by Austin L. Ray
It’s hard out there for a retail shop. You’ve got customers to serve, bills to pay, appearances to keep up, lights to keep on, vendors to please, employees to please, and a whole host of other things to take care of that a humble trade publication like Headquest wouldn’t even think of in an intro to a goofy piece like this. But what we can do is offer some suggestions to help gets folks into your store, buying things and having fun. That’s the idea of this new monthly column which will detail a handful of promotional sales ideas for your store. Consider them a brainstorm—a place for jumping off into new ideas that will inject some life into your storefront. And let us know what you think. We’d love to come up with some suggestions for a theme that makes sense to you.
1. Hangover Sale (Jan. 1) — If you’re anything like us, you have a hangover right now. So just imagine how you’ll feel on New Year’s Day. Now, imagine being the only store in town that’s handing out ibuprofen and Pedialyte. You’d shop at that store, wouldn’t you? Of course! And your customers will appreciate it too. Think of it this way: you’ll be the considerate ones and the only game in town. Bonus points for any creative sales you hold on this day. But frankly, the Pedialyte oughta do it.
2. Trivia Day (Jan. 4) — According to a possibly-reputable website where we found this information, “Robert L. Birch, Grand PunScorpion of the Puns Corps created this day to raise our awareness of the significance of trivia in the development of human curiosity, science, and fun.” We like the way Robert thinks, and your small business could benefit from taking a cue or two from him. Hold trivia on the topics of your choosing and give gift certificates to the winners. Challenge smartypants customers to come up with their own trivia. Sell trivia games to augment your usual products. There are a number of ways to make a little money on Trivia Day. After all, if every subpar dive bar can do it, why not you?
3. Friday the 13th (Jan. 13) — Here’s a fun fact: this superstitious day happens 1-3 times per year. In 2017, it’ll go down in January, and then again in the appropriately spooky month of October. A 13% off sale seems like the natural path here, maybe while advertising those “positively scary” savings? But there are plenty of other ways to go as well. Perhaps a screening of any number of the scary, Jason-led movies that bear this holiday’s name? Special discounts for anyone who shows up wearing a hockey mask? We suggest you let your mind wander to the farthest reaches of Crystal Lake, see what it discovers.
4. Squirrel Appreciation Day (Jan. 21) — In Atlanta, there’s a group called The Squirrel Census. The group describes itself as “an urban science and storytelling project focusing on the Eastern gray (Sciurus carolinensis), his pals, and his mortal enemies. We have won awards. We have accepted congratulations. We have fist-fought people. We have made hats and t-shirts and videos and music and posters. We have saved the planet. But we still have work to do.” Even after reading those words a few times, we’re still not entirely sure what it means. But if they can do something as creative and weird as that with squirrels, we think you could do the same with an in-store promotion. Best of luck.
5. Beer Can Appreciation Day (Jan. 24) — This one should be a given. Sure, anyone can “appreciation” a beer, har har, but here’s a way to bring art, local business, and a slight buzz together. As craft beer becomes a growing trend in the United States (there are more breweries—almost 5,000!—than ever before), almost every town has their local option. You’re probably thinking about yours now. Maybe you’ve ever got a few! Why not partner with one of them that has great packaging? They’ll love the free publicity that comes from the event (and will maybe even give you some free beer), your customers will enjoy having a drink while they browse, and you’ll look like a genius. Now that’s the kind of appreciation we can get behind.