Start Planning for Success Now!
It is hard to believe that this year is coming to an end, if you have not started promoting your business for the holiday season there is no time like the present. Don’t wait until the new year to plan for the year, while finishing up 2008 get together with your employees and plan events and promotions for 2009. Mark you calendars with the events you want to attend and what you need to promote the events to your customers. The article below, seen in Off-Road Business by Steve Zarwell, gives some great ideas on how to start this planning process and get your business off to a successful start in 2009. PayDirt Media hopes this will help give you some insight on how to keep your business running successfully in years to come.
Here is a direct Link to Article Below seen in Off-Road Business:
Publish date: Oct 20, 2008
In addition to instituting a measurable, manageable, and maintainable sales procedure to keep your cash flow reasonably predictable, you need to have a smart promotional and merchandising calendar to add punch to your sales efforts. And you need to be planning ahead by at least 10 months. If you’re not, you’re behind the curve. So sit down with your team and begin drafting the next 10 months of your calendar. Each month should follow a holiday or particular event that occurs during that month. The following are a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
October – Halloween. Dressing up your shop is a traditional way of getting into the spirit. Contests and giveaways are also good traffic builders to get a jump on the fall off-road season. It’s starting to cool down in the deserts and dunes and your customers need to get their rigs and buggies ready.
November and December – You should have an open house at least two weeks before Thanksgiving weekend to generate customer Christmas spirit early. If your customer base or shop image is family oriented, sponsor a trail ride with a local club and surprise the kids with an early visit from Santa. The end-of-year holidays also provide you with an opportunity to do a charity event.
January – Focus Groups. Before you go to the Off-Road Impact Trade Show & Conference, for example, invite your prized customers over and discuss with them what kinds of things they want to see and ultimately buy from you. (Other retail outlets in your community probably don’t ask them.)
February – Valentine’s Day. You’re probably not even considering a Valentine’s Day event at your off-road business but maybe you should. Remember the women in your customer’s lives still control the household budget and checkbook in most homes across the United States. So why not at least make it convenient for your customer to look good with his better half. One off-road shop had good success with buying a block of movie gift certificates and giving them to customer couples.
March – Easter. If your customers can’t attend the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, you can still do something cool for them and the kids. Galen Fleming, service manager at Adams Jeep in Maryland says that just having some goody bags for the kids seems to generate a little traffic while building and reinforcing goodwill.
May – Memorial Day. This is a good time to honor the active military and veterans in your community with a special thank-you event. You can also play the Mother’s Day card this month. Not that moms want to shop for off-road gear on their special day but dad and the kids might. And if you have a rose or a gift certificate available so he can double up on his errand list, it could work to your advantage.
June – Father’s Day. This is the perfect time to have your own special event. Host a ramp competition where you have some cars available for customers to test drive. Also have some good music and 4x4s on hand; it’s the perfect environment for fathers to bond with their kids.
July – Independence Day. This is a natural. You’ve already dressing up your shop in red, white and blue and sponsoring a rig in the local parade, right?
There are several other events that you can take advantage of in your merchandising and promotional programs.
Your Store’s Anniversary – Develop a Customer Appreciation Day and hand out small gifts to paying customers.
Trunk Shows – This is an old retail term for inviting your vendors to set up a “show of goods” in your store. Send out invitations to your customers to see the new products and be first to order merchandise. Having your customers view samples is a great way to get feedback for product ordering purposes.
BEFORE EACH PROMOTION
If you’re going to the trouble of putting on a promotion, you want to be able to capture as much profit as possible from the traffic generated. You should review your store’s traffic flow, fixtures, focal points, wall displays and other areas to determine what really works. Remember that space is always an issue so all displays seen by your customers must be fully utilized. Some of the most successful retailers calculate, by fixture dimensions, how much product, sales and margin each display piece generates. Can you? Also assess your product mix. A wise retailer once said, “Don’t buy what you like; buy what your customer wants.”