Shoppers love sales—they’re getting something they want and paying less for it. We all like the good feeling we get when we save money. It’s the American way—a sale! Some people will even buy things they don’t really need now because of a lower sale price.
But you don’t want to have a sale going on for the same merchandise all the time, or your regular prices will mean nothing. And you need to have enough margin in your regular price so that when you reduce the price, you can still show some profit.
You want to be sure that your store is as full of products as possible during a sale so that you can promote the sale. An empty store makes the sale look unimportant and will fail to attract passersby
Here are some other ideas for running a successful sale:
- Choose a name for your sale to generate interest and curiosity in customers. Don’t copy a name that a competitor has recently used, though; be original.
- Make sure you have enough products in stock to satisfy your anticipated demand. People will come to leave with the product, not a rain check.
- Have the merchandise fit the type of sale. Don’t try to sell your leftover swimsuits at a January ski sale. Sale items should be what your target market wants to buy now.
- Your price reduction should be at least 25 percent and as much as 33 to 50 percent if possible. A 10 percent reduction isn’t going to entice anyone to make a special trip to your store.
- Items that you put on sale should be regular items carried in the store that sell for regular price before and after the sale. Popular items work best and will draw people in to see the other items that have been reduced.
- Have a time limit. The sale needs to end—don’t let it run forever. Consumers will lose interest after a while and ignore all your sales if your items are perpetually discounted.
- Have big displays of commodity items on sale. This makes it look as if you’re expecting a big crowd. Ask suppliers to ship extra products on consignment.
- Get the word out. Make sure there are a lot of in-store and window signs about the sale. Hire a sign twirler to attract the attention of passing motorists. An outside banner will also create interest.
- Use newspaper advertising if you can afford it, or use an insert with coupons and a map to the store. Spot radio announcements cost less than 30-second commercials.
- Send a direct-mail piece to all the regular customers on your mailing list about five to seven days prior to the sale.
- Place related items together. If dresses are on sale, have other accessories at regular price nearby. Many people will purchase both.
- Let your customers know of an upcoming sale at the checkout counter. Hand them a flyer announcing the sale and coupons if available.
- If you have a VIP customer list, give those customers a two- or three-hour head start on the sale for the best selection. Do this by invitation only, and they’ll feel special.
- Talk to suppliers and see whether they will give you a good discount on the larger quantities you may need to stock for the sale.
- Ask manufacturers of your sale items if they will lend you any display items they have to enhance your store’s appearance during the sale.
- Tie a sale in with something like a holiday or an event happening in your town. Making an event out of your sale may even get you news coverage.
- For end-of-the-season sales, see whether your suppliers have any leftover related items you can get at a steal and add to your sale.
Sales are fun and profitable, and they can bring new and repeat customers into your store. If your sale doesn’t work, it means that customers didn’t value the merchandise at the sale price you set enough to buy it now. Learn something from each sale, and the next one will be even better. Also, study your competitors’ sales to get ideas for your next one. If a certain type of sale didn’t work for your competitors, it probably won’t work for you either— unless you are creative and make some changes.