Kick Off Indie Retailer Month with Patriotic Pride

1. Theme – Summer is upon us and with that comes the promise of summer fun – vacations, travel, and the promise of summer adventure.  Plus…smack in the middle of summer is 4th of July and a great holiday to kick off Independent Retailer Month.  Getting started – think of all the merchandise in your store that can apply to this summer’s needs.  Be it paper and party ware for casual outdoor entertaining or serving pieces and gifts for the more formal event- Get ready to pull it all together and capitalize on summer’s gift, travel and entertaining needs!  

BEST PRACTICES from the experts – Offer a special or promotion, to get the foot traffic in the door. Market your event heavily – GET THE WORD OUT! And last thing, Offer a rain date alternative for any specials or promotions- the whole world is BUSY and weekends are taken. HAVE FUN and ENJOY THE PARTY!

2. Make your party FUN!!!
Go all out- from the minute you walk in the door to the last impression at your cash wrap, let’s make sure it is evident to all who enter that there is something special happening! Decorate around your theme –
  • Don’t forget to set the scene at the entrance with red, white & blue. Patriotic pride is all around! 
  • Pinwheels, streamers blowing in the breeze (or a fan), kites, smiling sunshine faces – the local dollar store can be a great resource for inexpensive décor.
  • Think about summer activities- baseball games, picnics, pool parties, beach trips and family fun- incorporate these into your décor theme with photos, clip art, and gift giving suggestions posted around the store. 
  • Customize the theme to your region’s favorite summer pastimes- fishing? Is your town home to a minor league ball team? Baseball…the American pasttime. 
  • Snap photos of your guests for Facebook. 
3.  Music: 
The music should reflect your theme, and there is nothing fun about a party without music! Here are some 4th of July suggestions:                                                                 
  • American Woman – Lenny Kravitz
  • American Girl – Tom Petty
  • America – Simon and Garfunkel
  • Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
  • Living In America – James Brown
  • R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. – John Mellencamp
  • In America – Charlie Daniels Band
  • Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
  • Surfin’ Usa – Beach Boys
  • God Bless The U.S.A. – Lee Greenwood
4.  Drinks & Appetizers:
  • Mini burgers and mini hot dogs
  • Veggie trays- the bounty of summer goodness
  • Potato salad in small cups
  • Think finger foods- finger sandwiches 
  • Anything satisfying but light- Yogurt cups.
  • Fruit skewers and sliced watermelon 
  • Popsicles shout summer fun!                       
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Champagne spritzers or create a special cocktail (Need ideas?
  • Ice down mini bottles of water in a large pail or server you sell

Hint- Use the serving pieces, paper table ware and tools that you sell when serving your guests. 

5.  Give Away ideas:
  • Samples of any product line you carry. Contact your sales rep or the vendor for additional samples for the special day.
  • Especially easy are bath or fragrance lines 
  • Samples of any food goodies you sell- dips, sweets, munchies
6.  Prize Drawings:  
  • Tickets to local Arts in the Park
  • Local baseball game tickets
  • House sitting or dog sitting services for use during a trip or vacation
  • A trip to a local spa or salon (coordinate with a local spa, in return for free advertising) – Think pampering!
  • Free makeover with a local make-up artist
  • Free hair salon visit, color consultation
  • Do a grand prize giveaway that includes a Summertime picnic basket filled with picnic items such as napkins, serving trays, blanket, wine and glasses. 
  • Gift cards to your store for their next stop in– ALWAYS promote a repeat visit!
7.  Promotions – Promote all things that = Summer fun in your store
  • Think about summer getaway needs- travel bags, totes, cover-ups, summer fashion
  • Casual entertaining and time spent outdoors- party ware, acrylic drink glasses, ice buckets, melamine serving pieces.
  • Summer gift giving wouldn’t be complete without the nod to summer weddings and shower gift needs-serve ware, home accents and décor, kitchen and cooking related product.  
  • Promote gifts for every person on your list- birthdays, grads, and weddings. Group together products by interest, color, personal taste, and budget. 
  • Pull displays together by price point and by theme.  
  • Offer free gift wrap AND delivery with a minimum purchase.  Think personalized, pampering service.
  • Reward this buyer with ‘Buy More, Save More’ deals.
  • Give a discount on multiple buys and complementary items- Buy two regular priced items, receive a third free (equal or less value)
Buy two, get one free accomplishes two goals – You move product and your customers benefit from the great buys.  You create a ‘customer for life’ with deals and legendary service.
8.  Something extra special: 
  • Hold a silent auction of a collection or category in your store; add value by including a store gift card, a local gardening expert, or service related gift.  
  • Do an hourly drawing with either in store gift cards or services donated by local businesses- local spa, car wash, café, pet grooming.
  • Offer valet parking, with the tips going toward a local cause or charity.  
9.  Marketing- e-blasts, on your fb page, flyers, or paper invitations.
  • Start by posting your upcoming event plans on your store’s Facebook page and homepage of your website
  • Create buzz by asking your customers what their favorite summer memory is- use fb to start the conversation.
  • Make a contest out of it and ask your fans to vote on the ‘best’ memory
  • Reward the winner with a free gift or discount
  • Create event flyers and insert them into every customer’s bag at purchase for two weeks minimum before the event.
  • Send an e-mail blast to your customer base inviting them to the event with a special offer for them and a friend (Great word of mouth advertising and you could double your traffic.) 
  • Ask them to print the eblast and bring to the event or mention the invitation to be eligible for a special discount, treat, gift, etc.  This allows you to track the effectiveness of your emarketing.
  • Post your event on Community Bulletin Board and your local hot spots
    • Local Coffee Shops
    • Local Restaurants
    • Local food markets
    • Kid’s gyms & karate schools- anywhere the lady of the house is sure to see your advertisement. 
  • Invite the local media to your event 
  • Phone your BEST customers a week before the event and extend a personal invitation to these special buyers. 
10. Partner up with a charity 
  • Any women’s or children’s charity 
  • Local food shelter- give a discount or gift to anyone that brings non-perishable food to donate at the event.
  • Connect with anything local that may be a focus in your community.  
HINT: Tying your event to a charity can give you great PR. Inform your local TV channels, newspapers, radio stations and invite them to your event.  
11.  Set your event apart:
  • Don’t forget the everyday gift giving needs that we all must buy for- birthdays, births, showers, and weddings. These occasions are ‘recession proof’. Be ready with your ‘silent sales person’ – the beautiful displays you put together.  
  • If your store gift wraps, be sure you are ready with gift appropriate wrapping paper for all the possibilities.  Think about offering free gift wrap on event day.  Or free with a minimum purchase.