The Positives of a High-Impact Promotional Sale
By: Joseph Connolly, President, Lynch Sales Company
Introduction by: Chris Lynch, Co-CEO Lynch Sales Company
September 4, 2013
Wow! Business has been great and the customers are pouring in daily like never before! Revenues are through the roof, and my employees NEVER complain.
Wonder what and where this store is? Well, in the real world, it does not exist. Everyone in the retail business wishes it did and more particularly, that it did for him or her. However, all is not lost. You can put “the fun” back into your business. How? By hiring a well-respected and time-tested promotional sales firm. Ah, but you ask, “Why do I need someone else’s help? We have always done things our way, and it has served us just fine over the years.” Really? Then let me ask you a simple question: How is your business doing? Before you answer that, let me point out just a few simple ways that a high impact promotional sale could work for you and why you should hire a highly-regarded Sales Promotion Specialist.
Introduction: WHAT IS A HIGH IMPACT SALE?
Although there is not a formal definition of “High Impact Sale” and since it is more of a concept than anything else, we often describe it as a storewide special event held in a retail store for a specific reason. This Sale incorporates a full media campaign and marketing approach involving many components that dovetail into a community event that the buying public gets excited about. High Impact Sales are held when making a major change to a retail business, such as remodeling, remerchandising, relocating, retiring, reducing and balancing inventories or going out of business.
A High Impact Sale has a definite start date and conclusion date, with a series of mini storewide sales within the overall event. It requires additional selling and office help, supplemental inventory, selling and training seminars, professional management and a specific advertising campaign and budget.
When done correctly, the High Impact Sale does not resemble “business as usual” and generates the kind of buying frenzy often read about but seldom seem in action. Fair and legitimate markdowns that are lower than the previous offering price justify the customers’ willingness to purchase inventory “on-the-spot” that would normally require a lot of thought and reflection, thus the buying frenzy of “first come, first served” is a real component of the event.
In the lifespan of a typical retail store, the owners may have only two or three reasons to celebrate and broadcast a major change to their business, and it is not something with which they are fully experienced. Thus, the use of a professional Sales Event Specialist is strongly recommended to maximize the financial windfall and public relations benefits that result.
Just think of it. 500, 1000, 2,000 and possibly more customers walking into your furniture store in just one week. That is how it is during the first week, and the steady traffic continues to round out realizing 2,500 to 5,000 customers for the sale event (…and all this in a 30-day period)! Now, when was the last time you saw that kind of customer traffic?
The best part is that, you not only see your usual customers, but some old customers return that you have not seen in some time. I bet if you asked them; ‘when was the last time you made a purchase in our store?’ that they would answer somewhere in the 5-10 year period. Where did they go? More importantly, isn’t it good to see them to invite them back into your store?
Many will be passers-by who see your signs in the windows along with your advertising campaign, and enter due to curiosity. Where did they come from? Well, more than likely they have been shopping at your competition’s store.
The advertising campaign and promotion will spur customers to visit YOU first…before they go to your competition. It is at this precise time that they are pleasantly surprised to learn that you are not only competitive, but offer the kind of goods that they are looking for. Isn’t it nice to show them that you are just as competitive and able to serve their needs? Perhaps these are customers that have driven by your store and remarked, “ Oh they have such lovely furniture, but we can not afford it”. I remember in Denver, CO, that a first-time customer entered one of our client’s locations. They were pleasantly surprised, and purchased furniture amounting to $100,000.00 and wanting more. Although rare, it is not the first time, nor will it be the last. A high impact sale brings out customers from all demographics. New customers are like found treasure!
EMPLOYEE MORALE BOOSTER
A High Impact Sale must have focus. This is where the expertise of a highly regarded promotion firm is not only helpful but needful. If you required heart surgery, wouldn’t you seek the advice and performance of a highly respected heart surgeon? Why do less for your business? Such items as instructions, details, forms, education, organization and much more is paramount to a successful sale. You have a business to run with incoming orders, payables and receivables, inventory balances, repairs, salaries, overhead costs, deliveries, and much more as the list goes on. The simple truth is that you probably could not do both…no one could. Frankly, all the staff…from the office personnel to the delivery and warehouse crew to the sales force appreciates the organization and direction. Like the staff in Yakima, WA, who after an event commented, “Boy, we sure are glad you were here because we could not have handled this much business and this many customers. You really had all the t’s crossed and you dotted all the i’s.” It motivates them; as they are better prepared through the proper educational course in how-to-perform and what-to-expect during a sale event.
The warehouse and delivery crews appreciate the customers being educated to the terms of the sale, making their jobs easier as well.
The sales force loves the increased traffic, new customers, and most importantly….the SALES!….putting money in their pockets. Actually, that’s MONEY IN EVERYONE’S POCKET who is associated with the company.
Marketing will direct the customer to you. We are no longer a homogenous society. In the good old days a product would be advertised and then the customer would visit the local store to enquire or purchase that item from them. Today the customer is more mobile and they are technically savvy. They will shop the Internet and choose the most convenient location. BUT, the increased marketing during your event will grab their attention for special offerings and direct them to you.
Potential customers see your business actively thriving and DOING SOMETHING… SOMETHING DIFFERENT. There was this occasion in Sacramento, CA that an eighty-year old woman living in the same town all her life visited a store that had been in the same location for 45 years. She stated, “ I didn’t know this store was here.” She bought a living room set and left very satisfied and happy. Imagine…45 years!?
