In the business of retail, the slump is inevitable. But what you do during that slump can determine just how long your business is struggling, or whether that simple is interspersed with a few good sale days to keep business humming. By upping the marketing efforts or brainstorming unique ways to draw people into your store, you can keep that slump from spelling disaster. Here are five retail sales tricks for getting through the slow season.
Try a sidewalk sale or tent sale.
Potential customers drive by your store every day, which probably makes your storefront so common, they don’t even give it a second glance. A sidewalk sale or tent sale, however, creates something different that catches the eye of all those people driving by that never thought to come into your store before. When something is out of the ordinary on your ordinary drive, you tend to take note — and the same thing will happen when there’s something catchy outside your store.
Donate to charity.
I know, probably the last thing on your mind when money is tight is to actually give away money — but a charity drive can help bring in new customers while helping out a local non-profit during a season that’s probably slow for them as well. Create a donation drive that rewards donations with a discount on their purchase. You can create a food drive and offer a donation for canned goods, or you could instead donate a percentage of every sale to charity. Brainstorm different charities and potential drives — bonus points if you find a charity or drive that has ties with your brand and product offering. Advertise the event, and ask the charity to spread the word on their social media too.
Up the outreach.
Use the extra time during a slow season to run more outreach to potential customers. Ramp up the advertising and brainstorm new ways to reach your target customer. Create a social media campaign that’s above and beyond the usual, consistent posts. Build a mailing list. Try sending out a press release to local media outlets. Reach out to non-competing businesses in the same general category and share cross-advertisements in each others’ stores.
Create an event or holiday.
Sales slumps usually happen during seasons when there isn’t a major holiday boosting sales — so why not create your own reason to boost sales? Celebrate the obscure holidays, like giving out free chocolate cake on chocolate cake day, free pie on Pi day, or hosting an ice cream party on Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast day. If the obscure holidays on the calendar don’t catch your eye, try creating an event like a 5K race, a lecture, a cooking demonstration — the possibilities are nearly endless.
Tackle the business-boasting tasks on your to-do list.
The slow season is a great time to re-evaluate and tackle those projects that you’ve been meaning to get to. Consider jumping on tasks like re-designing or re-arranging the store layout, analyzing your pricing, expanding your social media, or updating your budget.
Slow seasons shouldn’t be a time for panic, but a time for creativity and looking for new, innovative ways to get more customers through the door.