While some days it feels like summer will never get here, it is on its way and will be here shortly. Many small meat processors operate their own retail sales outlet, and summer presents an excellent opportunity to promote sales. Summertime outdoor cooking seems to increase in popularity each year. It is great fun to cook steaks, chops, ribs, burgers and brats for family and friends.

One merchandising plan is to feature a different item or items each month of the summer. At the start of the summer let your customers know which items you will be featuring each month. Build some excitement about the products you are going to offer. Folks are always looking for ideas for their various outdoor activities, so letting them know well in advance what your features will be each month will give them the opportunity to preplan activities around your products. Some of your featured products you may want to offer only during the month they are featured. That can create excitement about a product and generate the need for them to be purchased during a certain time period.

One month offer different types of burgers such as barbeque burgers, chili burgers, and cheese burgers in addition to traditional burgers. You can easily create a line of specialty burgers by adding different seasonings or ingredients during manufacture. The number of options is limited only by your imagination. Specialty burgers are easy for consumers to use and are great conversation starters at outdoor cookouts.

You can also offer preseasoned steaks, shops or ribs. Consumers like items that are easy for them to use. Also a variety of different styles of bratwurst would be a nice feature for a month. Give your items some catchy names and provide your customers with suggested cooking directions. You want your customers to have successful and fun activities so they keep coming back.

There are many different ways to market your products. Start with posting attractive color flyers in your retail store letting your customers know the products you are going to be offering throughout the summer. If you do not have a mailing list of your customers develop one. Developing a mailing list can be as simple as having a place in your shop where folks can sign up. You can choose to use either direct mailing or an email message. If you use an email message don’t bombard your customers with too many messages or they may get weary of hearing from you. Make your email messages attractive and in color but don’t make the files so large that it takes a long time to download. Don’t have too much information in your email or people may not take the time to review the entire message. Always give people the opportunity to opt out of future emails.

Consider offering bundles of different types of products that customers can used to stock their freezers. Some people like the convenience of having items in their freezer so they don’t need to go shopping on a regular basis.

Take a few moments out of your busy schedule and plan a strategy for your summertime sales. Identify the items you would like to feature and commit to a way to promote them.

Remember: If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.