March 2015 | Vol. XIV - No. 3
4 Essential Tips for Boosting Springtime Sales
Make the most of (slightly!) warmer weather and boost your sales with these retailing tips.
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
"Become a member of your community," Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly. "That's something Amazon can't do.Warmer weather is rolling in, and you're waiting for sales to heat up too. But how? TDmonthly went to the source to get the best tips on increasing sales in the spring - experienced specialty retailers.
Get with the season"Match product to mindset," Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly. "Everyone wants to get outside in March, so kites and gardening tools are big, as is bug gear and anything that flies. We match these items to inspiring activities in our marketing (FB, Twitter, email) and to programming in our lab," she explained.
David Stelzer, owner of Shananigans in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly that his strategy is, "Showing off the new stuff that's coming out - whether it be on Facebook or highlighting it in the store. With Toy Fair, there's a lot of new games and toys that they haven't seen before, so we need to showcase them."
"We're in a beach community," Sue Hottel, co-owner of No Kidding (aka Sand Castle Toys Inc) in Mattapoisett, Mass., told TDmonthly. "In late Spring, we roll out kites and balls, and display them up front." They run print ads in local publications, and let people know about sales on Facebook and their website.
"For us, spring usually means something fun in the window," Bryan Raddatz, manager of The Time Machine in Manchester, Conn., told us. "People are ready to go outside, so we put up displays, and try to get people into the store with events. For example, our April flowers event let children make paper flowers." They spread the word through Facebook, mailing lists, and posting about it in their window
Give 'em a discountFor some, couponing is the answer.
"My customers always look for a postcard or coupon that they can bring in for 20 percent off any single item," Teresa Ford, owner of Kids Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly. "They like it if we email or mail a postcard - we do both and get good results."
Bebe Feimster, manager of Big Smile Toys/Hardware Center in Paoli, Pa., has also found success with this strategy. "We have a Birthday Club – we send a postcard with 20% off a toy to children who sign up. We also have a kid’s super Saturday once a month, with crafts for the kids and a discount on certain items in store. In other months, we send out over 1000 emails to customers with our monthly specials. They may include 20% off any outdoor item, etc.," she explained.
Make an event out of itJoe Berardoni Jr., owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly that their strategy is to, "Focus on events, to make the store more of a destination. It's a way to compete with the online retailers," he shared. They also hold Magic the Gathering tournaments, have a train club that sets up tracks, and have open houses with entertainment like face painting and clowns. To spread the word, they run radio and TV ads, and plan on amping up their social media presence this year.
Other retailers also rely on events.
"We're trying to get an event once a month, with an entertainer, so kids have a positive feel about the store," Donna Frederick, owner of The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., told TDmonthly.
"People get cabin fever," Dan Marshall, co-owner of Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care in St. Paul, Minn., explained, "Especially since we're in Michigan!" To keep things exciting, they throw events, like an Easter egg decoration event, where kids can also look at baby chicks. They promote events through social media and local newspapers.
"It's good to combine in-store events with product demonstrations," Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly. "If you need help coming up with a good idea, don't be afraid to ask for help from vendors," she suggested. They do craft days and story time; Cinderella is coming to visit when the movie is released; May 4 is Star Wars day ("May the Fourth be with you"!) and Jedis will be visiting the store. "We also partner with groups to do events," Terry told us. Admission can be something like a donation to a food pantry; the Girl Scouts do a book drive through the store. "Become a member of your community," she encouraged. "That's something Amazon can't do."
What are your top tips for increasing Springtime sales? Share your tips with us on Twitter and Facebook!
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Writer'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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