Seasonal promotions require planning but are well worth the effort. Try to formulate sales that can be repeated each year around the same time to create a sense of anticipation. This kind of event can bring in happy return customers, both online and in person. They will then spread the word, doing a significant amount of the promotion work by passing information along to friends.
Be aware that nothing sends shoppers away faster than hearing “Sorry, our card swiper is broken,” or worse, “Sorry, we don’t accept that card here.” Check your credit card processing methods and make sure they are up to the task and will provide all the options that customers expect. Discuss merchant accounts with the bank and make sure customer service will be helpful and efficient in the case of equipment complications or other issues.
When you are creating your event, make it unique and memorable. Perhaps you can find unusual holidays that coincide with the company’s mission or products and incorporate these to stand out. Make good use of holidays that will demonstrate credibility or human interest in all of the event’s promotional materials. For example, offer information about American Heart Month in promotions for Valentine’s Day advertisements or emails. Other ideas include having an online photo contest with a short window of entry to increase excitement or utilizing email announcements with coupons that people can forward to friends.
Upon finding something that works well, try to incorporate it each time. This might be sending out coupons or holding a contest for a seasonal event you establish or it might be pieces of promotion doled out like a puzzle, a little at a time. Your shoppers will enjoy promotions that are fun, different, and interesting. Customers also appreciate it when a store is reliable. Try to create a balance appropriate for your audience.
Speaking of reliability, make sure all credit card processing is secure. Don’t be afraid to ask the bank some hard questions about their merchant accounts and hardware systems, including how security is handled. Put reassurance about this on the company web site or signs in the service area. Customers will appreciate that this has been considered carefully with them in mind.