With Memorial Day Weekend just behind us, the summer season is officially in full swing. The summer season is an exciting time for retailers and shoppers alike as temperatures rise, vacations are planned, and impulse buys soar as more people are spending time outdoors. Tap into this excitement with creative marketing campaigns and a refreshed merchandising strategy.
Hold a Social Media Contest
Social media contests can be a fun way of expanding your store’s online audience and customer base. The sky’s the limit when designing a social media campaign, as there are so many different ways to go about it. One popular method is asking customers to post pictures from vacation or other activities where they are using your products.
Stew Leonard’s, a grocery chain in the Northeast, has been holding a successful Bags Around the World Campaign since before social media. Customers take photos with their branded Stew Leonard’s grocery bags when they travel, bring the photo to Stew’s customer service desk, and receive a $3 store gift certificate. The photos are then shared on Facebook and within the grocery store.
Create a Seasonal Hashtag
Creating a seasonal hashtag for customers to use when posting your products will help you and your customers find all the photos in one place. It will also help you break up your marketing plan between seasons. One of the retailers we covered in our spotlight column, The Two Oh Three, does a great job of creating seasonal hashtags and encouraging customers to use them. During the winter, they promote their lifestyle products with the hashtag #RockingAroundThe203 and summer products with #203SummerStory.
Partner with Another Business
Retail block party anyone? Pop-up shops, trunk shows, and block parties are fun ways to boost sales, engagement, and excitement for your store. Partnering with other local businesses to pull off these events is ideal because you’ll be tapping into their customer base and marketing lists in addition to your own. Having more local businesses involved means more people are likely to attend, since invitations and promotions will reach a wider audience.
These events are also a great way to test new products in smaller batches or as limited-quantity items before fully introducing them to your store, or placing a larger order for the holiday season.
Revamp Your Merchandising
Does your store look different than it did over the winter season? To make the most out of summer sales, your store floor needs to reflect the excitement of the season. Of course, switch up your window display to reflect new, seasonal, and best-selling products.
Speaking of seasonal products, be sure to feature them throughout your store. Impulse buys like sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, insulated drinkware, flip flops, and phone cases with summer prints are all popular summer items that any store can stock by the front entrance or cash wrap for quick add-on sales.
Many retailers also find success with outdoor products. This time of year, many shoppers are getting around to outdoor projects that have been put off. Hardware supply, tools, and gardening products are all top sellers at this time. Boutique retailers also do well with beach, camping, or boating supplies depending on your area. If you are near a shoreline, create eye-catching lifestyle displays in your store with beach towels, coolers, umbrellas, sunblock, sunglasses, and everything needed for a full beach day.
Go All-In on Summer Holidays
Summer holidays like Fourth of July are some of the most celebrated holidays in the U.S. Many people have time off from work to celebrate, and many people plan parties and get togethers with friends and family. Your shoppers are going all-out celebrating summer holidays, and your store should, too. Many retailers have big sales right before Fourth of July and Labor Day. If you plan to have a sale, start promoting online, in-store, and via email at least a week beforehand so that as many customers as possible receive the information.
Sales for patriotic-themed products also skyrocket around this time of year. Apparel, accessories, and bathing suits are especially popular product category when it comes to patriotic products. Party goods and supplies are also best sellers.
Don’t Forget Seasonal Product Photos
Your summer marketing efforts won’t be truly effective without the right photos. Lifestyle photos with your products in-action help set the tone for the season and what your store has to offer. Quality lifestyle photos are important for conveying product quality, telling your company story, and helping customers visualize your products in action. Taking half a day to hold a photoshoot can seem like a big ask when you’re in the midst of running your store. But, the time and money will be well spent when your summer sales start to soar.