7 Tips to Help Retail Store Sales During Slow Periods

The word “summer” brings to mind images of a nice day on the beach, tossing a frisbee in the park, and sometimes even sitting at home with a popsicle trying to stay cool while a fan blasts cold air on your face.

However, for retail business owners, summer can be a tumultuous time as it often means a huge drop in retail sales. Reasons for this can vary. The kids are out of school, vacations are imminent, but most often it’s because customers are using their money towards other big purchases like trips, festivals, concerts, or sporting events.

As it is National Independent Retailer Month, here are some ways that can help you combat the summer slump and improve your retail store goals.

Get outside

Winter hibernation is over so join your customers as they too climb out of their cozy, winter habitations and explore the great outdoors. Sidewalk sales are an old method, tried and true in helping amp up your sales. Place a few racks or tables of products outside, even maybe a water bowl for thirsty doggos, and your small business will be way more likely to grab the attention of foot traffic walking by.

Bump up your social media strategy

When in doubt, POST POST POST. Where? Twitter, Instagram, maybe even if you’re still on MySpace. A great way to amp up sales is by increasing your social media output. Strategize a calendar that adds specialized summer content and keeps your social media pages busy and fresh.

Get creative. For example, you can hold a social media contest that engages customers to share posts or come into the store. This is a great method of improving your outreach as it allows your customers to do the work in sharing news about your business with their friends and followers.

For more ideas on ways to improve your social media strategy, check out Shopify’s article that helps small businesses know the best brand content for each social media platform.

Partner up

Combine and conquer! Partner up with another business that offers complimentary products or services (or maybe even a business that offers something entirely different) for your customers. Share coupons or offer deals that combine efforts from both businesses.

This strategy enables buyers to visit both shops and also can help garner a new audience with customers that might not have entered the partner shop otherwise.

Specialize for summer

Summer means bright and colorful, green and fruity, Independence Day, Father’s Day, baseball and more. Bring these concepts into your summer marketing plans and you’ll be sure to garner more attention. Promote summer-themed content across all channels, in-store, and online to help make your business an important part of the season.

Introduce products or services specialized for the summer season. Limited edition or seasonal products create a buzz for business by drawing in customers looking for exclusive content.

Check out festivals

Follow your customers (and get new ones) as they wander around parks and fairs during the summer festival season. Rent a table or booth at these popular weekend and evening events to help widen your reach. This is also a great way to reach out to tourists as they’ll be hitting up these big events and looking to bring home fun souvenirs.

If you’re not sure what festivals, markets, or fairs are happening in your area there are several ways to stay in the know. Start by taking a look at your city or town’s website. These usually stay up to date with special events going on in the area and contain information on how to rent a booth. The Facebook events page is also a great place to scope out upcoming events in your neighbourhood and the short descriptions allow you to see if they are in line with your small business focus.

Offer sales

Summertime often means sales as retail stores change over product for the season. Create some strong sales marketing during this time as customers are always looking for a good deal. Just as you would a social media calendar, create a promotional events calendar that offers different deals like discounts, coupons, or even free samples to loyal customers.

Speaking of loyalty, why not start a rewards program if you don’t have one already. Loyalty programs are a great way of sustaining and growing a customer base.

Create an event

Summer is a time for celebration so just as you might offer a deal or contest through your social media channels, you can also create an in-store event. Whether this be a promotional party, featuring tea sandwiches and all, product demonstration, or a free class, it’s a great way of introducing your business to new customers and getting to know old ones even better.

You can also think about partnering up with other local businesses or charities with this initiative to build rapport in the community.

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These are just a few ideas on ways to generate more sales during a slower season. Most importantly, reach out to your employees and customers and see what ideas they come up with on ways to boost sales. This enables both parties to feel like they have a say in their work and retail experience, boosting overall morale.

Summer should be a relaxing time for everyone, so don’t stress out if you aren’t hitting your goals. Employing these strategies is a great start if your business is feeling the inevitable effects of the summer slowdown.

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