Once your retail store is up and running, it can be all too easy to slip into a mundane routine of your regular end of season merchandise clear-out sales. You need to take charge and keep your retail business from becoming a stagnant lag of the same old sales. People are drawn to excitement. Shoppers are drawn to promotions and enticing events. If you've fallen victim to the marketing mundane, read on for tips to take advantage of every promotional opportunity that is available to you.
The first step is to create a calendar of events for your store's year. Research your area and find out what's going on around town. Is there a special concert, festival or athletic event? Charity events and holidays, races and local celebrations, the possibilities are endless. Schedule your promotional launches well in advance so that you can have a successful presentation. You'll need to order special promotional materials such as signage, store displays, store fixtures and maybe even lighting for your store front windows. Figure out how many events you want to plan for the year and set a budget for each.
A promotional event is different than a regular sale. The idea is to have a theme. Promote the items that relate to the theme during each event. Flyers are a cheap and easy way to start spreading the buzz about your promotion. Stock up on items that you expect to sell the most of. Decorate, put signs outside of the store and dress up your window displays to draw a crowd. If your store has regular events, then you keep the attention of existing and new customers. If things are always the same, people tend to lose interest very quickly.
Keep track of all of your information. Think about making a special file for each event on your calendar. Note what items you ordered more of, which promotional materials you used and even what items you used in your window displays. Write down your projections of sales and customer traffic. When the promotion is over, take note of what worked. Compare your projected sales with your actual sales. Take down which promotional items seemed to work the best and draw the most attention. With each event that you hold, you can refer back to past events to determine how much you think you will sell, which promotional products to order and which items you should stock up on.
Check for new events that may be happening in your area three to four months in advance and take advantage of each opportunity that presents itself. When the year is over, go back over the findings, successes and failures of each event and plan your calendar for the next year. Each year should get cheaper if you keep your store displays and left-over promotional materials from each event in storage. You should waste less and gain more from year to year. Fine tune your promotional marketing plan to best suit your needs. You'll keep the public interested in your store and reap the benefits year round.
About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading provider of retail store displays and store fixtures, including slatwall accessories, mannequins and more. For more information, please visit http://www.slstoredisplays.com .