3 steps to adapt your product by season

Whenever there is a change of season in your market, it will be important for you to revisit your marketing mix to check whether you should adapt your product to match the season.  You can remind yourself about that process here.

This post describes 3 steps that you can take so that you will take that decision with confidence.

You can act upon today’s guide in preparation for any season. Good marketers will always think one season ahead to anticipate their customers’ needs.

I illustrate today’s topic with a flower full of pollen. All allergy sufferers know that summer is peak production time for pollen. Flowers and plants create what they need in summer to guarantee their reproduction process. Pollination between plants creates fruit with seeds that will ensure their longevity. Likewise, you can take steps each season to protect your long-term survival.

3 steps to adapt your product by season

1. Identify if you need to adapt

Importantly, as a marketing-led business, you will know that you only need to change your product if your customers make changes for that new season. As honeybees are abundant in Spring and Summer so flowers have adapted to produce pollen at those times. By monitoring your customers’ needs by season, you can identify whether your market is changing. Your customers might change their behaviour and their expectations of your service.

By understanding the demand cycle of your market through the year you can anticipate your customers’ needs. You can do this by examining your own customer records. A review of your sales data will show when you have had peaks or troughs in the year. Ideally, do this for as many years as you can. By comparing the data across several years do you notice any patterns in sales? If your sales are always sluggish in the summer, do you know why? Are you customers overseas, or preoccupied with children on school holidays? If you’re not certain, talk to your customers to find out why, or monitor their social posts. Once you know why there is a seasonal dip in sales, you can start planning.

2. How to adapt your product by season

You can adapt your product range by altering the product’s design, materials or colour palette. A good example is Kate Spade’s luxury, designer handbags. Kate Spade adapts her range of handbags and accessories in response to their customers’ behaviour by season. For summer 2021, they have brought out a range of practical, spacious tote bags that are ideal for the seaside or travelling, instead of smaller evening bags. You can get some inspiration from her here.

You might also need to extend your product range to capture new demands or features required by the season.

3. Make the business case

Next, it might not make sense for you to introduce a seasonal range.

There will be manufacturing issues requiring careful thought before you can introduce a seasonal variation. Firstly, does the production lead-time mean that this is a practical opportunity? Secondly, think about the cost structure of your business. Creating a seasonal range might make financial sense if additional costs can be minimised. For example, Kate Spade handbags can use the same machinery in her factories and make minor changes to the template that is used for the design. Her fixed manufacturing costs – machinery, workforce and factories – remain unchanged whether there is a seasonal adaptation or not, so she is using spare capacity. Seasonal adaptations work best when alterations to the core product are minimal and the packaging can be adapted. This is a technique used profitably by many confectionery brands. 

So, when you have completed these 3 steps you will know if you can adapt your product by season to satisfy more customers’ needs profitably.