Vicki Adrian brings a daily dose of Inspiration & Education for Remarkable Retailers and Savvy Entrepreneurs. In today's Periscope, Episode 133, Vicki encourages business owners to offer incentives to set your store or business apart!
Small gestures can go a long way toward giving a customer a positive shopping experience that can turn into repeat business. In our retail store, we offer incentives year round to reward our shoppers for doing business with us. Many of these things can be done “on the fly” and with social media, you can quickly get your message out to your clients.
Here are a few examples…
Last Valentine’s Day, we had received a large order of stuffed white bears late in the game for Valentine’s Day, so had quite a few leftover. Over the past couple of days, we offered our customers one of these cute bears for $5 (original price $17.99) with any purchase of $25 or more. This was a win-win as we moved that older product out the door to clear up storage space, and it made our customers happy!
We also offer complimentary gift wrap on every purchase. I know a lot of our Periscope listeners have Hallmark stores, and that you sell a lot of gift wrap, so this might not be an area that you want to introduce… however, for us, we shop really hard to find inexpensive ways that we can wrap, so that we can offer this as a free service. We use both plain and printed cellophane bags that cost just pennies, along with colored tissue and curling ribbon. We have larger gift bags for items that need something larger, but we are happy to offer this to our clients.
Our friend, Terri King from My Secret Garden in Bay City, Michigan uses a punch card that, when completely punched, get’s customers $20 in free merchandise. She also promotes a 5th Saturday event (usually there are 4 or 5 5th Saturday’s in a year) where her customer’s EARN a nice shopping bag when they redeem their punched card. They can then bring that bag back on a 5th Saturday and save 20% on their entire purchase. Several members of our Mastermind Group have adapted this for our own businesses.
Choose one category or line in your store to feature and discount each week. In our business, and in many of the businesses I work with, we have something on special each and every week. This past week, we have had all of our FASHION jewelry…necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc. on a Buy One, Get One FREE special. Make it a good special with a definite beginning and end date.
We have also done things like 25% off all Tops or 30% off all home decor. You can also choose one of your main vendors to put on special for a week… We have done this with candle lines, clothing lines, categories like games etc. This gives you something to promote and talk about in your emails, on social media, etc. Take a calendar and pencil in a promotion each week for the next 6 weeks. This gives you a place to start…you can always change it!
A VIP Club is another way to add value and incentive to your customers to shop with YOU! We consider our VIP’s to be any customer who is in our Email List. We send out weekly emails, and many times pop in a “Reader Reward” at the bottom. This can be a Gift Certificate with no strings attached…(take a deep breath)…or a FREE Gift with purchase of $35 or $50 or whatever. We want to make it fun and EASY for our customers shop with us.
Now if you’ve been in business a long time like we have, you will remember back to the days that “Specialty Stores & Boutiques” never discount. Well, those days are over! If you’re not offering incentives to your customers, you can be sure that your competitor, whether they’re down the street or an online business, as handy as your customer’s phone… certainly is! Be a smart shopper and look for items that you can use as specials for your customers. Today’s retailer will only survive by being a very savvy buyer! The profit is made in how you BUY as much as in how you SELL.
Action Item for TODAY…
What item could you move out the door today as a $5 with purchase of $25 or more? You can take a photo of that item, post it to Facebook and be off to the races. If you run out of that item, take a photo of another one, and post that to Facebook! Maybe you have some scarves, or a jewelry item, or a candle in the back room that you need to move out…
TODAY IS THE DAY! You will have BUYERS, not just SHOPPERS coming in the door today! Make it a memorable shopping experience for them. Be absolutely SURE that you are capturing their contact information including email address, so that you can start to build a relationship with them.
Next week, send out Thank You cards on Monday to your shoppers to let them know that you APPRECIATE their business, followed by an email on Wednesday to let them know what incentives you have for them to stop back by next weekend!