Practical answers for tough business questions.

by : 
Kim Perkins
December 1, 2013

Question: After the hustle and bustle of the holidays,customer spending tends to really slow down. Do you have any suggestions for stimulating sales?

Answer: Since I’m not sure what you’re doing already, I’ll share some ideas that have worked for us and others. First, I’m assuming you’re taking advantage of online social media sites to connect with customers and remind them of the products you offer and alert them to new arrivals in your store. Here’s a short list of other things to try:

Offer a service such as free chair massage with a $50 or $75 purchase one Saturday. Some massage therapists will donate their time or charge a minimal daily fee for the exposure and chance to build their client list.

Throw an exclusive party one evening to showcase new product arrivals. Serve refreshments and possibly wine or cocktails and invite your best customers. They will feel special and love to see new merchandise before anyone else!

Have a ladies’ day or night and offer a free acupuncture facelift demo. Refreshments are optional, but tend to attract more customers, and a door prize or two makes it even more inviting.

If you don’t already sell used books, or even if you do, sponsor a library donation night. Give customers $2 store credit per book they bring in. Each $2 credit coupon can be used on their next sale. You can put a max on the number of books and also the number of coupons that can be used in a single sale. This will generate sales that day and also in the future.

Join Buy Local in your area or unite with a few area businesses to promote buy local awareness for yourselves. A good source for information on creating a successful campaign is the American Independent Business Alliance: www.amiba.net/buy-local-campaigns.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (www.elysianfieldsonline.com), an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to kim@retailinginsight.com.