We’ve been living in a topsy turvy world in 2020. None of us will ever forget the twists and turns we have been faced with since the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK back in March – but now, just a few days away from the turn of the year, it feels like we can finally draw a line under what’s gone before and turn our attention to the things we need to do to grow our businesses in 2021 (in line, of course, with the future of fashion retail).
Chances are you’ve got loads of great plans in the pipeline already, but have you thought about what your labelling and merchandising strategy is going to look like in the New Year?
If not, don’t worry – there’s still time to get ahead. Here, we’ve put together a blueprint to help you plan for the right products at the right time and navigate your 2021 promotions as confidently and cost-effectively as possible.
What to do right now, in December 2020
Spend some time taking stock of how your business has performed this year, and specifically, how well your promotional assets have worked as part of your overall advertising campaign.
Can you honestly say that you invested as much time, energy and cash into your merchandising output in 2020 as you should have?
Right now, are you really holding up amongst your competitors when it comes to the look and feel of your labels, tickets, hangers, bags, boxes, and promo cards?
If you feel that your labels, packaging and promotional merchandise could do with a bit of an overhaul, contact the team here at Hallmark Labels now. It’s not too late to book in a quick consultation before Christmas so we can discuss your ideas in more detail, provide you with accurate costings for different product requirements, and help you put together a plan of action for January and beyond so you can hit the ground running after your well-earned festive break.
Bursting into January 2021
Now is the time to action all those ideas you’ve been stewing over for the last few weeks! Refresh your designs, sign off your printing quotes, and start stocking up on brand new products that will add some much-needed pizzazz to your marketing efforts in the months to come.
If your business usually makes a big deal of Valentine’s Day, you will also need to think carefully about how you can inject a little romantic sparkle into your labels, packaging, and other assets that you use to promote yourself. Give your business a good few weeks to organise and approve Valentine’s-inspired designs, and make sure you take print lead times into account when planning the distribution of any Valentine’s assets.
Prepping for Easter in February
While you’re rolling out your Valentines Day products, you’ll need to be preparing your Easter campaigns behind the scenes. (In case you hadn’t spotted this pattern yet, it’s always good to prep for seasonal promotional activities well in advance, with months to spare if possible.)
Now is also a good time to come up with more unusual merchandising ideas that will add a little bit of intrigue to your campaigns later in the year. If you’re stuck for inspiration, don’t hesitate to give our staff a call. We’re great at finding new and exciting ways to zhuzh up existing products with different textures, finishes and designs, and we can use our extended range of printed merchandise – which includes our security seals, branded anti-return ribbons, tactile dome labels and bubble mailing bags – to take your existing products to the next level.
Shaping up for summer in March
Around about now, you’ll be starting to feel like winter is coming to an end. As we go into March, it’s important to use this spring-clean energy to explore ways of engaging and impressing your customers in the summer months.
When your events calendar starts to kick in (COVID permitting, of course), consider what kind of merchandise you might need to maximise your physical presence at any exhibitions, trade shows, seminars, or festivals you plan to attend.
Our clients typically like to create branded promo cards for specific summer campaigns or revamp their branded packaging boxes and bags with brighter, bolder shades to reflect the change in seasons. Again, the trick here is to plan, design and print your summer merch well before you’re going to need it.
Getting spooky in June and July
Assume it’s the middle of the year, and events are in full swing. You’ll be busy making the most of the great weather, catching up with your connections, and pushing your summer promotions. At the back of your mind, however, you’ll need to think about how your brand is going to capitalise on Halloween at the end of October.
From creating special edition bespoke mailer bags to packing every product with Halloween-themed custom printed tissue paper, there are plenty of ways you can add some scare factor into your merchandising strategy. As always, the key is to make sure your Halloween efforts are carefully planned; if you pull together your merchandise at the last minute, you may struggle to find a printer that can accommodate rush projects, and you may not get the best price possible on your orders.
Using the summer to get Christmas sorted
The last thing you’ll want to be thinking about in soaring temperatures and glorious sunshine is Christmas, right? Wrong! Label manufacturers and merchandising specialists like us tend to get extremely busy in the run-up to the festive season, so to make sure you have everything you need to smash your Christmas strategy, we would always recommend brainstorming ideas in July and August with a view to committing to orders and getting your shipments organised before the autumn.
We recently put together a blog on how to use the Christmas period to your brand’s advantage.
Regrouping in the winter
Fast forward to September 2021, and, if you’ve followed our advice, you should be looking forward to running your Halloween and Christmas promotions without a hitch!
With the kids going back to school and some sort of normality resuming after your summer travel plans (COVID willing!), it will probably be a hectic time for you both personally and professionally – but much like you did towards the end of 2020, you need to shift your focus to the future and start plotting your approach for 2022.
Events to keep an eye on in 2021
At Hallmark, we’re committed to making sure our services are geared up to cater for our customers’ demands. We attend several events every year, but our favourite by far is Pure London (and not just because it’s usually just down the road from our Loughton HQ at the Olympia in Kensington, West London).
Pure London consistently brings together some of the brightest minds in the fashion space to showcase new collections, explore new trends, and bring industry players together. Normally, the show would take place twice a year, but thanks to COVID disruption, the next physical event is planned for September 2021 (although it looks like a virtual forum, Fashion Together, is going to go ahead towards the end of February). You can learn more about this popular bi-annual ‘festival of fashion’ here.
If you’re in the fashion retail arena, you would definitely benefit from signing up for Pure Origin, another London-based event. It’s the UK’s only fashion sourcing show that brings the entire fashion supply chain together, and it’s known to engage and inspire all kinds of influential manufacturers and suppliers from around the world. The organisers take a strong eco stance, too, so it’s a must-visit if you need help introducing more sustainable ways of working into your business.
We wish you every success with your marketing and advertising campaigns in 2021, and hope your business continues to go from strength to strength! And remember, for advice, fresh input and a professional’s perspective on your upcoming labelling and merchandising requirements, you can always book in a chat with one of our experienced team members, who will be happy to help.