Winter 2007
What marketing and sales techniques do you use in your post-holiday sales?

Siobhan Connolly of MoonRiver

Siobhan Connolly of MoonRiver
Pearl River, NY

“We send postcard specials to our loyal customers inviting people to an ‘after-holidays’ party that gives them exclusive special discounts. We say, ‘Let’s enjoy and get ready for the New Year.’ We also offer free gifts with purchase; small giveaways work well. During a sale, we don’t lump all the sale merchandise in one corner, but we combine them with items that are regular price so customers can pick up more than just the sale-priced item or see new ways in which products can be used. You want to create new, interesting displays with merchandise shown in different ways. You need to redesign the store. Especially if the customer has visited the store in the holiday season and they [might otherwise] feel like this is the same stuff or, ‘This is something I have seen before.’

During the Christmas season, we give a store coupon for use later, so the customer returns when new items come in. We have an eatery next door, so we give customers a coupon for a free cup of coffee next door or something like that, which makes [the store] seem like a destination place. We have also done small Christmas baggies with homemade cookies and little coupon tags attached—anything to make it inviting to the customers.”

Shelly Dozier-McKee of The Scarlet Tassel, Inc.

Shelly Dozier-McKee of The Scarlet Tassel Inc.

“Every January we have an after-Christmas clearance and we place ads in local newspapers mentioning that we are selling at 50 percent off. That draws a lot of people. Even a week or two before December 25, we start mentioning the sale to customers. We have five open houses throughout the year and hold ‘coupon events.’ We put a different spin on the coupons, like 25 percent off a single item. We have also tried room-by-room sales, where stuff only in one room is on sale. That makes the customers come back multiple times. We also do direct mail with postcards, where we just saturate our mailing list and send out around 60-80,000 cards. With the postcards, we tie it with an incentive,-‘Bring this postcard in, get a percentage off’-, so we could gauge the response rate. With a newspaper ad, the response rate is a lot harder to gauge.

We move things around in the store to make them move faster. Sometimes we will package stuff together. Like, an attractive tray that could be used on a vanity counter can be filled with bath salts and soap, and sold together.”

Tom Graefen of Monarch’s Heaven

Tom Graefen of Monarch’s Heaven

“Chicago has a big trade show in January, so we need to make room for the new products. Anything that hasn’t been moving goes on sale, but the most important thing is to realize what is moving and what’s not, and to be able to adapt. Of course you have to give your customers plenty of time to see it, but if for a year or a year and a half it’s not moving, then it’s time to move on.

Every January we have a big clearance sale, and we do offer incentives like percentage off. We stand on the street and hand out flyers, and that attracts a lot of traffic. We do merchandise blasts with email addresses. The biggest thing to get people buying is to offer something for free, so we offer free items for bulk purchases or anything over $100.”

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