Kick Off to Summer!

kickoff-summer-blog-headerLet the summer weather and holidays be a reason to celebrate! Host in-store events, giveaways and maybe even a little party to get the season going.

Not sure where to start? No problem!

This blog post is repurposed from this Resource article.


Summer is here! Use all the holidays, start with Memorial Day and end with Labor Day (the “un”official start and end to summer)! If you are feeling patriotic, gather all your red, white and blue and create a fun display. This would be a great window display that you can keep up all summer long. You can swap out items as they sell!

Summer is also the time for vacations. Piece together any apparel, accessories and home decor with a beach, flamingo or palm tree on it and let the display let your customers slip away to somewhere warm and sandy!

Make it fun!

Go big or go home! Create the experience as soon as the customer walks through the door. Let the displays and merchandising tell your summer story.

But don’t forget these key facts:

  • Set the scene at the entrance! Whether you are going with red, white & blue or a sunny getaway, make sure you stick to your theme!
  • Have fun things for kids! 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. This is a great way to use old product too if you have any on hand!
  • 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. Is your town bug on fishing? Is your town home to a minor league ball team? Use what’s popular and familiar to your town.
  • Snap photos of your guests for Facebook. Create an event specific photo album so that your customer’s can tag themselves in the photos and share their experiences on their own social media platforms.


We have all been to weddings, BBQs, parties where the music really sets the feel of the event. Make sure that your music compliments the event that you are hosting.

Hosting a Red, White and Blue/Patriotic party? Here are a few suggestions on a playlist!

  • 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

If you are hosting a family event, make sure the music is kid-friendly!

Food & Drinks 

As 8 Oak Lane says, a party without dessert is just a meeting! Make sure to have some light snacks and beverages at your party!

  • 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

Get creative! Serve all of these in and out of items that you carry in your store!

Just an FYI, always make sure that your food and beverage servings are in conjunction with your local food and beverage serving laws/requirements.

In-store Giveaways 

  • 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

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!

Special Promotions

  • 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)

A little somethin’ somethin’

  • 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.  


  • 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. 

Charitable Partners

  • 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.  

Stand Out!

  • 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.


Have any additional questions? Ask Us! We are always here to help!