Just in time for the 4th of July season, help us share in the success of one our most patriotic clients.
Founded by Thomas J. D’Amico, American Flags Express specializes in the highest quality American flags, ranging in size from 4”x6” to custom flags that span the size of a football field. Their product offering also includes state flags, military flags, promotional flags and even flags that support your favorite NFL team.
Beyond their best-in-class inventory, American Flags Express has been open to exploring and implementing new technologies and marketing tactics. For example, they were the first flag/flagpole website to offer a fully functional shopping cart, launching their website in 1999 after conceiving their online presence on a cocktail napkin two years earlier. Even more, they were the first to use Google AdWords to drive traffic to their ecommerce site, the first to leverage educational YouTube videos and the first to offer an extremely helpful email alert system that notifies subscribers of when to lower flags to half-staff.
With a savvy team steering the ship, American Flags Express has also leveraged the notion of seasonality to maximize their business growth. The trick they’ve utilized is combining the right marketing mix at the right time, and using the offseason to make improvements to spur additional growth in the long-term.
Capitalizing on the Busy Season
American Flags Express has worked diligently to expand their business, seeing a whopping 131% growth in sales between June 2013 and 2014. This is particularly impressive considering that this is their most lucrative month of the year. The entire spring season is important to the profitability of the business, as their highest grossing months generate 75-80% more sales than other months.
“We see sales begin to increase in early spring, with spikes starting three weeks before Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Father’s Day,” said Nicole D’Amico, Website Editor and Buyer at American Flags Express. “We also see another spike before September 11.”
For some context, take a look at this monthly sales chart that represents an average of the last three years’ sales:
To help generate extra sales during peak season, the team increases and amplifies their marketing efforts. Nicole explains, “We spend more on marketing when people want to buy. It’s much more expensive trying to convince someone to buy a product when they’re not looking for it. We have never been very successful at selling flags or flagpoles at Christmas – we still make an effort, but it’s just not our season.”
By studying their historical sales data and keeping a pulse on major holidays and events that impact their industry, American Flags Express is readily able to leverage the concept of seasonality to generate more revenue and sustain their viability all year long.
Creating Opportunities to Expand beyond the Busy Season
Just because sales peak during major patriotic holidays doesn’t mean that American Flags Express spends the rest of the year sitting idle. Instead, they’ve created opportunities to keep their revenue stream flowing, namely by expanding their product line to cater to the needs of a wider variety of customers. Instead of solely offering American flags, the company’s breadth of inventory keeps them relevant all year long.
“There is always some type of event taking place in the world that will require a new flag,” Nicole explains. “For example, flags of Ireland are very popular during St. Patrick’s Day in March. Right now during the World Cup, the Brazilian flag is very popular.”
The company also offers custom flags, banners and flagpoles to serve a wide variety of clients, including corporations. Having the option for customers to submit their artwork and then receive a fully custom flag prevents American Flags Express from being completely dependent on their traditional busy season.
Making the Most of the Offseason
As all entrepreneurs know, there’s more to running a business than just selling. From exploring new inventory to making website adjustments, the to-do list exists all year long. The team at American Flags Express understands that slower selling months affords them the chance to take an internal focus, meaning they can identify areas for improvement and optimization to help spur additional growth in the future.
Here are some major aspects the company focuses on during the offseason that can serve as a guide for your very own online business:
- Focus on in-house organization
- Address inventory and warehouse maintenance
- Streamline website design and interactions
- Find improvements and efficiencies in customer service to ensure a great experience
Addressing these tasks during off-peak months provides an opportunity for you to make internal gains that will help boost sales when the busy season returns.
While many of us associate the busiest shopping season with the winter holidays, this isn’t necessarily true for all businesses. Regardless of your peak selling times, planning for seasonality and making the most of the ebbs and flows of sales presents a grand opportunity to improve performance and profitability all year long, just like American Flags Express.