From a simple draw or giveaway to
an elegantly catered private sale,
promotional events attract customers
and boosts sales
Hire;decorators. Find out who has a knack
for designing and painting store windows,
and save yourself the money, time and energy by hiring them to complete these
tasks if you don’t have a competent staff
member on hand.
Involve children. Set up a small table with
construction paper, scissors, glue and crayons where children can create decorations
while mom and dad are shopping. Hang
their works of art to get your other customers in the holiday spirit and communicate
a sense of community.
Remember;your;reps. They may be able to
provide you with free holiday decorations
and sales aids. Order early to ensure availability and the best selection.
Dress;up. Decorations needn’t be limited to
your walls and windows. Encourage your
staff to don festive hats, custom-designed
t-shirts or buttons (with your logo, of course).
The holidays bring out the generosity in
nearly everyone. When you contribute, you
feel good about yourself as a business owner
in the community and you also send a positive message about your store to others.
Here are some ideas:
Serve;as;a;drop-off;centre. Place large, decorative and well-marked boxes by the door
or sales counter for customers to donate
gifts and canned goods.
Donate;a;part;of;your;sales. Contribute a certain percentage of your sales to a particular
cause – and let customers know. An affiliation with a charity encourages purchases
by customers who feel good when they
give, and adds to the overall favourable esteem and reputation of your business.
Invite;charitable;organizations. Set up a table
for community groups to collect financial
and other donations from customers.
Encourage your employees to participate
by offering them one paid hour per week
to help out.
If you don’t do in-store events during the
year, consider making an exception for the
holidays. Chances are your competitors will
take advantage of a festive promotion or
two. From a simple draw or giveaway to an
elegantly catered private sale, promotional
events attract customers and boosts sales.
But make sure you:
Plan ahead. Spend time organizing to make
sure everything is covered. You’ll need time
to coordinate with vendors, other retailers
and community groups. Use email, direct
mail, your blog, newspapers and radio or television to get the word out well in advance.
Team;up;with;other;retailers.;A florist, for
example, could display red roses in crystal
vases from your store or you could invite a
bakery to contribute goodies. Collaborating
with other businesses on promotions saves
Include;musicians. What are the holidays
without a melody? Generate good cheer by
inviting local singers or hire a string quartet. Do any of your employees play music?
Maybe they’d like to perform solo or put a
small group together.
Organize;a;joint;charitable;event. Invite a
community group to be part of your promotional event. For example, you could
co-host a combination holiday sale and
pancake breakfast with a food bank.
However you design your in-store holiday
event, present a unique theme, but ensure
it’s inline with the year-round character of
The more you give your customers during
the holiday season, the more likely they’ll
shop at your store. Maximize fourth-quarter
sales by taking a critical look at value-added
features, services, bonuses and perks to differentiate your store from the competition.
Special;orders. You do your best to provide
the products your customers want, but if
you don’t carry or can’t get a certain line,
customers will look elsewhere.
Gift-wrap. It goes without saying that customers will appreciate the time you save
them when you wrap their purchases in
pretty paper and ribbon.
Store;hours. Take note of your competitors’
hours and match or exceed them. Consider
keeping your doors open longer and opening on Sundays, if you don’t already.
It’s never too early to plan for the holiday season, but you shouldn’t leave it to the
last minute. You need to leave some wiggle
room for the unexpected and undesirable,
like shipping errors, dissatisfied customers,
sick employees and financial hurdles.
Immediately after the holidays, review
your results. How well did you do? What
will you do differently next season?