Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Post for Jason to Skip Over--The Fascinating Success of the Low-Key Markdown

Yesterday we were pondering the fate of our outdoor kids activity stuff. I decided to mark down some of the more expensive items. We'd rather not store them through the winter. It was a 25% reduction. I reprinted an inventory sticker, which listed our previous price and the new price. We'd been sitting on three sets of this frog game for six months; in about an hour, we sold our first one.

I have two similar stories about a journal that was a dud, and a toy lace-up shoe. Modest sticker, three copies of each sold through in weeks.

In my first year, I made big markdown signs, advertising 25-75% off. I added stickers to the items. I sold items at "garage sales." But when I've found is that a very subtle sticker indicating the markdown, with the item pretty much mixed in among our regular product, clears out merchandise without making the store look cheap.

Now we went a little more aggressive (don't worry--it should all fit on two book-filled tables) on fall holiday stuff this year (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and particularly Christmas) so I will have to markdown the leftovers, but I'm hoping I bought smart enough that it's not too much. If it doesn't work, we'll retrench next year.

Here's the take-away for my customers. Just because there's not a big sale sign up doesn't mean the price isn't good. You never know. And how this becomes a more interesting post--reading a few behavioral psychology posts makes me consider that some folks use a different part of their brain when shopping for books with us as opposed to gift items.

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