In an article just last year, DigitalCommerce360 stated, “What used to be waves of promotional holidays created by retailers (like back to school, etc.) has evolved into a new model of endless seasonal shopping.” They say consumers are now driven, not by artificial “seasons,” but by personal convenience and desire to get a good deal.While that may be true, the fact remains that spring, summer, fall, and winter will always come around. And each new season brings new opportunity for retailers to renew shopper interest in ways that get customers in the door, in a buying mood. There are many summer sales tactics you can use to tastefully offer seasonal promotions, without making your store look "cheap."
Admittedly, some shoppers live for deep discounts. For them “summer sale” conjures up visions of thrilling bargains. Create a clearly-designated clearance area (in the back) where these deal-focused customers can snare “finds” among your spring-season leftovers. That way you can sell off lingering inventory without cheapening your brand as a discounter.
Then focus on summer promotions that attract shoppers to full-priced merchandise:
- Amp up your loyalty program by offering extra points for purchases of certain featured summer items. Or boost rewards based on total purchases over the summer – perhaps a pre-season discount on fall merchandise.
- Sweeten the pot with BOGO – buy one, get one (free or half price) increases sales and feeds our inner desire to get a good deal. Gift with purchase is a great way to introduce customers to samples of new products or move slow-selling items.
- Send a tempting new catalog to past customers and/or targeted prospects in your service area. Make it available online, too. Link to it via emails sent to your regulars and via social media, so your followers can share your fabulous summer offerings with their friends. Include a bring-with coupon for an in-store purchase of these items.
- Host demonstrations or short “expert briefings” that show customers how to use your products in new ways. Give them hands-on opportunities to play around with products. Since it’s summer, take the action outside – into your parking area, on the sidewalk, in the mall courtyard, on a lawn, at river’s edge.
- Create excitement and sense of urgency with a flash sale, perhaps during the lunch hour or after work. Text customers the day and time, and offer a mystery discount, then hand out flash cards at the door to reveal their personal savings.
- Hold an exclusive sneak-preview event before or after hours, so your most loyal customers can be the first to see and try out your latest offerings.
- Pair up with a local coffee, tea, or wine shop to offer in-store tastings.
Taking a holistic approach will help you make the biggest impression on customers and give them a highly seasonal experience. So think “summer” when you’re designing merchandise displays, too.