When summer approaches, retailers bring out the seasonal toys, gear, and supplies.

June 2016 retail sales are down 3.2 percent year over year according to Footwear News, but warmer temperature predictions throughout the rest of Q2 paint an encouraging picture. Recent minimum-wage increases give consumers additional disposable income for their summer adventures. The typical product selection revolves around being in the water, enjoying the sun, or playing in other outdoor locations. Brands match their toys to this theme to keep inventory relevant.

Summer Retail Doesn’t Stop at Toys

Sunscreen, bug spray, and other protective items also make their way onto the shelves. Consumers spend a lot of time on outdoor recreation, such as camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and boating. There are many opportunities to promote products related to these hobbies and activities, but misjudgment surrounding sales volume and trends could lead to poorly executed strategy. Your brand may end up with a lot of unsold inventory at the end of the season that goes into the clearance rack and reduces your profit margin. So, how do you optimize your summer retail execution?

Data Collection Leads the Way

Data collection tools help optimize marketing, execute POS, understand your competition, and choose the right stores for your products. You can track the effectiveness of new packaging, advertising campaigns, shelf placement, and hundreds of other sales factors by analyzing this information. Over time, you can effectively pinpoint the factors that lead to your sales success or failure.

Spend time looking at your competition’s seasonal retail execution as well. You don’t have access to their exact sales numbers, but you can compare how fast inventory moves and the type of items in stock. This business intelligence may tip you off to overlooked trends or help find underserved market segments.

You can have the best products and spectacular marketing, but if you’re in the wrong stores, you’re going to end up wasting money. Summer product sales are heavily influenced by the local weather, geography, and popular activities. Hiking shoes gather dust on Florida shelves, while snorkels languish in Idaho. Use data collection solutions to understand how your target market spends their time during the summer. For example, targeting stores near popular surfing locations is great for a surfer apparel and supplies brand. Technology gives you the opportunity to gain essential business intelligence. Use this knowledge to your advantage, whether you need a way to tweak your marketing or choose the perfect products.

How Can Offline Stores Compete?

Online giants such as Amazon have a seemingly endless selection in every category. Its Outdoor Recreation department encompasses everything from backpacking to extreme sports. The second annual Prime Day attracted millions of customers looking for Black Friday-esque deals in the middle of summer. Even if you don’t have the same resources as Amazon, it doesn’t mean your brand can’t carve out a healthy market share.

Seasonal products have strong ties to the store’s region. Your customers don’t need every outdoor supply in existence; they just need the ones relevant to their favorite activities. As such, create a carefully curated selection that meets local needs. Shoppers don’t want to wait multiple days to enjoy themselves or get necessary items. Your brand’s immediate availability will win you sales from even the largest e-commerce stores.

Seasonal summer supplies keep inventory moving during a traditionally slow retail period. You need deep insight into your target audience’s outdoor recreation preferences, regional trends, and your competition’s product selection. Data collection empowers your brand to optimize retail execution and get the most out of summer sales.

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