarter.