After several years of restrictions, shoppers are increasingly looking for opportunities to celebrate their lives. While many retailers make a significant portion of their sales at the end of the year, there are a lot of other seasonal holidays that can help to spread out sales throughout the year.
If you’re looking for merchandising ideas and sales opportunities, consider adding some of the following celebrations this year to your retail holiday marketing calendar.
Black History Month (February)
Lunar / Chinese New Year, Asia
Note that this holiday follows a lunisolar calendar. Therefore the timing of the holiday changes every year and can start any time from the end of January to mid-February. It is usually a 3 week festive period with the first day being celebrated as the New Year day. For the New Year day in the Gregorian calendar until 2031, you can refer to this website.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 13)
Valentine’s Day (February 14)
President’s Day (February 21)
Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday (March 1)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Daylight Savings Time begins (March 13)
Spring Break/March Break (March 14 – 18)
White Day, Asia (March 14)
Holi Festival (March 18)
First Day of Spring (March 20)
April Fool’s Day (April 1)
Ramadan begins (April 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
National Pet Day (April 11)
Tax Season (April 15)
Good Friday (April 15)
Easter (April 17)
Passover (April 15 – 23)
Earth Day (April 22)
Wedding Season (May)
Graduation Day (May)
Ramadan ends (May 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Eid al-Fitr (May 3)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Victoria Day, Canada (May 23)
Mother’s Day (May 8)
Memorial Day, US (May 30)
Pride Month (June 1- 30)
World Environment Day (June 5)
Father’s Day (June 19)
Juneteenth, US (June 19)
Summer Solstice (June 21)
Canada Day (July 1)
US Independence Day (July 4)
Islamic New Year (July 29 – 30)
Back to School season begins
Back to School season ends
Labor Day (September 5)
Grandparents’ Day (September 11)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Get shoppers through your door by displaying your seasonal merchandise (whether you plan on using an entire aisle or a single point-of-purchase display) at a prominent location. Use proper signage to lead shoppers to your Halloween-themed merchandise and displays, will also make them more likely to purchase.
Not selling Halloween-themed products? You can still decorate your store with some festive decorations and visual merchandising. Think about creating a window or point-of-purchase display that showcases products that you already sell – but with a twist. You can use spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, leaves, and fall colours (black, orange, red etc.) to spook things up.
Completely revamping your store’s website is time-consuming and in some cases, it can be expensive. But adding a Halloween touch to your website can go a long way in getting shoppers in a festive spirit. Including Halloween images on your homepage, fixing themed add-ons, and adding pop-up designs are all cost-effective and easy ways to add a spooky feel.
You can also drive more shoppers to your website by creating a separate page (a landing page) dedicated to Halloween. Here are a few tips:
Create a Halloween gift guide for your shoppers that features all of your Halloween merchandise. If you don’t sell Halloween merchandise, consider posting helpful Halloween content. Some good content or blog post ideas include: “Halloween costume ideas for children”, “Halloween decor ideas”,”DIY costumes for adults”, and “tips for hosting a Halloween party”.
Use Halloween keywords (this will help your store appear higher up in search).
Promote any seasonal discounts or promotions that you are holding.
Don’t forget to decorate your social media and email marketing campaigns for Halloween as well!
Adjust for high traffic hours: while you want to keep ads active 24/7, it is a good idea to boost ad performance during high traffic hours. This includes the hours that your store is open and when your shoppers are most likely to search.
Consider physical location: Users closest to your store (20-35 km radius) are much more likely to visit than others who are. Target local shoppers by increasing bids for users that are closest to your store.
For more information on how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and sales, click here.
4) Add Halloween Products
If your store doesn’t sell any Halloween merchandise, you can consider selling seasonal items to boost your store sales.
The following are some good examples of how retailers can add in popular seasonal offerings:
Thanksgiving weekend (from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. Black Friday will look different this year as more COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. It will be a chance for shoppers to re-emerge in store to do their shopping.
This is the perfect opportunity for retailers to attract more shoppers with Black Friday marketing to increase store visits and sales. To take full advantage of the holiday weekend, retailers need to be prepared to meet shopper demand and expectations.
Black Friday Shopper Insights And Trends
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Black Friday sales in 2020 were surprisingly strong. Although brick-and-mortar stores saw a decline in foot traffic and sales, 2020 was a year for e-commerce. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales in the US went up by a whopping 21.6% from the previous year.
From the same survey, it was reported that 44% of consumers planned to shop small and support local retailers. Compared to previous months, local retailers did see a 545% increase in sales around Black Friday. This is good news for local retailers who want to take advantage of the spending season.
Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of these trends and increase your retail sales!
