Spring is upon us, and though winter seems reluctant to depart, beautiful weather will be here before we know it. I love this time of year and can’t wait to get out in the garden. Plus, as the days get longer and people’s moods improve, their thoughts will inevitably turn to pleasure.
They don’t call it ‘spring cleaning’ for nothing.
Spring is a great time to clean out your closet and give your house a deep breath of fresh air, and the same goes for your store. It is a great time to open the doors and windows, let a bit of that spring energy into your space and schedule an all-staff work day to update your stock and your store. Even if you have good cleaning services and your employees are very disciplined, spring is still a great time to evaluate what you moved in your winter sale days between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and to see where your stock can be refreshed or moved along by your spring marketing campaigns.
What is the dust telling you?
I always find it helpful to get staff input on new ways to display things in the store. Flip the stock around, and be sure to dust and clean boxes as you do. Pay attention to where dust is accumulating on your stock and ask yourself if you have some odds and ends you might want to mark down or create a promotion with. Those dusty spots may also be telling you to add some light to a dark corner or brighten up the merchandise in that area. Be sure to move obstacles out of the way so people feel more comfortable shopping and walking through.
Bright colors make ‘spring fling’ items stand out.
Spring merchandising is all about fresh ideas and fresh inventory. Consider enhancing your customer experience by bringing in a new planogram with fresh, bright colors. Try bringing in old favorites in new colors and see if you can quickly turn your inventory that way. I often use fresh flowers in the store, even some I snipped from my own garden. Bringing in the outside can make everything feel a little sweeter and fresher.
Marketing efforts should never stop, but spring is a great time to take advantage of all that ambient enthusiasm. Instead of running expensive campaigns for new customers, make the most of the ones you have. Ensure your staff is communicating effectively with each customer, getting in their head to make sure they leave with everything they need to execute whatever fantasy brought them into the store. Take advantage of the extra spring traffic with add-on promotions. Run a sales game with your staff to see who can sell the most lube or toy cleaner.
Host a spring savings event and partner with relevant businesses.
As adult retailers, we rarely get invited to the local chamber of commerce meetings, but you can always throw the party you would like to be invited to. Springtime is the perfect excuse to network with other local businesses and can be a great time to host an event.
Consider hosting an in-store event like a bridal show. Bridal vendors are always looking to catch brides early in the decision-making process, and by displaying at a vendor event, they may catch prospective customers who are in love but not yet thinking of marriage. We did a bridal show where we invited bachelorette-related businesses to promote themselves at our store. We connected with a local limousine company that occasionally brings us groups of girls to shop together.
Think about cross-promoting with vendors who can do other sorts of events for your clients. A good boudoir photographer is worth their weight in gold these days, and every social club I know does theme parties that a good caterer can take to the next level.
Work tax season into your marketing efforts.
With a bit of extra money in their pockets from a tax refund, customers find it easy to indulge in an item that will make them feel good, so make sure to have some luxurious upgrades available in your store. Draw attention to them with designer scarves under the product, or cellophane packaging with a pretty gold bow to help scratch the itch for indulgence. Setting up a “good, better, best” display will help customers see the difference in performance they can expect for a bit more of an investment in their toy.
Don’t forget to update your online presence too.
Google your store and make sure all your listings have the right information. Update pictures of your store, especially after you have dusted and brightened it. Make sure the online presentation matches the in-store experience.
We small business owners wear all the hats, but don’t be afraid to delegate some of these ideas. Just think of spring as a creative opportunity to refresh your approach, update your website’s look, prepare your store to welcome all that fresh energy headed your way — and increase your cash flow.
Spring Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Retail Sales by Tami Rose originally appeared in XBIZ