When the Turkey Dinner is over, your customers are out walking off the stuffing on Black Friday and into Small Business Saturday. One of the keys to getting shoppers into your store on that weekend is to work on your current customers by getting them so jazzed in the two weeks before Black Friday, that the bell on your door will be ringing off its hinge. These strategies are easy to do and can bring more customers into your store on The Big Shopping Day/Weekend without losing all of your November sales in the weeks leading up to the official start of the holiday shopping season.
STRING UP THE LIGHTS
Shoppers are driving or walking by your store at night, looking in the window, dreaming about what they will buy on their next shopping spree. Stay in their minds by putting white or brightly colored holiday lights in your storefront window to catch their eye as they whiz by. Better yet, take a clue from the boutique Lauren & Riley in Beacon, NY and add a brightly lit white Christmas Tree! With the dark evenings starting at 5pm, your storefront may be out-of-sight-out-of-mind in the dark, even if you are open.
MAKE A "SURPRISE SALE RACK" OR TABLE
You'll want to get shoppers in during the whole month, not just the last weekend of November. When they are in your store, give them a special discount card that gets them even more off their Black Friday or Small Business Saturday purchase. Tell them about a Surprise Sale Rack or Table you are putting out just for the shopping weekend that will have select items on sale. If they purchased something in November, this discount card is for loyal customers only (like them!) and you can't wait to see what they find.
PUT OUT THE SIDEWALK SIGN
Too excited to contain your excitement about your sale? Great. Start early by putting out that sidewalk sign to get customers in your store throughout the month of November. Write your message in big, clear letters. If you can make artwork on the sign or tack on bling or tinsel, even better. Attract your customer by naming things in the store that they want, like "Cozy, Sexy Sweaters" or "Hoop Earrings" or "30% off Sale on Orla Kiely" or whatever it is that customers come in to ask for.
POST IT ON FACEBOOK
Because you're not going to post about your sale just once on Facebook - because that would be like sending a very weak smoke signal into the very large sky - you are going to post your specialty sale items on Facebook in the two weeks leading up to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. One picture at a time, you are going to tempt your customers to "Like" the items, and be on the edge of their wallets to spend at your store.
BOOST IT ON FACEBOOK
And because you're not going to simply post it on Facebook without paying for Facebook's advertising tool called "Boost", you are going to pay a minimum of $5 for each Boost of each post that you do. Why? Because Facebook made it that way. Business pages at Facebook no longer automatically show up in the newsfeeds of the people who "Liked" your page. Nope. Facebook wanted some advertising dollars, so they skewed the results, and make you hand over some cash. This isn't to say that all people will not see your posts "organically" (aka "not paying for advertising"). If people saw the post, and they engaged with it (ie "Liked", "Share", "Comment"), this helps their friends see what you posted. For more ideas and best ways to use this tool, listen to our interview with Nathan Kirk, the mastermind behind the cheese dip, Palmetto Cheese, on how he grew the brand's Facebook page from 187 followers to over 67,000 and growing. Some of his pictures and posts get more than 250 likes. We interviewed him for all of his tricks in one of our weekly #TuneUps and you can get access to the recording. We also posted our favorite highlights from the Facebook Advertising #TuneUp on our blog here.
PARTNER WITH OTHER SMALL BUSINESS NEIGHBORS & FRIENDS
Customers get jazzed when they see brands that they love in different stores. When brands and stores work together, it signals a strong community. And people love living in a strong community, and participating in it. If an artisan is carrying something special, offer it in your store. They will most likely (or you can ask them to) share it with their newsletter or customer list, and with their Facebook and Twitter peeps. If you are a retail store, consider getting friendly with a coffee shop down the street or a few blocks away to offer their customers a special coupon to your store. Spread the word and get people from different areas of the neighborhood to walk through your doors. For ideas on how to cross-promote like this with other companies, listen to our #TuneUp on cross-promotion, "How to Cross Promote with Other Businesses to Boost Buzz and Sales". A local store in Beacon, NY, Utensil Kitchenware, partners with local baker 5 Hens Baked Goods to offer organic peppermint mini marshmallows with this hot chocolate mix.