If you are in a Council that does not do Show and Sell, you are in luck. You can wait until the end of the Popcorn Sale to place your order. If not and your Unit is going to do Show and Sell/Deliver, it is time to prepare for your initial order.
What factors go into determining how much product you should order? Here are 6 things to take into account (and one item not to consider) when preparing your Popcorn Order:
1. Unit Budget
As has been stated many times, Units should know how much their program costs and then determine how much one needs to sell to meet their goal. Units need to have as few fundraisers as possible and still meet their overall budget. They must know how much of their overall revenue is coming from the Popcorn Sale.
2. Number of Hours You Are Going to Sell
Selling hours consist of the number of locations and the number of dates you are selling. In trying to determine the amount of product you need, $100/hour is a conservative estimate of Show and Sell Product Sales. If you are selling for 4 hours on Friday, 8 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday at a location, then your Unit will need at least $1700 of product for the weekend. The more locations and dates you have, the more Product you will need.
3. Show and Deliver Participation
If your Unit does Show and Deliver, commonly known as the Red Wagon Sale where a Scout takes product door-to-door to sell, then there are two factors to consider: Number of Scouts participating and the Product you want Scouts to sell. I recommend Scouts having a limited variety of product. It is easier for a Scout to walk to a door with an order form and say, “This product will arrive in a few weeks. However, I happen to have this item on me (pointing to a product $20 or more).” Customers are far more likely to purchase the item the Scout has on hand. Remember, your total Show and Deliver product is in addition to the product needed for the Show and Sell locations.
4. Product Mix
Understand from a marketing standpoint, Show and Sell locations are an impulse item. Because of this, people will usually buy at the lowest amount possible. Normally, this means you will sell more $10 items than $20 items. In addition, customers usually stick to a certain product. Microwave popcorn people buy microwave popcorn, cheese-lover people buy cheese popcorn and so on. Every part of the country is a bit different. Ask your local Council for the product mix percentage of what sold last year and a recommendation for this year to get a fair product mix.
5. Initial Take Order
If your Council starts their Take Order Sale prior to the Show and Sell, encourage Scouts contact their customers from last year that purchased items $30 or more. Have Scouts get their orders and include them in the initial delivery. This way, Scouts’ “best customers’ get their product early. They then can go back before the sale is over and sell to them again.
6. Council Return Policy
Units must understand their Council’s Return Policy. Some Councils have restrictions on the amount Units can order, have a restocking fee for product returned, or a bonus if no product is returned. In addition, some Councils only allow returns of full and/or unopened cases. Make sure you understand the return policy in your Council and take that into consideration when placing your order.
What is the one item you should not factor into your Show and Sell Order…The Amount Your Unit Sold Last Year.
This may be a surprise to some people.
If there is one constant in life (and Popcorn Sales) is change. Unit Budget, Unit Membership, Council Policies, and the way a Unit sells are just several items that change from year to year that can drastically change what a Unit does for their initial popcorn order. Using last year’s sale to figure out a basic product mix may help but with changes in product mix every year it is better to get this information from your Council.