6 Retail Store Marketing Tips
1) Improve Your Local Online Presence
Research shows that shoppers are looking to Google and conducting searches even more now prior to visiting physical stores. This shows that valid and accurate online information make it easier for shoppers to purchase in-store. This means that, even without an online store, it’s important to improve your online presence.
If your business cannot easily be found online, there’s a large chance that you are losing out on potential shoppers to your competitors. Here is a quick checklist that will help you review how your retail store appears online:
Check to see if you business information and holiday hours are updated on Google My Business.
You can use tools like Yext to run a scan of how your business appears on listings / online directories across the web (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc).
If you’ve moved or want to be found on more local directories, sign up for a one-time local listing service through services such as The Hoth or Fat Joe.
Encourage or even offer a small incentive to get your happy customers to leave a positive review on your Google My Business store profile. Make sure that you reply to customer reviews whether they are good or bad. You’ll want to ensure that your customers are regularly leaving reviews as 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. Click here to find out how you can gather more positive reviews for your retail business.
Retailers with websites need to make sure that their websites are mobile-friendly. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to check how easy it is for shoppers to view your website on their mobile phones.
2) Engage With Shoppers After The Holiday Weekend Is Over
This means that in order to capture this chunk of customers, retailers should build on the existing interest and run promotions or events even after the Black Friday weekend. To reach as many shoppers as possible, run email marketing campaigns possibly together with digital marketing ads to promote your unique products and deals!
By partnering with local businesses, you can provide unique deals that shoppers will have a hard time passing up. And this way, you don’t have to risk low profit margins. In fact, you can still sell products at regular price or even at a premium.
The best collaboration strategies include:
Selling products in bundles: Packaging products that complement each other in one product bundle is a great way to increase your store’s average order value. For example, pairing three lipstick shades with a skincare product or, bundling sweaters with a free bag. In order for this strategy to work, it’s obviously a good idea to partner with another retailer that sells complementary products.
Offer partner promotions / discounts: Another effective strategy includes cross-promoting. For example, shoppers will receive 10% off of total sale or free shipping at your partner’s business when they purchase $50 or more at your store. You can print promotional material on your receipts and customers can use this as a voucher.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your most loyal shoppers. After all, they are best customers and the ones most interested in your products.
By adding exclusivity to your email marketing campaigns, you increase psychological rewards like a sense of belonging and importance. This is why exclusivity makes your promotional offers appear more attractive to shoppers vs. simply pricing and encourages them to visit your store.
Remember – shoppers receive too many emails during this time of year. So make your emails stand out with:
Clear offers in the subject line (for example: Exclusive VIP Sale)
Personalized subject lines (personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened). Or, you could include the shopper’s first name in the email opening line.
A short, simple, and to the point message.
5) Promote Urgency
The majority of shoppers (92%) believe that strong deals will be offered all throughout the holiday season. And with so many competitors offering deals during the weekend, shoppers are left with a lot of decisions to make. That’s why it’s necessary to create a sense a urgency with your Black Friday marketing campaigns.
Urgency is a widely used marketing tool in retail. And for good reason – creating a sense of urgency in shoppers increases demand and ultimately leads to more purchases. Create an incentive for shoppers to take action by running your promotions for a limited time. One effective way to create time pressure is to include a countdown timer on your website or in your email campaign. Show your shoppers how many days, hours, and minutes are remaining for them to get a deal on their favorite items.
6) Highlight Stock Availability
Stock availability is a type of FOMO or “Fear Of Missing Out” that encourages shoppers to take action. It’s a good idea to emphasize that certain items are limited or low in stock in your marketing campaigns or on your e-commerce site. If you do not have an online store, it’s a good idea to run Google Local Inventory Ads and take advantage of digital marketing that helps you promote automatically based on product availability. If your POS is linked directly to these type of Google Ads, stock availability will adjust based on real-time shelf quantities and save you the hassle of manual updates.
These ads work by targeting nearby shoppers who are searching online for products that your store sells. Google LIAs are effective because they capture shopper intent at the moment that they are looking to purchase. Click here to learn how your store can easily implement Google LIAs together with your POS system to increase store sales and foot traffic.
Omnichannel Shopping Are The New Reality Of Retail
Regardless of what stage you are at, moving your retail business online, consider the strategies above to improve how well you serve your customers online this year during the all-important holiday shopping season.
Rather than interruption, digital marketing focuses on delivering useful information at the exact moment that target shoppers are looking for it.
What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing Over Traditional Marketing Methods?
Easily Measure Marketing Campaigns
Traditional marketing methods are difficult to track. For example, how do you know how many people saw your newspaper or magazine advertisement in a day? Or how many shoppers you attracted because of it?
