Seasonal Sales Strategy: Lessons from Sunscreen

Seasonal Sales Strategy: Lessons from Sunscreen

Summertime means fierce competition in certain categories. We examined sunscreen and identified three common issues encountered by brands with seasonal products.

Summer is about to start in Australia, which means a few categories are about to get a lot more popular. Among these are bottled water, ice-cream and sunscreen.

These are seasonal products, meaning their sales and profits fluctuate regularly during a specific period of the fiscal year.

Many brands spend most of the year planning their sales strategy for the summer season, which can be responsible for 50% or more of their annual sales. Sunscreen is a perfect example. The demand for sunscreen rises substantially between December and February.

These are three issues we noticed from examining sunscreen:

  1. Price Competition
  2. Shelf Execution
  3. Facing Management

Price Competition

When summer rolls around, sunscreen brands engage in market-wide price competition. Prices usually go up before the season starts and then down as summer approaches.

Have a look at Neutrogena Body and Face Sunscreen (88g). Note the frequency and depth of price promotion.

The price starts at $15.99 in August, then drops to $9.99 in September and ends at $8.49 in October. Based on these reductions, it appears Neutrogena hopes to boost market share by lowering prices.

With this level of competition, it’s important for brands to watch the shelf and track prices weekly in order to respond appropriately.

Shelf Execution

Higher demand in the summer means more sales, which is good news. But in order to take full advantage of a seasonal boom, you have to make sure your shelves are in order.

During this period, it’s common for sunscreen brands to push other categories aside – increasing shelf space and taking the spotlight on the beauty shelves.

This actually poses a challenge to good execution, since higher demand can mean lower store efficiency. There are many stores across Australia that have trouble replenishing these products on time. 

Have a look at these retailers with voids on the shelf already:

Look out for stores like these. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about. Especially if you don’t have access to store level sales numbers. 

Facing Management

NPDs are highly concentrated during seasonal sales. Brands usually launch new products during high season to improve market performance. This tends to increase the number of facings on the shelf.

Categories in which sales are seasonally driven, like sunscreen, are ‘elastic’ for a certain period of the year to accommodate NPDs and the regular portfolio. But this doesn’t mean that each brand will keep its number of facings. Usually, brands with poor on-shelf execution free up facings for competitors.

Don’t give your competitors that advantage. Keep an eye on your shelf execution and number of facings.

Conclusion

Don’t let these seasonal challenges ruin your brand execution. Watch your brand weekly across different stores in Australia. By doing so, you can track competitor promotions, avoid long term voids and fix poor execution.

After a few weeks of watching and collecting data, you will have a dashboard to manage your brand and important insights to plan a successful seasonal sales strategy.

Aglo specializes in collecting and analyzing in-store photos (like the ones featured in this article). Contact us now to stay on top of your category this summer.

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