A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
Hoist Your Sales with Retailer-tested, In-store Events and
Two dozen proven
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (April 19, 2010)
If you’ve ever attended The
$1.99 An Idea Luncheon, a CHA Show tradition that puts YOU in the
spotlight, then you know how those 90 minutes can change your life
and fatten up your wallet. Where else can you find so many great
ideas to grow your business? Even better, the ideas have come from
creative retailers who have personally – and successfully -- used
them in their own stores.
We’re always thrilled to hear
participants share how our trademark promotional events, such as
“Pin This to a Guy”; “Create Your Own Coupon”; and our “Traffic and
Sales Building Cash Register Receipt Auction” have worked for them.
We enjoy hearing how these events have been creatively tweaked to
fit your stores and your customers. Even better are the fresh, new
ideas retailers share. If you’ve never attended The $1.99 An Idea
Luncheon, here’s what you missed:
“World’s Greatest Shopping Night”: Choose one night each week, from
October all the way through Christmas, and keep the store open for
an extra two hours. Make it a festive night, one that keeps
gift-giving on the customers’ minds. Serve hot apple cider and
cookies. And be sure to provide free gift wrapping. Customers love
those extra little touches.
“School Fundraiser Night”: Determine a specific school that will
benefit from your fundraiser night, and then advertise via
bag-stuffers and directly to teachers, PTA members, etc. The fund
raiser works like this: When a customer makes a purchase and
mentions the specific school, you will donate 20% of the sale to
that school. You could even do this to benefit a particular
classroom – teachers will line up to get their classroom on your
“Shop Hop”: Get together with other area retailers and host a Shop
Hop. Encourage each participating retailer to add a little extra
excitement to their usual shopping experience with make-it/take-its,
product demos, giveaways, and contests. Run your Shop Hop from
Wednesday through Sunday and let your customers enjoy the
camaraderie of other shoppers on the “hop.” The retailer who shared
this idea said that the participating store owners enjoyed FOUR
times their usual sales and attracted many new customers!
“Wild & Wacky Wednesdays”: This event is geared to help you boost
sales and foot traffic on slow sales days. In the contributing
retailer’s case, Wednesday fit the bill. She began by sending email
blasts inviting customers to join her on “Wild Wacky Wednesday.”
Customers enjoy a quick make-it/take-it project and a tasty snack.
(You know our motto: Food is Good!) Customers now look forward to
shopping on Wednesday and sales have increased. This retailer
chooses her make-it/take-its wisely, knowing a free 6x6” layout
project will lead to the purchase of a 6x6” album to showcase the
“Monthly Scrapper’s Challenge”: Create your own scrapbooking kits
from a collection of slow-moving product. Participants pay $3 for
the kit and must create a project using some of everything in the
kit. Display the projects throughout the store for a two-week
period, with the winner selected by popular vote. The winner
receives a prize along with the honor that comes from designing a
cool new project. Or make this a quarterly event.
Zero in on Home School Moms: Why not offer a special class or crop
for kids who are home schooled? Home schooled kids need interaction
with other children their own age, so host this event once a month
for children ages 6 and up. And, as this contributing retailer
smartly pointed out, once you get a child’s attention, you get Mom
and Dad’s as well – and that attention leads to sales!
Implement a “Create-a-Card Care Packages”: program to send to our
service men and women who are stationed overseas. You can purchase
pre-cut card kits or create your own. One retailer packages two kits
together with a gluestick and a pen. The kits sell for $5 if the
customer buys the kit and donates it to be sent in a care package;
$6 if the customer wants to keep the kit for his/her own use.
“Pamper Yourself” Crop: This event is only limited by your
imagination. Some croppers have enjoyed catered dinners (you chose
the menu, they select and pay for their meal); the high school
varsity football team moonlighting as valet parking attendants, free
pedicures and massages, makeovers, and more. Every once in awhile,
announce a limited time discount on a particular product or
category. Make it an evening of fun, festivities and plenty of
“The 12 Give-a-ways of Christmas”: All qualifying orders and
purchases are put in a drawing for eleven small to medium prizes,
and one big prize: the contributing retailer gave away a 12x17”
scanner. This contest is sure to create some excitement, so be sure
to request email addresses from entrants. Tell them that this is how
the winners will be notified. These email addresses will come in
handy when you choose to send your next email blast.
This is a take-off on our “Twelve Days of Christmas” event where you
host a minor event (make-it/take-it, demo, give-a-way, crop, etc.)
for the twelve days leading up to Christmas Eve. Throw in a major
in-store event as well. Create a Refrigerator Calendar Bag Stuffer
for the month of December that you begin to distribute at the end of
November. Drop us an e-mail if you’d like a copy.
