Is your business trapped in a Merchandise Mega-Trend downswing? Have your merchants shut you out, did they "ice" you after you mentioned that they are having problems?
Do something to help your merchandising team.
Find eight new items that show promise. New items are critical to the future success of your business. The faster you can get a new item to high-selling status, the lower the odds are of that item falling off a cliff.
In other words, go find eight new items that have demonstrated potential, and run a merchandising tournament. You are going to help your merchandising team look good.
Pick the eight new items, and seed them 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8, based on sales in the past month.
Next week, use email marketing to alert your customer base that you are having a merchandising tournament. Ask your customers to pick which item, of the eight, the customer expects to win the tournament (use Facebook & Twitter & Instagram & Pinterest to promote the tournament). If the item that the customer picks wins the tournament, give the customer something ... if you love discounts/promotions, then you're already giving away the farm, so no harm giving away 30% off or whatever your standard discount is.
Now, run the tournament!
On Monday, send out an email campaign, featuring #1 vs. #8.Sum up sales over the next twenty-four hours. The item that generates the most sales volume move into the semi-finals.
On Tuesday, send out an email campaign, featuring #4 vs. #5. Same rules apply.
On Wednesday, send out an email campaign, featuring #2 vs. #7. Same rules apply.
On Thursday, send out an email campaign, featuring #3 vs. #6. Same rules apply.
On Friday, use email to update your customers as to the semi-final qualifiers. Have a few interviews with the merchants responsible for the winning items - treat the merchants like Head Coaches, ask them about their chances in the semi-finals. Call out the upsets! Let your marketers do video as if they are hosts on SportsCenter. Try to have some fun. Maybe, for once, you will actually "engage" your customer base.
On Monday, run out the winner of 1/8 against the winner of 4/5. Same rules apply.
On Tuesday, run out the winner of 2/7 against the winner of 3/6. Same rules apply.
On Wednesday, use email and social media to prime the pump for the title matchup.
On Thursday, host the title matchup. Same rules apply.
On Friday, crown the champion. Any customer who purchased that item or picked that item to win gets a bounceback or some other promotion - you are always running promotions anyway, why not give the promotion some meaning?
There - you just did something to help your merchandising team grow the number of new, winning items! Do you think your merchandising team won't appreciate what you are trying to accomplish?
I know, I know, there's 57 reasons why you cannot do this ... and there's 87 reasons why I am an idiot to even suggest you do something clever in the dog days of summer when no customers are paying attention ... and there are 107 reasons why you don't have the in-house reporting to analyze the promotion in real time. Fine. Come up with something different. Be creative. What is your idea to promote new items?
For crying out loud, don't just sit there and watch merchandise productivity erode into nothing. Do something to help your merchandising team, and maybe your merchandising team will be more likely to work with you in the future.