In the retail world the holiday season starts early. Thanks to big box stores and free online shipping, small independent businesses have to try harder than ever to attract and retain customers. This means getting creative and figuring out what your store offers that others can’t. To help you out, we’ve rounded up five creative holiday promotions that are effective for small businesses in particular. Check them out, give them a try, and then get ready for your best season yet.
- Buy Now, Save Later
Have you ever gotten home from a day of shopping, pulled your shiny new purchases out of the bag, and found a slip of paper or coupon, promising you exclusive savings to be redeemed at a later date? Usually, these promotions are only given to people as they buy something, so it’s both a way to get customers back into the store, as well as a reward for their loyalty. If you decide to use a promotion like this, choose a short window of time during which it can be redeemed, such as the week before Christmas, and gear it toward those pesky last minute gifts.
- Be Social
When you’re a small business, your number one goal is selling enough product to pay your bills (and give your loyal employees a sweet end-of-the-year bonus). In the rush of retail, however, we sometimes forget the real meaning of the holidays—peace, goodwill, and giving back. Embrace these universal truths by heading to social media and hosting a fun giveaway that has nothing to do with getting and everything to do with giving. A fun photo contest or thoughtful question, with a gift card to your store as a prize, is a great way to give back—and, as an added bonus, to keep your store in people’s minds!
- Host an In-Store Event
An in-store event is a great way to invite your customers in for something other than spending their money. During the holidays, you can offer a preview of next season’s merchandise, give a lesson on how to use the latest skate or surf gear, or host a free yoga class or book club. Make sure to have some snacks and drinks on hand for a more festive mood, and give everyone a coupon as a parting gift. More often then not, they’ll buy something before they leave and come back for more. SIA has some great resources for awesome in-store events.
- For a Limited Time Only
To create a sense of urgency in your customers, advertise a great sale or promotion—but for a very limited time. Offers such as “Buy One Get One Half Off—Today Only!” or “The first 20 customers get a free gift!” can be very effective. These limited time offers are often the push a customer needs to commit to a purchase, and can also leave them feeling as if they’ve won a game. The prize? Your product, of course!
- Send a New Year’s Card
Hardly anyone sends cards in the mail anymore, which is exactly why your business should. You’ll stand out and customers, clients, and suppliers will appreciate the extra effort. To avoid your card getting lost in the glut of family photos and online orders, send a New Year’s card instead of a Christmas one. This method is also more inclusive, since most people acknowledge the New Year, but not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
We hope these ideas will inspire you to get creative this holiday season. Here’s to a happy and productive season! In the meantime you can enjoy more business tips and marketing strategies for the board sports industries by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Happy holiday season!