Monday, July 23, 2007

July isn't supposed to be this busy, right?

When the kids start itching to get out of school in May, it means that music shops better start hustling for sales. Whether its graduation recitals, music school auditions or music camps, that transitory phase before the summer schedule hits is critical for the shop's survival of the inevitable summer sales drought. This retailers sales are often presumed to go down, to be cash poor, overstocked, and serve up summer discount sales to hang on to customers.

How wrong could we have been! During our fourth of July week that we were closed, I had to make daily trips to process and ship these Amazon orders away. Granted, we're still new to selling on Amazon and many of these sales on small unit items like rosins and mutes, its the highest volume of sales we've had during the summer. The bows left with invoice copies asking for Les' bow rehairs have take up space on the rack. More little old grandmas and rural family members came by our shop to see if their heirloom was worth appraising or restoring.

In fact, this has been our most successful summers. In terms of sales, this July had more than twice the amount of transactions and volume of sales done from the previous years' summer. It's also the biggest amount of July sales in the history of the shop.

The reason? We're not sure. We've theorized that Amazon's spike in sales is a result of last minute orders or forgotten equipment for summer music camp needs. Perhaps, our online presence is starting to pay off at a regional level. This still doesn't explain our local foot traffic though which resulted in instruments being sold and major repairs on cellos. Who knows but who cares because being busy is good for business. As our boss has been saying around the shop, "Just when you think you know this business, you never's always changing."

I suppose then, what will August hold? A belated dry spell for retail sales in the violin world?
On the optimistic side, can we manage to hold the fort down during the month of August. I can't begin to imagine having to service those or back-to-school musicians needing instruments for their orchestra.

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