What Makes A Successful Shop Promotion?

| Monday, December 27th, 2010 | No Comments »

There are literally thousands of promotional ideas out there, but not all of them are suited to every individual retail outlet. When thinking of ideas for your promotions you have to bear in mind a few key points:

  • It must be appealing to new and old customers alike.
  • Base your promotion around a theme, for example if running a sweet shop your theme could be retro sweets.
  • How will you advertise your promotion?

How to Appeal to Old and New Customers

The whole point of a promotion, you would think, is to attract new customers to your shop. But this isn’t the only point of a promotion. You don’t want to put off regular customers who may be dissuaded from entering your shop by the increased number of customers all queuing to be served. Make sure then, that you have enough resources available to ensure that customers are served quickly and queues kept to a minimum. I’m sure that each reader has, at some point, been put off from buying something by the size of a queue in a shop, and of course sales and promotions are those times when queues reach their peak. Come up with a plan of action on how to tackle large numbers of customers and make sure you take note of the things that work and the ideas that didn’t.

Whilst it’s great to encourage new customers to visit your shop, you don’t want them to disappear the moment the promotion is over, so make sure that your window display is spot on, that your displays are prominent and the customer service excellent. It’s also vital that your promotion ties into your customer base. It’s no good having a pop star turn up to promote your maternity clothes shop as the very people drawn in by the pop star are not likely to be pregnant women. However if the maternity clothes shop runs a promotion featuring baby alarms then that will attract the kind of customer who will be interesting in buying maternity clothes.

Themed Promotions

You, above all, know your shop well and you know what general theme you have for it. Any promotion should tie in with the general theme of your shop and not detract from it. So for instance an upmarket boutique would avoid doing off-beat, jazzy promotions that would stand at odds with the general perception of their shop.

Each year brings with it a wealth of themed ideas such as Halloween, summer, spring, Christmas, Easter and so on. A children’s clothes shop would do very well on promotional fancy dress items at Halloween and Christmas and a toy shop could promote many of their products on themed days, so take advantage of the calendar to promote suitable products in your shop that will capture the imagination and mood of your customer.

Advertising Your Promotion

The obvious place to start would be the local newspaper. Getting a local celebrity to promote their new product in your shop is always going to attract the headlines, but not every shop can lure in the likes of X Factor finalists and not every shop is going to be suitable for this kind of promotion. A promotion on golf clubs is not likely to be very interesting to the local rag, so you’d need to think of something newsworthy. Having a special ‘Golf Day’ with members of the local golf club on hand to offer advice to golf enthusiasts and perhaps a discounted membership to the golf club for every customer or a raffle to win a meal for two at the golf club will give the local journalists something more to get their teeth into. And the golf club are more than likely to want to get involved since it offers their club a free promotion too.

Of course you could just advertise in the local rag but then you’d have to pay, and tying your promotion in with a news story is not only free but it gives you more page coverage.

Put up posters in places where you know your customer base will be. So a promotion in a sweet shop may advertise in the swimming pool, local ball pool and indoor play areas.

Your shop is also your best way of advertising your promotions, so base your window display around it and hand out leaflets to customers or even passers-by.


Therefore the trick to a great shop promotion is to ensure that it will appeal to old and new customers alike, that it will not detract from the central image of your shop, that you have all of the resources necessary to cope with extra demand and that it is advertised in the right places to draw in the right people.

Not every idea will be a soaring success but you can learn from mistakes as well as your achievements. So long as you always remember the rule of thumb to think like a customer then you won’t go far wrong.

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