Festive selection boxes piled high

Reduced selection boxes sit next to premium priced Easter eggs this month

In the week between Christmas and New Year, I popped into our local supermarket to grab a couple of pints of milk.

A pile of Cadbury’s selection boxes, pictures of Father Christmas all over them, were stacked high in the entrance, reduced by 70%.  Christmas is over – who wants selection boxes?  Pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap.

Then as I made my way to the milk, I spotted something on the end of aisle seven that made me stop in my tracks.  I hadn’t even put my 2011 calendar up yet, and the supermarket was already selling Easter Eggs.  Yes, Easter eggs.  And Creme Eggs.  And Mini Eggs.  In December.

Planning ahead

While most of us were rushing around doing our last minute Christmas shopping and putting our decorations up…. the magazine editors were putting their March issues to bed, the chocolate manufacturers were taking chocolate eggs off the production line, and the garden centres were getting their Spring bedding plants ready.

The purpose of this story isn’t to make you want a Mini Egg (although admit it, you’d eat one if it was on your keyboard right now).  It’s to show you how far ahead you need to plan to capitalise on key celebrations during the year.

So this month, along with recycling my Christmas cards and taking back the impulse buys I bought in the Next sale, I’ve been writing posts with a Valentines theme.  Love it or hate it, the 14th of February is a big deal for retailers.

Anti Valentines Day card

It doesn't have to be all hearts & flowers - anti-Valentines Day stuff is a niche market

You’re not too late to offer Valentines goodies to your customers, but you’ll want to crack on before other retailers get their big red displays up in shops, and change their website homepages to everything hearts and love.

March also presents plenty of marketing opportunities for your small business that you can start thinking about now.

Here are some late Feb/March themes you might want to tie in with:

– The Academy Awards (27th February) – evening wear, award ceremonies, glitz and glamour, celebrities, paparazzi

– Spring – new beginnings, fresh start, seasonal flowers (the daffodil, crocus, snowdrops)

– International Women’s Day (8th March) – inspirational stories, a look back at women’s struggles, celebrating the females who’ve influenced your life

– St Patrick’s Day (17th March) – shamrocks, leprechauns, Guinness

– International Earth Day (20th March) – environmental, sustainable and green themes, upcycling

– British Summertime begins (27th March) – longer days, lighter evenings, warmer weather, clocks go forward an hour

The halo effect can help your business

Being a small business with a small marketing budget can be challenging.  But by looking at what else will be in the press and on people’s minds, you can benefit from promotion by other retailers.

If you can think of any others, share them in the comments below.

(And yes, I still bought a selection box, because I always want chocolate, whether it’s shaped like a snowman or an Easter chick, especially if it’s 70% off).

PS Subscribe now to get my Valentines post, 101 ways to make your customers love you.  Hugs and kisses til then, Lucy xxx