How to Make Products Fly Off the Shelves When Consumers Aren’t Shopping

by Lois Leonard

4 min read

Running a retail store can be a roller coaster ride. During your busy season, merchandise flies of the shelves and you may even struggle to keep up with demand. When the slow season hits, you might earn just enough to pay your staff and keep the lights on. There are lots of cool ways – such as pop-up sales and a generous loyalty program – to avoid the dramatic highs and lows of being in retail.

Have Pop-Up Sales

Consumers love saving money, so they usually keep track of when their favorite retailers are having sales. If you have sales just a few times a year, your customers will make note of exactly when they happen and come and shop, but other times, they might stay away. A good way to get your customers to buy merchandise from you year-round is to have lots of unannounced sales. Sometimes called pop-up sales, you announce these types of sales often and seemingly out of the blue. If your target market uses mobile devices, take to social media and your website to announce pop-up sales. Being known as the retailer that always has sales increases your chances of making sales even when business slows down for other retailers.

Host Events

Nothing attracts people like a gathering. You can get creative about the kinds of events you host to encourage customers to visit your store and shop during slow times. Say you sell beauty products. You might consider hosting a eye makeup workshop and introduce a new product or two to get your customers buying from you again. If you run a bookstore, you might consider bring in an author for a reading and book signing to make sales. Music performances, tastings, business anniversaries, and celebration and awareness days and weeks — like National Maple Syrup Day or National Organic Week – are great ways to get customers to buy products when they otherwise might not be interested in doing so. Offering coupons and discounts to crowds gathered in your retail space is the best way to get your cash registers ringing again.

Use Geotargeting

Geotargeting lets you harness the power of software to find your customers wherever they are and encourage them to shop. You can work closely with your web developer to include geotargeting software in your website and app, which lets you push coupons and discounts to customers whether they’re driving past your store or walking toward the aisles in your store to pick up their favorite products. For example, if you have a feature on your store’s e-commerce website that allows customers to mark their favorite products, geotargeting tools can send alerts and discounts when they’re physically near those products in your brick-and-mortar location. You’ll need to do a bit of research to find out just how many of your customers use smart devices to get the most out of geotargeting tools.

Start a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs might seem like a ho-hum idea, but businesses use them to increase sales because they actually work. When sales are down, a loyalty program can get your customers excited about racking up points for discounts and free stuff, regardless of the season. You don’t need anything fancy to start a loyalty program. All you need is a business card-size piece of card stock, and a hole punch or a pen. If you have web development skills or a savvy freelance web developer on speed dial, you can embed loyalty program software into your website so both in store and online customers can participate. Once you set up your loyalty program, make it easy for your customers to get points. You can award points based on the total dollar amount spent in your store or by the number of a specific product a customer buys. Keep customers signing up for your loyalty program by making rewards worthwhile, for example, offering 10% off the total sales ticket after shopping at your store a certain number of times, or a free product, such as a free jar of multivitamins when the customer buys 10.

Giveaway Samples with Purchase

If your vendors give you product samples, you can use the allure of freebies to boost sales when customers aren’t shopping. To make sales from samples, give them away with the purchase of an item. Giving away samples also shows you appreciate your customers, which you want when sales are down. Depending on the types of free samples you give away, your customers might spread the word among their friends and family and send them into your store to make purchase so they can get free samples, too. A slow period in retail doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can do little things to increase your cash flow, such as giving away samples or awarding your customers loyalty points to brighten their day and get them to open their wallets and buy from you.

References & Resources

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