Now that people are spending time relaxing outdoors or enjoying summer vacations sales at most retail stores will slump a little. So, what do you do in the months between the two peak selling seasons—spring and fall? You get creative and come up with ideas for promotions and community events that your staff can implement without breaking the bank. Give people a reason to make add-on purchases when they come in to shop. It’s also smart to promote your business as a destination point by partnering with other businesses to hold events. These activities help build traffic and attract customers.
Advertise In-store Only Deals
Promoting your business on social media and your website can be an inexpensive way to advertise special offers and events. Consider using your online platforms to highlight products that are only sold in-store. They may be niche items unique to your store, or time-sensitive deals that are only available for a few days.
Partner with a Local Business or Organization
Every community has charitable organizations looking for businesses willing to partner with them for fundraisers. Select the charity of your choice, decide on a theme and a list of activities, then get to work. Be sure to invite your most loyal customers to the event and people who already donate to the organization. Let them know a portion of the sales will benefit a worthy cause. Food is always a crowd-pleaser; consider serving hot dogs, burgers, and popcorn.
Hold a Ladies’ Night Event
Get fancy and send an invitation to your female customers requesting that they attend a ladies’ night event. Activities can include classes taught by local experts or hands-on product demonstrations. Painting, tools, and seasonal gardening are popular topics that customers will find interesting. Remember to offer beverages and light snacks to make the event a success.
Give Loyal Customers Special Discounts
Many retailers have loyalty programs identifying their most profitable customers and the products they most frequently buy. Send these customers a personalized e-mail or postcard offering them a special discount on specific product categories. For example, promote lawn and garden, paint, or plumbing. Using the “customer appreciation” theme will make them feel special and show you value their patronage.
Offer Free Coffee and Donuts to Early Risers
Early risers want to get in and out of stores fast to start on the projects they have planned for the day. Stores that build good relationships have an easier time weathering the slow days in summer. Homeowners and contractors need a trusted source for purchasing hardware, plumbing, electrical and building materials. Opening your doors early in the morning and serving hot coffee and donuts is also a great way to meet more plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters. Prominently display a sign in your window that invites folks to shop your home improvement business during early morning hours.
Customer Appreciation Day
Everyone likes a chance to win prizes. Create your sale and let customers enter a drawing to win popular prizes in the summer, such as a compact grill, lounge chairs, grilling utensils, BBQ sauces, or ice coolers. The sale should be held during a specific time to motivate customers to shop during slow periods. Remember to post the winner’s name on your community board or at a clearly-visible location near the entrance to the store.
Summer is a great season to figure out the type of events that bring in more customers from the surrounding community. Everything you learn will be helpful when you plan activities for the fall season.