Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers.

Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers.

Ideas To Reduce Markdowns That Deserve Your Undivided Attention – Right Now Before Your Sales Start!

Gardening really isn’t my thing.  How about you?  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being surrounded by the beauty that flowers provide.

You also know that I love numbers and processes.  I was ecstatic to learn that there was a secret formula to creating beautiful container gardens like the one pictured here.

You need to have thrillers, fillers and spillers.  The thrillers are the plants that provide the height in the container.  The spillers fall over and down the sides, while the fillers take up the middle section.  Easy, right?

The coincidence is that this accurately describes the inventory in your store RIGHT NOW.

The thrillers are the best items that you probably have already forgotten about.  They sold right away – your customers and staff loved them.

Spillers are the mistakes.  Let’s be honest.  You will be staring at these for a little while longer.  These items are already marked down – at least for my clients they are.  The first markdown is the cheapest.  If you have a fashion store and an item hasn’t moved at all after 3 weeks, I usually tell my clients to take 20% off the price right away.  Perhaps in your store, the spillers are already marked down even further now.

The problem is the fillers.  The rest of the store is filled with the items that have sold ‘ok’.  What to do about them?  This is what you can do to increase sales right now.  Go out on the floor and gather your staff around.  Pick one item up in front of them.  Take a breath.  Look at it.  What made you choose it in the first place?  Find 3 redeeming qualities about it and share those with your staff.

That is the secret.  Because your staff is bored with the fillers.  Admit it.  You probably are too.  And you are ready for the next season.

STOP – The season is NOT over yet.  There is more profit to be gotten from these items.  

They don’t need to be marked down yet.  But you do need to sell them.


First, do some re-merchandising to highlight them one more time! Put them on floor fixtures, on the front table, around the counter and in the windows.  How many times has a customer said, “When did you get this in?”  when you know that they have walked by it many times before!

Next, You need to stop and smell the roses. Remind yourself and your staff about how great the items are that you have in your store right now.  Do it one by one.  Like I said earlier, find 3 wonderful features about it.  Then translate those to benefits.  Identify 3 specific benefits to a customer about each item.  Have each salesperson pick one item each day and talk about how great it is to you.

Then you have to work to sell the items.  Challenge them to sell the remaining inventory of that item THAT DAY.  Run your list of top 100 customers.  Who would like it?  Who likes that brand?  Who likes that designer?  Call them.  Don’t email them.  Get those customers in the store with an exciting description of those items.

Will your staff want to do this?  No.  Should you care? NO.

This is THEIR job.  Your job is to provide them with inventory and the tools to sell it.  One of the tools that they need is for you to LEAD them with a good attitude and clear expectations.  Their job is to sell the goods.  You have to show them how.  You make the first phone call and let them all listen in.  Then you listen while they do it.  That is YOUR job.

These phone calls provide your raving fans with the best customer service ever!  You are contacting them about items that you have SPECIFICALLY picked out for them.  How fabulous is that?  You are just letting them know that you are thinking of them and thought that they would like. I have included a template below for you to make it as easy as possible – that is what we do for you at RETAILMavens.

Leading them with a good attitude means approaching this with enthusiasm and encouragement.  One of the best ways to encourage them is to give them a carrot.  Not a real one!  (Although I really do love carrots.)  Motivate them with a prize.  Give them in store cash credit towards any item of their choice.  Look at it this way: each item they sell at full price gives you more profit.  Look at how much profit you lose if it is marked down 20%.  Give them a portion of that to spend in the store.  I recommend 5-10% of the original price given as a store cash gift certificate.  I can’t wait to hear your success stories on facebook (or however you usually word this).

Phone Call Sample:  Most often you will be leaving a message so I have designed it that way.  There are lots of exclamation points because you have to be smiling and enthusiastic when you are talking!

Hi Ashley!  This is Cathy from Duck Duck Goose!  Your fav store for kids, I know!  I was just thinking of you.  Remember when you bought those adorable dresses for your girls in March?  I saw the cutest shorts from ABC vendor today in our window and knew you would like them.   At least I really think you would!  They are all elastic waist which means that they are easy on and off! Also, we have a great selection of bathing suits in if you still need some.  Summer is really coming – I am counting on that!  You too, right!  I would love to see you!  Have a great day!

That was painless, right? Having a template makes it easy for you to use and follow. Now start moving out those fillers! Let me know how it goes on Facebook!