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March 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 3
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15 Retailing Tips for Boosting Springtime Sales

The proper merchandising and advertising can help your sales blossom this spring


With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

The seasons are changing, and while much of the country is still covered in snow, spring is just around the corner. With that in mind, TDmonthly Magazine recently interviewed retailers about their top tips for boosting retail sales in spring. See their tips below.
 

MERCHANDISING

"Carry fun outdoor toys for everyone who is ready to get out of the house.  Feature products with bright colors & spring themes: kites, bugs, gardening, etc."
— Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va.

"Keep it from snowing! (we're still working on this one). If you can take advantage of long-term dating, filling your store early will boost sales naturally."
— Dean Smith, owner of Jazams Toys in Princeton, N.J.

"Make the store is open and active.We have a hopscotch mat on the floor and other activities in the store. Anything that gets energy out of the little ones! Easter is late this year, so it will help with bubbles or jump rope, things that people can put in baskets that aren't candy."
— Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine

"Have a good selection of spring merchandise like kites and outdoor fun activities."
— Mark Rosenblum from Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn.

"Make sure you have lots of outside stuff, like kites. It's harder to demo outside stuff inside the store. Whatever you can demo, that's obviously going to help. And make sure there are fresh, new items merchandised well at the front of the store. We hang kites in the store."
— Greg Larson, owner of Larson's Toys and Games in Columbus, Ohio

"Make the store look fresh with outdoor, active things. It's more than just buying outdoor toys, sometimes you have to take money away from one line to fund it. In the last few years, we worked harder to get outdoor toys. It's a logical thing, but when you make a concerted effort, you can see a change. Instead of buying expensive science kits, we bought outdoorsy stuff, and it paid off."
— Michelle Sahr, owner of My Little Red Wagon in Hudson, Ohio

"Be prepared. Get in contact with local schools and camps so you know what their schedules are. Teacher workshops, too. Any day that there might be an influx of kids, you want to know about so you can staff accordingly."
— Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga.


ADVERTISING

"We encourage all of our customers to join our e-mail list. Simply by signing up, we send a monthly newsletter which contains a special for that month. It changes monthly - could be a discount on a category to a flat discount for all purchases. We have a growing number over 1000 names."
— Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

"We do promotions regarding new massive launches for product lines like Lego and Playmobil - these really excite the fan base these brands have cultivated. We also do lots of promos for sleds and other seasonal items."
— Dean Smith, owner of Jazams Toys in Princeton, N.J.

"Currently we are using coupons in various publications and brochure distributions at over 160 locations, also kiosk touch screen machines at certain locations to attract customers for the beginning of tourist season in our area. We are working on increasing our social media blasts to tourist groups and customers and hope to have that ironed out in the near future. We also have workshops every now and then and continue to post on our Facebook and twitter accounts."
— Barb Stine, owner of Toys on the Square in Hummelstown, Pa.

"We have an ongoing ad in local publications that advertises the whole store, but Facebook allows you to be more specific. For instance, we can announce a sale of 15% off all puzzles. It's specific, and gives people an idea of things to buy. And we know immediately how effective the Facebook posts are by how many people come in referencing them."
— Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine

"We do electronic ads more than anything else. E-mail and Facebook seem to do better than traditional ads."
— Mark Rosenblum from Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn.

"We use Facebook, but I question the real success of Facebook in driving traffic. Even if you pay to boost. It's better to be interactive. Post a question and get people to respond online, and become a part of it. I think it's better to do this rather than just post info, which would be a one-way communication."
— Greg Larson, owner of Larson's Toys and Games in Columbus, Ohio

"Facebook has worked well. There's a finesse to it. You can boost a post for $5. When people start sharing a post and talking about it, then you know it's paid off. It also matters what you post about; open a toy and play with it! That's going to get a lot of attention. You can tell a story on Facebook."
— Michelle Sahr, owner of My Little Red Wagon in Hudson, Ohio

"We use Twitter and Facebook to focus in on specific deals or events like a book signing. We also feature our store's dog, who is very popular with people on Facebook. Print advertising doesn't work well unless you consistantly take out ads."
— Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga.



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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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