Summer often brings a slowdown in sales and traffic for retailers who don't depend on the seasonal customer. As a result, stores cut back or even stop holding customer events all together.
It is easy to understand why, but isn't a slowdown in sales and traffic exactly the time you want to increase your sales and traffic? I advocate doing more events over the summer, not fewer.
Here are some thoughts and recommendations on leveraging summer events:
1. The goal of summer events is to create incremental visits. Imagine the impact on your summer business if every customer in your community visits your store one extra time this summer. Cha ching!
2. Events give customers a reason to visit the store besides the need/desire to make a purchase. Your top-notch staff can turn that visit into a sale.
3. Events give you an easy way to stay in contact with your customer without being overly promotional. Promoting your summer events via email and Facebook reminds customers about how special your store and store experience is. Your summer events may not be well attended, but promoting them may lead to a different visit over the summer.
4. Simplify your summer events compared to the rest of the year. You want to do this for two reasons. First of all, because most summer events are less productive than the rest of the year you probably want to reduce your costs. Second, most stores run with less staff over the summer since many of the employees are taking vacations, so making your events less labor intense allows your focus to remain on the customer already in the store.
5. Do lots of fun mini one-day events. It can be something as simple as inviting a local Girl or Boy Scout troop in to celebrate Lemonade Shopping Days. Most stores can do a Customer Appreciation Ice Cream Social from 12-3 and 6-9. A baby store could hold a Stroller Wash. A hobby store can do a Remote Control Car Demo Day. A boutique reader of ours hosted a High Heels and Highballs Shopping Night with a percentage of the sales going to charity.
6. Partner with other stores and companies to reduce your costs and promote the event together. Maybe a local ice cream store will work with you on ice cream social. Maybe the local liquor store could sponsor the daiquiri and shopping night. A vendor could sponsor the Stroller Rodeo.
7. Just as with bigger events, have employees invite their regular customers to a summer event. It doesn't matter if the customer doesn't answer the phone or if they reply to the email to say they're on vacation. The employee still connected with the customer and the customer appreciates being invited.
So let me ask, are you planning on increasing or reduce the number of events you're doing this summer?
Doug Fleener is a proven retail and customer experience expert that helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit our website or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results.