Since traditional marketing is so difficult to measure, you won’t know if your marketing budget is being spent effectively.
On the other hand, digital marketing gives you the ability to measure results with advanced analytics. This includes:
The number of people reached (people who saw your content)
The demographics and geographical location of the people reached
Conversion rates (an actual sale, a completed download, a subscriber, etc.) Average session duration (the time spent looking at your content)Exit rate (where people left after viewing your content)
Bounce rate (the percentage of people who left after viewing only one page of your website)
E-mail open rate (percentage of shoppers who opened your e-mail)
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) (percentage of shoppers who clicked on the link in your advertisement)
As you can see, digital marketing provides very useful, real-time data.
At the touch of a button, you know which methods are working and which are not, giving you the ability to adjust your campaigns to achieve better results.
Traditional marketing methods reach a broad audience. Which means that there is no guarantee your advertisement will be seen by your target shoppers.
There is a chance an ad may reach your target shoppers eventually – but it’s like taking a shot in the dark.
Let’s say you are advertising your furniture store on a billboard. What are the chances that every person passing by it is actually interested in purchasing furniture?
Targeting capabilities are much more effective with digital marketing.
This is because you are able to select who sees your marketing campaign. Digital platforms (Facebook, Google, Instagram etc.) allow you to target shoppers based on their gender, age, geographical location, personal interests, their search results, etc.
This means your advertisements will only be shown to those who are most likely to be interested in your products! This way, you can be certain that your marketing budget is being spent more effectively.
Larger retailers have no problem spending millions of dollars on traditional marketing and advertising. This makes it extremely difficult for small retailers with limited budgets to compete.
That’s why digital marketing is the perfect alternative; you can create a similar impact at a much lower cost.
The graph above shows the cost per thousand impressions (often referred to as CPM in marketing) for 7 different marketing tactics. 6 of the tactics are traditional marketing methods while 1 is a digital marketing tool.
While the final cost will vary by industry, social media marketing still allows you to reach 1,000 potential customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing methods.
This means you can spend less money and still reach more shoppers. Or, you can choose to spend the same amount of money and reach even more shoppers!
Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing methods are generally more cost effective and can offer a higher return on investment.
Target Shoppers at the Right Place and at the Right Time
Think about the last time you needed information – where did you turn?
This is why digital marketing has a huge advantage over traditional marketing. It allows retailers to reach buyers directly – at the right place and at the right time. In other words, you can meet shoppers with relevant and useful information at the exact moment that they are looking for it!
With traditional marketing, you are reaching buyers indirectly through interruption. You can only hope that magazine readers stop to read your advertisement or that drivers notice your billboard on the highway.
But because advertisements are everywhere, most people find them annoying and as a result, they are often ignored. This is why traditional marketing is becoming less effective.
Value vs. Interruption
Traditional marketing methods use interruption to gain the attention of an audience. This is why most people hate receiving sales flyers or inconvenient phone calls. It doesn’t feel authentic.
People just don’t trust sales-focused advertisements. They see hundreds of them a day and have gotten used to ignoring them.
Nowadays, shoppers are looking for valuable and useful information that will help them make purchasing decisions. This includes product reviews, blogs, and informative videos.
With digital marketing you don’t have to grab the attention of shoppers – because you already have it!
Want to know more about off-season marketing strategies for retail stores?
Back-to-school is a time of change for many people – teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Many see it as a fresh start and a time for new perspectives.
Smart retailers will play on these feelings with creative marketing tactics.
3 Back-to-School Promotions to Help you Sell More
Even if your store has no connection to back-to-school or college, you can still engage with your shoppers in a memorable way.
Here’s how: cater your promotions to shoppers by using change as a marketing tool.
Listed below are 3 promotion strategies that can help you sell more.
1) A free gift with every purchase made
This type of promotion offers every shopper who spends a certain amount in-store ($50 or above, $60 or above etc.) a free item.
One example of a gift with purchase could be a back-to-school basket with different school supplies. You can also print your brand name on each of the items in the basket. It doesn’t necessarily have to be school related either – popular store merchandise or a gift card are also effective gifts.
The benefits of this promotion strategy include:
attracting shoppers’ attention
increasing the likelihood of impulse buys
making it easier to up-sell and cross-sell
improving shopper experience
enhancing attraction and remembrance of your brand
Social media contests are a great tool to increase sales and generate a buzz online. As most shoppers (college students and millennials especially) are conducting product research online, it is also a great method to reach target shoppers.
This back-to-school season, 49% of K-12 families and 45% of college shoppers are planning to shop online. So get in front of these consumers by running a giveaway or contest with effective prizes.
Here are some ideas for effective prizes:
A “back-to-school survival kit” for different ages of students.
