Franchises for sale: knowing your market


Franchises for sale: knowing your market

When it comes to promoting your business or franchise, knowing your customers is key.

Partly this means building relationships or conducting market research so you can understand and react to their needs, but also gaining factual evidence relating to buying patterns is critical to allow the market to be understood as a whole. Knowing who purchases what and when, means your products and services can be placed in the right place at the right time, in order to maximise sales opportunities.

The greeting card market is a good example of this concept. Throughout the year, sales of cards are fairly constant.

However, sales peak up to certain key calendar dates like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and, of course, Christmas. Without understanding the figures, it would be easy to assume that sales increase gradually up to each date. In reality this is not always the case.

For some of the key retail outlets Card Connection’s products are distributed in, such as petrol stations and convenience stores, the sales figures reveal a relatively constant uptake in advance of the occasion date, with sales increasing markedly the day before or on the key calendar date.

For example Card Connection figures show sales of Christmas Cards and Gift Wrap stays fairly static throughout the run up to Christmas, then peak sharply to a high point on Christmas Eve. Sales of single Christmas Cards are in fact, 12 times higher on Christmas Eve than in the week prior to Christmas. This is not a one-off phenomenon; sales data over several years identifies an almost identical trend year-on-year.

Last-minute shopping

Perhaps surprisingly, figures also show that the second best day for single Christmas Card sales is actually on Christmas day itself, wsurprisingly, figures also show that the second best day for single Christmas Card sales is actually on Christmas day itself, with sales in some outlets, eight times higher than the week before. This essentially reflects the fact that Card Connection consumers use forecourt and convenience outlets to purchase ‘distress’ items at the last minute.

Identifying seasonal trends or other factors that influence sales can be useful when it comes to planning product distribution or promotional activity

Armed with this important statistical information, Card Connection’s franchisees can ensure the right stock is in place at the right time to maximise sales. For other businesses, spending time reviewing buying patterns to see if there are seasonal trends or other factors that influence sales can be useful when it comes to planning product distribution or promotional activity.

The other area of important data that is frequently overlooked by organisations is the recording and analysis of where sales or business enquiries actually originate from. Such evaluation can show the increased numbers of new business leads generated for the time of any promotional activity or campaign.

It is essential to have a record or a spreadsheet of the leads and how the customer arrived at the decision to choose your organisation, product or service. This can show which elements of a promotional campaign are most successful and is invaluable for future planning and marketing budget allocation.

Marketing or promoting your business is a matter of making your target audience aware of your products or services and letting them know what makes your company and its offering unique. There are many ways of achieving this and what works best for your company, will be discovered – to some extent - by trial and error.

However, to improve your chances of success, the more the existing marketplace is understood, the more effort can spent promoting your products and services in the right place at the right time.

More successful decisions will also be made when it comes to creating a marketing plan. Statistical analysis compared with mere assumption can be particularly helpful in relation to making such choices.

Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, the largest publicly owned greeting card publisher in the world and has limited vacancies for franchisees who are keen to run an expanding business. Successful candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, they would be expected to employ a small team, operate a warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.

 

About The Author

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Andrew Cutler 
Andrew Cutler is franchise director for Card Connection, the UK's leading greeting card franchise.