September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7
By Lisbeth Calandrino
Has the summer been slow? Are you and your employees enjoying a lazy time? Would you rather not think about the upcoming winter season? If so, you’re not the only one. Retailers seem to wake up at the end of November when their opportunities are gone or slim.
If you haven’t noticed, the box stores are already showing Christmas trees and other holiday items. If you’re pushing against the upcoming seasons (“Nobody buys flooring for the holidays”), you might want to stop. Now is the time to take advantage of the holidays. Put a plan in place not only for your customers, but also for your employees.
Why not make this time of year your season? The experience is alive and well; it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. It’s time to get your creative juices going. It’s important for you to create a fun holiday for your employees and the customers. Just because it’s not your season doesn’t mean the party is over.
Following are some suggestions to energize your store during the holiday season.
- ’Tis the season for parties. Don’t forget “Movember”—men’s health month—which happens in November. Research the occasion online and have a contest with your customers and your employees. You’ll have to get invitations out fast if you want to get on your customers’ calendars.
- This is also the season for buying presents. Find another retailer who does business this time of the year (a florist or party store) and join forces. One good partner would be a jeweler; she probably has a huge mailing list and this is her season. Become the new gathering place in your area. Look for unusual and local-made designs. If there’s a local trade show with holiday items, why not attend to get ideas or buy things you can resell?
- Unusual vinegars, olive oil and spices are in this year. Personally I would look for someone selling holiday wreaths and trees and set them up outside my store. Don’t forget to order a Santa costume.
- This is the season for getting dressed up. How about a fancy party? What organizations do you belong to that are looking for a place to hold their holiday party? Can you hold a Chamber of Commerce event or your networking group at your store? Have a professional designer come in and decorate your store for the holidays. Take a hint from NYC stores; Macy’s still goes all out.
- Host your own happy hour. Everyone loves a good drink. Combine it with a unique shopping experience and you’ll have people lining up. Show some special products and a special drink named after your store. Sell tickets for the event or let a customer in for free as long as they bring a non-customer friend. Be sure to post your event online.
- How about a learning experience? People want to learn how to arrange flowers or cook a special dinner. Can you find a local chef to come in and teach how to make a special entre or dessert?
- An art and photography show will bring in people, especially if the artists have a following and things are for sale.
- What about a block party or festival? This is the season to bring people together so why not be the catalyst? You may need to get permits for your events so you have to get started.
Take photos for your social media presence, testimonials about your super parties and hot items for sale. This will guarantee an overflowing crowd for your next event. (The best event will be your anti-Valentine’s networking party.)
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.