4 Steps Units Should Do Now to Prepare for Next Year’s Popcorn Sale

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stick_figure_search_clues_1814Now that your Unit’s Popcorn Sale is over, here are four steps to help you for next year.

1.       Copy all of your order forms received from your Scouts

It is easier to sell to a person who has already purchased than to try to find existing customers.  By making copies of the order forms, it makes it easier to sell to existing customers.  Your first option is give the copies back the same Scouts that sold the previous year.  Scout many times do not keep these forms and providing the copies should help them sell next year.  Second, if the Scout that sold the previous year has moved on because they transferred from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, ‘aged out’ of that particular program, moved away or did not continue with Scouts, you have a list of customers to give to the new Scouts joining the Unit.  This gives them a great start for the next year.

2.       Analyze the items sold

It is important to figure out what sold this year to better judge what product you should order next year.  While products may change from year to year, what a customer buys typically does not.  Customers that purchase Microwave tend to always purchase Microwave product.  The same theory goes for Chocolate and Cheese products.  I recommend breaking out your items sold by certain categories: $10 items, Total Microwave Product, Chocolate Product, Gift boxes or Tins and everything else (This would include most of your large caramel corn, individual cheese, pre-popped kettle, etc.).  Break these down to percentages.  Typically 35-40% of your product will be the smaller priced items, 15-20% for total Microwave, 8-12% is chocolate, 5% or less is the Gift Boxes or Tins and the remainder being the rest.  These percentages vary by price and what part of the country you live in.  This is why it is important to do these calculations yourself.  While products in these categories may change, the percentage purchased tends to remain the same.

3.       Analyze your locations

Look at all of your site sale locations and determine which days and times were best for selling.  Based on your location, this can vary significantly.  I know in my area, it is best to not sell the same time the professional football team plays.  As a matter of fact we see a jump in sales in the 2 hours prior to the football game if that game is in the afternoon.  In other parts of the country, Units may have similar results with the broadcast of their local college football team.  The same analysis can be done with Take Order.  Ask your Scouts when they sold the most popcorn as they went door-to-door.  Did you sell better in the early evening prior to dinner during the week, early on Friday evening, Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon? All of this can help maximize when the best times to sell are for the following year.

4.       Determine how much you sold per Scout

This last piece is vital to helping you figure out several things for next year.  First, it helps you figure out the total dollar amount you should order based on the number of Scouts your Unit will have next year.  Second, it aids in determining the number of site sales, blitz days and door-to-door hours that must be completed to reach a certain Unit and/or Scout goal.  Finally, knowing this amount assists in developing your Unit Budget for next year.

It has been said that prior planning prevents poor performance.  Doing these items now will help you and your Unit next year and in the years to come.

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