Independent Retailers Celebrate Grads and Associated Sales

Graduation GiftsIs there a cure-all for the current economic condition? Prom and graduation season may be just what the doctor prescribed. Maybe not a cure-all, but with all the bookings at restaurants, hotels and catering companies, and let’s not forget all the accessory and gift sales approaching your counter, the economy may see some springtime growth. Independent retailers will reap a little reward as well. According to a 2009 Los Angeles Times article, “Proms are a $4 billion industry in the U.S.” And graduation? A 2010 NRF Graduation Consumer Trends report, reveals, “Gift givers spent an average of $89.95 on gifts, up slightly from $88.01 last year [2009],” a trend to hopefully continue in 2011.

To be a part of the increased spending trend, however, you have to market yourself, sending the message: I sell PROM ACCESSORIES, or I carry GRAD GIFTS! As BusinessJournal.org journalist, Melissa Preddy, comments, I’ve noticed grad-related marketing themes emerging in sales circulars for a variety of national chains and local companies.” And if a sales circular isn’t your thing, now might be the time to revisit your in-store marketing. In-store marketing provides you with the opportunity to present a clear and direct message to your target customer, the one already walking your aisles or approaching your checkout counter, but more importantly the friend or relative of an up-and-coming grad.

Popular Grad Gift: A Gift for Independent Retailers in the Long Run

Although you can look forward to the sale of diploma frames, signature graduation bears, and college accessories bought by mom, dad, or BFF Laura, your greatest sales will come from the graduates themselves. The easiest and most rewarding gift to today’s grad appears to come in the form of gift cards and cash. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, “small-in-size items like gift cards (35.6  percent) and cash (56.8 percent) will remain the most popular graduation gifts.” The reason for cold hard cash in graduate congratulatory cards, NRF President and CEO, Tracy Mullin, explains, “Graduation is a time for celebration and there is no better way to wish a graduate luck in the next chapter of their life than by giving them a leg up financially. Cash or a gift card is the perfect gift for graduates who may be moving away from home, starting a new job, or heading to college in a few months.” So, while you are looking to supply fun grad-themed items, also keep in mind what these new college students want to buy with their newly acquired fortune.

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