by Austin L. Ray
It’s hard out there for a retail shop. You’ve got customers to serve, bills to pay, appearances to keep up, lights to keep on, vendors to please, employees to please, and a whole host of other things to take care of that a humble trade publication like Headquest wouldn’t even think of in an intro to a goofy piece like this. But what we can do is offer some suggestions to help gets folks into your store, buying things and having fun. That’s the idea of this new monthly column which will detail a handful of promotional sales ideas for your store. Consider them a brainstorm—a place for jumping off into new ideas that will inject some life into your storefront. And let us know what you think. We’d love to come up with some suggestions for a theme that makes sense to you.
1. World Vegetarian Day (Oct. 1) — Meat eaters have it easy. They’ve got loads of holidays, and garish t-shirts, and “meat weeks” and all manner of nonsense. Hell, whoever does bacon’s PR should be given a raise—never have we seen such a distinctly overrated food. But this isn’t about foodie civil wars. This is about celebrating vegetarians. You can, and you should. Have veggie snacks for your meat-averse customers. Challenge them to bring in vegetables from their garden and hold a county fair of sorts! Veggies are good for us, after all. Take the advice your grandmother gave you when you were young and tell your customers to eat their vegetables.
2. Oktoberfest (Oct. 2) — While the dates varies for this festival that originated in Bavaria, most can agree that it should happen in late September or early October. And what you can do with Oktoberfest is you can have your customers wear lederhosen. That should be your goal. The more lederhosen, the better. And anyone who wears it should get some kind of reward. Also, get some beer. Preferably beer in cartoonishly large mugs like they drink out of in Germany. You’ll be surprised how many people will show up for the lederhosen and the beer. And once they’re there, they’ll buy things. Bingo.
3. World Teacher Day (Oct. 5) — Is there a more underrated hero in our world than a teacher? (Spoiler alert: no.) More than that, these thankless folks toil day in and day out dealing with little monsters and turning them into decent humans (most of the time). What better way to celebrate than by giving back to them for their hard-earned service. Discounts are easy, of course, but maybe come up with creative ways to get them into the store and make them feel special. You could encourage students to purchase gift cards for their teachers, for instance.
4. It’s My Party Day (Oct. 11) — This one is almost assuredly a crock dreamed up by a bored 7th grader somewhere in Wyoming, but who are we to judge? It also happens to be an easy way for you to show off the uniqueness of your store. It’s your party, after all. But maybe consider turning the spotlight back on your customers. How would they like to party? Give them the decision-making power and they’ll appreciate it. They’ll also come to your store. At the very least, use this as an excuse to play that great teen pop song from the 1960s. Your customers will cry if they want to.
5. Halloween (Oct. 31) — This is the obvious one, perhaps, but it’s also the most fun holiday of the year. (Listen, don’t dispute us on this, ok, just accept it.) There are plenty of ways to take advantage of this holiday for your business. Try holding a costume contest, for starters. Or even just giving a discount to anyone who dresses up. A pumpkin carving contest is another fun way to promote your establishment. Play “The Monster Mash” and hold a dance-off. Or let the spirit move you in any other number of ways—that is, so long as they’re sufficiently mischievous.