The Holidays Aren’t Over Yet!

February 15, 2024 |

All of the holiday merchandise may be gone from the stores, but for CPG brands and retailers alike, the holidays aren’t over! Here are some helpful tips for recapping your 2023 performance and developing a great strategy for 2024.

Product Evaluation

Q4 presents a prime opportunity for CPG brands to showcase their specialty products, as retailers are already planning for Q4 2024. Strong sales during this quarter are essential for success in the industry. Did your seasonal items perform up to your expectations? Dig in to the data and see how well your seasonal items sold and answer these questions: 

  • Did this product meet or exceed sales expectations? 
  • If it did not perform as expected, is there any information that may provide a solid reason why? 
  • Are the reasons something that you can control? 

Answering these questions will help you to determine your strategy for this year. Reviewing your year-to-year inventory and sales while adjusting for any issues your team faced during the season is an important exercise to do with your entire line. Q4 is the highest volume period in the Grocery industry. Ensuring that supply chain is robust and ready for Q3 and Q4 is key to avoiding any major issues at retail. 

Underperforming Products

There are many reasons why a seasonal product may not meet expectations. Some, like supply chain, delivery timing, and price, are things a brand can control. Some, like poor retail execution, competition, and consumer trends, are outside of your control. Make sure you are researching trends and what your competition is doing in order to ensure your seasonal strategy is effective. If your seasonal offering is tired – how many pumpkin spice products do consumers need? – it may be time to retire that SKU or try something new. 

Time to Innovate

If you’ve decided to retire a seasonal item, what are you replacing it with? Innovation drives a lot of sales and often brings new customers to a brand, so it pays to have something new up your sleeve. However, it must be ready for presentations, production, and distribution at the beginning of the year – which can mean a really quick turnaround. While some retail buyers will accept a mock-up of your product, it is best-in-class to have your product samples ready for consumption during the presentation. It is also best to confirm that production and distribution will be all set for the seasonal product to hit the shelf. Submitting with confidence is key! If any of your critical factors are missing, it may make sense to push innovation to the following year and run with the current mix. 

Perfecting Your Seasonal Strategy

Retailers are already starting to review products for their 2024 assortment, so don’t delay! This is a critical period for retailers of all stripes and they are just as anxious to “get it right” as you are. Once you’ve answered all the questions regarding your 2023 seasonal performance, you can make a solid plan regarding forecasting, innovation and production. Ensure that your supply chain and production facility is good to go for this year’s manufacturing run. Make sure your distribution is lined up and don’t forget about your marketing plan! Shelf space is limited, so think through your “in and out” strategy – do you have a shipper? Can your product be stacked? Presenting alternative ways to display your product is a great way to differentiate your brand and solve a problem for the retailer. They’re always looking for new ways to improve go to market execution, and it will be a big benefit to your brand.

Seasonal items should play a part in your strategic brand development as the holidays present a great opportunity for product discovery and big sales. Making sure your brand is ready to deliver great seasonal items on time and on trend will lead to big wins in Q4!