A “Mothers’ Day Out” Program is held on two Fridays each month, from
10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The first half hour of the program is a class;
the second half hour is a crop. Participants also enjoy a 10%
discount on all items purchased that day.
Develop a “Community Partners” network with other area business
owners, otherwise known as a Partnership Promotion, because it
increases sales opportunities for both partners. Choose partners
whose customer base scrapbook, or who might be interested in
learning, then ask your partner for permission to host a
scrapbooking seminar or crop for their customers. Make it look like
the seminar is a gift from your partnering business. Target
businesses could include travel agencies, sports clubs, MOPs
(Mothers of Preschoolers), and the Chamber of Commerce.
Help teachers by creating “Classroom Page Kits” geared specifically
for classroom use. Include a money-saving coupon that can be
redeemed in your store. When the kids take the coupons home, it’s an
added incentive for Mom and Dad to bring the kids to your store.
Think instant new customers!
Teen Crop Night: Get teens together for a night of crafting that
features things teens enjoy. Ask participating teens to lead demos
or make-it/take-its, or go even further and ask a teenager tolead
the entire class. Order up plenty of pizza and soda. Let the
participants bring their own music to play during class and turn up
the volume to eleven!
“The Boss Is Gone!” Sale: We love this idea! Send an email blast and
make it look like it came from one of your staff. The email should
read, ________________________ has gone to the _________________
trade show and I’m putting everything on sale!” The contributing
retailer said customers thought the employee did this on the sly so
sales were brisk. Try this idea the next time you attend a trade
show, go on vacation, or any time you are away from the store for a
A “Scrap & Stamp Session” is the perfect way to shake things up when
your store suffers from low class attendance. This twice-a-month
program introduces attendees to new techniques. The contributing
retailer holds her Scrap & Stamp Sessions on Sundays.
“Summer Solstice Sale”: Begin at sunrise on the day of the summer
Solstice, offer discounts that decrease hourly: 40% off from
sunrise to 7:00 a.m.; 35% off from 7:01 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.; 30% off
from 9:01 a.m.– 11:00 a.m.; 25% off from 11:01 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; 20%
off from 1:01 p.m.– 3:00 p.m.; 15% off from 3:01 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.;
and 10% off until close.
“New Arrivals!” Update: Send an email blast, and place notes on your
website (and Facebook page and blog and on Twitter) whenever you
return from a trade show or when new product arrives. Talk it up!
Romance the copy so that it encourages customers to come to the
store and shop. Create and distribute Bag Stuffers, and place signs
in your windows and throughout the store. Add “As Seen Online” signs
next to the merchandise.
Twice a month hold a “Lunch Break Make-it/take-it” that’s targeted
to working women. Run this free event from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
and watch what happens. This event is so successful for the
contributing retailer that she’s added a “Stop-in Saturday
Make-it/take-it” with longer hours.
“Annual Scavenger Hunt”: Hide unusual items throughout your store
and give customers a list of all the things they must find in the
store. Be sure to include boxes they can check off when each item is
found. This list will encourage them to walk through your entire
store, where they’re sure to see all the cool things they just have
to have. Give a prize to the customer who finds the most items.
Trade Show Recap Night: You can do this as a preview event to talk
about all the new items you found at a trade show, or you can wait
until the product arrives and a make it a mini-trade show. Use the
vendor gifts and goodies you collected at the show as door prizes
and give-aways, serve refreshments, and be sure to give everyone a
Bounce Back Coupon to bring them back next week.
“Frequent Shopper Program”: Customers earn a free class for every
$100 they spend in the store. The contributing retailer calls her
program the S.M.I.L.E. Card”, which stands for “Scrapping Makes
Ideas Look Exciting.”
Hold a “Scrappers’ Yard Sale” where participating customers can
“sell” all of the product they had to have, but never used, plus
gently used supplies. Set up tables throughout your store or in the
classroom. Sales are translated into store credit.
In-store Craft Fair: Why should your customers go to the craft fair
at the mall when they can just as easily come to your store? Feature
local crafters and artisans; assign each participant a table to
showcase his/her wares. Build a buzz about town with email blasts,
in-store signage and Bag Stuffers. Encourage each participant to
advertise their participation in church bulletins, neighborhood
newsletters, and community publications. And make sure that your
store is open for business during the entire event.
There are so many more ideas to
share but we’ve run out of space! We recommend that you host one
Major in-store event and at least two Minor in-store events each and
every month – now you have an entire list of retailer-tested events
to choose from! Drop us an e-mail if you’d like more and we’ll send
you additional events, plus a 2010 Promotional Planning Calendar.
(Note: To read previous
columns by Rich and Georganne, click on the titles in the right-hand
KIZER & BENDER Speaking!
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