A High-Impact Promotional Sale Event creates a healthy competition with other stores in your trading area. In some cases I have seen other merchants jealous of the ongoing event. They are jealous of the crowds, the heightened activity, and the obvious results that occur from such an event. In Minneapolis, MN, it caused a major furniture company to take out a full-page ad. They wanted that business and they plainly stated it so in their ad. Unfortunately for them, it backfired and amused our client. Oh, and the customers thought it was muckraking. The result? People were coming in because they wanted to see what all the commotion was about, and ended up buying-and-buying-and-buying to the tune of several million dollars during their 30-day High Impact Sale. That client is still a retail leader today in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community.
A SALE will create an atmosphere of customer interest within the community; talking about you and your business. There is no more powerful form of marketing than personal endorsement. What do you call this? FREE ADVERTISING!
When you run an event of this magnitude, it will spur others to advertise in order to compete. That means more advertising, which in turn means that more customers will be interested in all the special offerings and pricing; thereby turning out more interested shoppers and initiating more shoppers to think about furniture. Remember, ACTIVITY BREEDS ACTIVITY!
You will enable the sale event and positive experience to be equated to your store name. This will only build future excitement to motivate customers to want more from your store. They will ask, “When will you have your next sale?”
Now let me ask you a couple of questions. When I mention vacuum cleaners, what name first pops to mind? How about Recliners? Coffee? Athletic Footwear? Hardware? Did you think to yourself, Hoover or Eureka? La-Z-Boy? Starbucks? Nike? Home Depot? Well, when the customers in your area think furniture, you want them to think of your store; and a High Impact Sale will provide that positive image connection. They will think YOUR STORE.
The various form of advertising, and all the marketing manufacture a heightened awareness of your store, location, and your furniture business.
The sale event is an excellent start to begin an ongoing campaign to aggressively continue to market, promote, and brand your company after the event has concluded. Once you have their attention (and you will with a High Impact Sale), you want to ensure that you do not let them forget you. In a sense, it is a little like dating. You want to ‘woo’ the customer continually.
SELLING OFF OLD INVENTORY
Old inventory in your warehouse or on your furniture store floor can be costly. First, you lose on the particular item that neither sells nor turns. Second, you lose out on the dollars that are assigned to that space where an item could sell: One that would turn, and turn, and turn. You know what I mean. Every store has at least a couple of ‘bread & butter’ items that are the staple of their furniture showrooms.
By having such an event that sells off older stock to be replaced with the fresh new selections, to your customers and the buying public sees that your business is current and striving to keep their interest and their return business.
SURGE OF CUSTOM ORDERS
A High Impact Sale will generate 20% to 50% of your business in custom orders from the factory. We all know that custom order sales are in a higher-margin category. Memory brings to mind this one client in Pittsburgh, PA, who has had three such events, and every time special orders have been in the 50th percentile of overall business for the events. Although not everyone experiences this, his results are far-and-away not unique.
The best part is that these custom orders build a transitional bridge along with bringing in revenue for ‘after’ the event.
DEFRAY COSTS OF EXPENSES FOR REMODELING
Now honestly, isn’t this Retailing #101? If you are going to remodel, then you have a sale. You raise money toward covering your costs.
Again, remodeling demonstrates that you are current, striving to improve, and continuing to serve the community. There is this one client in Lancaster, PA, that we ran a Remodeling Sale for many years ago. They were able to construct a gorgeous new showroom, complete with a new architectural front that poised their business to increase again and again. We have orchestrated four various sale events for this client, and he is still a major force in his market area.
PASSING THE BATON-RETIREMENT
Turning the business over from one generation to another requires special handling for a smooth transition. It provides a stamp of approval from the exiting leadership and transfers the customer with an endorsement to the business’ new leadership into the future.
It eliminates all doubt and anxiety. In Modesto, CA, there was great concern between this particular father and son. When all was said and done, they did not lose a single customer, and gained many new ones. In fact, the son remarked, “This went easier and smoother that anything we could have done ourselves.”
CREATES ROAD MAP TO NEW LOCATION
The heightened advertising and marketing educates customers to where you are going. The sale event actually takes the customer by the hand and guides them to your new location. It will also inform them when you consolidate from two or more locations into fewer locations. Once, we orchestrated a consolidation event for a client in Providence, RI. One of the partners was ecstatic when realizing that the business in the location that was being kept open rose 126% following the event.
The High Impact Sale will develop a “Wait & Watch” awareness of the public for the new location. It causes excitement and heightened interest of what awaits them. It motivates the customers to ask ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘what’ new things will your business be offering? Just like an entertaining performance that is a success…keep the audience engaged, and leave them ‘wanting for more’.
Now does this all sound too good to be true? Well, possibly in the normal retail world it does, but this is not ‘business as usual’. In fact, it does not have one tenth of a percent to do with retail, and it only has one tenth of a percent to do with furniture. Why? Because it is ninety-nine and nine tenths of a percent: psychology. Customers can be absolutely giddy when attending a High Impact Sale Event. Instead of the CUSTOMER controlling you…YOU control the customer. Now I did not say that you treat them unfairly or take them for granted. Fact is, that a High Impact Sale treats the customer with the attitude that ‘the customer always comes first’.
The customer will adhere to the terms and conditions of the sale, and gladly appreciates the clarity that is outlined. The result: customers handing over their hard earned money, and excitedly awaiting the delivery of their furniture!
So, let me ask you that question again. How is your business doing? Does it need a shot in the arm? If you want to put the fun and excitement back into your business that seems to have been missing for a while and reinforce your position in your community, why not run a High Impact Sale? Then, just sit back and enjoy the rewards.
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