August 14, 2012

It’s Never Too Early Planning For Holiday Sales!

By Paul Bieber

Customers don’t just walk in your door; you have to entice, cajole and create an atmosphere where customers want to come to your store or invite you into their homes or offices.  There is no better planning tool than creating promotions or goodwill around the upcoming holidays.  Right now there is a glass shop owner in Virgina saying, “I don’t want to advertise during the holidays.  Everyone else is advertising, and my small ad will be lost.” Yep.  But, there is a reason why everyone else is advertising…this is when consumers look through the ads, based on their needs in their homes and businesses.

Planning should start 45-60 days before a big sale or promotion.  Do you have to order extra inventory of mirror?  How about stock sizes of glass coffee or dining tables?  Do you need signs made or fliers prepared for mailing.  It may take a couple of weeks of back and forth to create a newspaper ad or update your web site.  Do you have an email list that you send to?  Make your emails professional-looking if you want them to be read.

Columbus day is coming up.  How about a free Italian dinner with a $500 purchase?  Or all work done on boats gets a 10% discount.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two biggest holiday times for home improvements.  People start planning their purchases now.  It’s not too early to plan your ads for after Labor Day, with redecorating for the holidays in mind.

The top sellers are new or upgraded shower doors, mirrors and table tops.  Customers will want these in place before company comes over.  Make a deal with a local supermarket…give a turkey with all the trimmings for each heavy table top ordered. 

What is the ethnicity of your primary customer base?  Do you want to stress Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or all three of them, with different advertising in different newspapers.  Should your ad be in a language other than English?  How about your web site?  How about a donation to the Salvation Army with each sale?  Or Toys for Tots, or any charity you deem worthy.  Bring in a local radio station on the day of the toy drop-off.  Collecting the toys is not only a good deed; it creates positive publicity about your company.

Get your employees a t-shirt that fits the holiday mood.  Have an open house for customers, builders, architects and specifiers with a theme based on the holiday.  Try to avoid liquor at these events…if someone has too much to drink in your showroom, an accident on the way home may come out of your checkbook.  Open houses are not meant to be parties…they are meant for your customers to learn more about you and enjoy themselves at the same time.

Saving energy is so important.  Feature energy-efficient windows in your showroom.  Your window supplier should give you working models of their various styles.  They should all have low-E and argon filling.  Again, most homeowners will want their new windows installed no later than November, so they can finish the interior painting and trimming before the holidays. Columbus day is a big sales event for the window industry.

Retail stores want to be spiffed up by November 1, at the latest.  Call on people who have balky doors, failed storefront units, or cracked mirrors in their displays.

The holiday season should be a big money maker for you…if you plan for it.