A de-stress prize such as a gift card for a popular restaurant or spa nearby (consider partnering with a local business)
Free tickets to fall festivals, concerts, apple picking or other events
Here are some examples of creative back-to-school tie ins:
A store that sells cleaning supplies could offer discounted packages for college students. It could be marketed it as an all-in-one package for cleaning dorm rooms.
A health food store or grocery store could give away healthy meal plans and recipes for college students. Or alternatively – recipes for preparing healthy lunches for children.
Families love including their pets in holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. So a pet store could offer back-to-school merchandise for pets! Pet-smart is a great example of a store that has leveraged back-to-school. In the past, the retailer has taken advantage of the back-to-school season with their school-themed pet gear.
Want to know more about how to increase foot traffic to your store?
Editor’s Note: COVID-19 has drastically changed the retail environment and traditional methods used to increase retail sales may not be as effective as they once were. With that being said, this article has been updated with new recommendations to help retailers increase their sales during the pandemic.
Below, we’ll go over how consumers are adapting their gifting plans in light of the pandemic.
Keep reading to find out how you can increase your Mother’s Day sales by taking advantage of consumer spending habits.
4 Ways To Sell More On Mother’s Day
1) Offer Convenience
About ¼ of shoppers state that convenience is most important when picking out a Mother’s Day gift. So make it easy for busy shoppers to find a special gift – both in your store and on your website.
Consider creating a point of purchase display that features all your Mother’s Day merchandise. You can even use signage to lead shoppers to the display. This way, busy shoppers can grab and go.
If you are located in a region impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns, take advantage of your website or ecommerce store instead. In particular, displaying a Mother Day’s section on your website is a great way to increase sales. To make things convenient for your shoppers, add product recommendations. For example, dedicate a part of your website to “Top Products for Mother’s Day” or “Most Popular Gifts for Mom”.
For those retailers with ecommerce stores, highlighting popular fulfillment options on your site is another way to increase convenience. As an example, you can encourage shoppers to purchase products safely with a BOPIS option.
2) Give Your Shoppers Gifting Inspiration
More than 8 in 10 shoppers state that they are looking to retailers for gifting inspiration. You can cater to these shoppers by creating a gift guide to give your customers some ideas.
Start by creating a list of items for different types of mother figures (gifts for an aunt, grandmother, godmother, and new mom etc.). The gift guide should feature merchandise from your store but you can also include some homemade gift ideas too.
It’s important that you make it easy for shoppers to find your gift guide. Since most shoppers will be searching the web for inspiration, display the guide on your website homepage. Include a call to action such as: “Thinking about what to get mom? Check out our Mother’s Day gift guide!”
Not only will this create a better shopping experience for your customers, it will also help you appear higher up in search results.
You can also create email guides to send to your mailing list and printable guides to give to walk-in shoppers.
3) Run Google Shopping Ads For Last Minute Shoppers
With 83% of adults expected to celebrate Mother’s Day, you can bet that there will be last minute shoppers desperately searching online for gift ideas. So target local shoppers who don’t have time to spend on gift shopping by listing your products and promotions on Google with GoogleAds.
Here are some tips for driving traffic to your website or store prior to Mother’s Day:
Create a separate campaign for your Mother’s Day merchandise. This can be done with custom labels. Ultimately, this will help increase your online visibility and reduce your spending costs.
Use remarketing lists to target shoppers who are already familiar with your web site. This includes returning shoppers, previous visitors, and those who abandoned their shopping carts online.
Use descriptive titles and high-quality images.
15% of shoppers are focused on finding a cost-effective gift. So make sure your promotions are displayed through your Merchant Center.
Use holiday keywords in your title and descriptions. Consider targeting general keywords such as “Mother’s Day Gift”, “Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day”, “Mother’s Day Flowers” and so on.
That’s why it’s a great idea to create unique gift baskets for different shoppers
Some good ideas include a Mother’s Day Skincare Gift Basket and a Mother’s Day Healthy Snack Gift Basket. Click here for more Mother’s Day basket ideas.
Gift baskets are a great solution for shoppers who are unsure of what to gift their Mom. Group discounted items with regular price items in each basket. This way, shoppers feel that they are getting more than what they paid for. Not only are gift baskets convenient for shoppers, they present the perfect opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell.
Up-sell by suggesting gift baskets to every shopper in your store. Bundling products in a gift basket will help increase your store’s average order value. Cross-sell by placing smaller gift baskets near the checkout area so shoppers can easily and affordably add them to their orders.
Again, if your store is not able to operate due to COVID-19 related lockdowns, you can always highlight different gift baskets on your website or ecommerce store.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Happy Mother’s Day and happy selling!