Consultant David Gordon offers creative ways to maximize opportunities that retailers might not have realized.
- Think About Seasonal Occasions
For example, October is Fire Prevention Month and November starts Daylight Savings Time — both are timely for running promotions on light sources and controls. The autumn months are perfect for advertising that taps into consumers’ desire to spruce up their homes for the holidays. Late winter and early spring are ideal for bringing attention to landscape and outdoor lighting.
- Ask for Support
Manufacturers have literature that you can customize with your store’s logo and distribute to your customers. Reach out to your reps and vendors to see what is may be available to you. Perhaps there are consumer-oriented seminars that can be hosted by a rep, or a manufacturer may sponsor a lunch-and-learn event for the store’s architectural and design communities.
- Become a Joiner
There are many national organizations – in addition to design groups – that have chapters in your business area. The American Marketing Association, professional home stager associations, garden clubs, local networking groups, breakfast clubs, women’s clubs, the Lions club, and other service organizations that are looking for informative talks and would be delighted to hear a presentation on energy-efficient lighting, the lighting needs of seniors, and even current trends in lighting and home design.
- Practice Creative Thinking
Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone when it comes to audiences: Consider a presentation to the PTA on how lighting your kids’ homework area could lead to better test scores; talk to hospitals and medical facilities on illuminating rooms for better patient comfort or operating rooms for greater shadow-free light; or speak to facility managers and maintenance personnel on energy-efficient lighting control systems including vacancy/occupancy sensors. Approach a local college about setting up a table on move-in day. “I know of one [electrical distributor] who did that and made $5,000 in one day by assembling and selling $25 packages of items like extension cords, bulbs, batteries, alarm clocks, task lamps – things the students need, but forgot to bring and that normally their parents would have to make a quick trip to Home Depot to get.”
- Reach Out to Fresh Talent
Consider approaching the photography, engineering, and marketing departments of the nearby community colleges or universities to offer students the opportunity to build their portfolios through an internship (paid or unpaid with college credits) or by handling a project such as photographing displays in your store or installations at clients’ homes or helping to create a promotional campaign. If credits or internships aren’t available, consider running a student contest (for a cash prize) such as most creative use of photography in shooting a lighting fixture or a humorous jingle/marketing campaign for the store.
- Shake Up Your Advertising
Consumers don’t come into your store hoping to see the typical products they can find everywhere else; they want to see something truly unique. Instead of using a standard lighting fixture in your advertising, select one of the most unusual pieces you carry as the lone image. This will immediately send the message that your store is the source of truly up-to-the-minute styles (since they already expect that you carry the basics).