When the mercury rises, it’s hard to entice consumers to leave the cool comfort of home – unless you really make it worth their while. Nothing generates a crowd like a major sale. Merchandising guru Denis Caldora offers several promotions that will work.
- Bring Out the Dogs
Leave Fido at home; I’m thinking about those items in your warehouse that haven’t been selling well – plus I can’t help being in the mood for that summertime food favorite. Put those two “dogs” together and now you’re talking about a Blazing Hot Sale & BBQ.
One lighting retailer I know had a terrific Sizzling Summer Sale that was the talk of the community. They went through their inventory and picked out items that were clearly not selling, marked them down tremendously to move them out, created a section in their warehouse complete with (borrowed) shopping carts, and posted signage that read: Grab ’Em While They’re Hot! In addition, have a BBQ of hotdogs and hamburgers at the ready for hungry customers.
- Hold a Blow-Out
Is there a more perfect time to have an incredible sale on ceiling fans than the hottest month of the year? I like the idea of calling your sale a “Blow Out” or something similar that conveys the breeze generated by ceiling fans. Find the slow-sellers in your ceiling fan inventory and price them to “blow out” of the store.
- Create a Carnival
Cotton candy, kettle corn, corn dogs, funnel cakes, soft pretzels, fried Oreos – whatever says “carnival” to you is fair game for a Summer Carnival themed event. Rent a spinning wheel and offer prizes using accessories in inventory (that aren’t turning), promotional merchandise, or coupons for a certain dollar amount or percentage off any item.
- Tempt Their Inner Foodie
You know that popular restaurant that everyone loves going to? Is there a new café or bistro in town? Approach the owner about a joint promotion where the lighting showroom supplies the ingredients for the chef to prepare samples of the restaurant’s signature dish. This is a mutually beneficial proposition: the restaurant gains exposure to potential patrons and the lighting showroom enjoys an influx of possible new customers. Bringing in a professional from outside of our industry is a great way to generate interest in the community.
- Creatively Capture Information
One of the toughest things to achieve is having consumers part with their contact information (i.e. emails or mailing address). During your summer BBQ event, make up a packet that includes a coupon for a hotdog, soft drink, and some sort of promotional item from the store (i.e. stress ball, pens, keychain). When people sign the sheet providing their information, they receive the packet. Having the coupons is also a good way to maintain order and manage supplies more effectively.
- Broadcast Your News
Local radio stations are always on the look-out for community events to promote. Many of the on-air personalities are available to come on-site and broadcast during your themed event (call your local station to make arrangements). In turn, the radio station typically has its own give-aways which generates foot traffic to your sale.
- Highlight Outdoor Living
One of the biggest trends right now nationwide – even in our country’s most northern states – is the notion of an outdoor living room. Many homeowners are not aware of the wide array damp- and wet location-rated lighting available (from recessed lights and ceiling fans for porches to portable lamps and sconces). During your summertime event, have 1 or 2 outdoor living vignettes for inspiration.
Head: Back Door Opportunity
Deck: Outdoor kitchens are fast-becoming the most desired new “room” in the home.
Backyard patios have undergone a 21st century transformation with dramatic new designs in weather-resistant furnishings, gourmet appliances, TVs and stereos, plus mood-enhancing LED lighting. When it comes to outfitting these entertainment areas, homeowners are sparing no expense – purchasing stainless steel barbecues and granite countertops, wine refrigerators, warming drawers, and wet bars. Just as important are the flat-screen TVs, high-end audio speakers, fire pits, and chimineas.
A well-planned vignette can effectively demonstrate how versatile LED lighting is in creating the perfect outdoor living space.
“There’s a growing demand for high-end outdoor amenities, and energy-saving LED lighting fixtures are part of the package,” says EJ Phillips, national sales manager/showroom division for Nora Lighting. “It’s a new dynamic in the lighting market for showrooms.”
Downlights and LED tape lights can be used extensively in outdoor entertainment areas – and might not be top-of-mind with your customers, Phillips points out. A thorough outdoor entertaining area vignette could feature downlights that illuminate the living and task areas, and tape lights can be utilized as accent lighting under a granite counter for an integrated cooktop. Installing lighting on decks, patios, and walkways are not only functional for safety, but enhance the ambiance.
Lighting manufacturers, such as Nora, offer downlights that are rated for porch ceilings and available in a range of apertures (from 4 to 6 inches) and a variety of lumens (i.e. 650, 750, 1250, 2000 and 3000). “Smaller four-inch fixtures are at the leading edge of a design trend because they offer a sleek, minimal appearance,” Phillips adds.
Not to mention that LED lighting is perfect for outdoor illumination. “There are no UV rays, no heat nor moisture to attract bugs,” Phillips states, “so you could say LED fixtures are truly insect-repellent – a real plus on warm summer nights.” In the case of Nora Lighting’s Diamond series, the fixtures are dimmable to five percent. “They provide bright illumination when needed, or gradually dim down when you want to enjoy the sunset or see the stars,” Phillips comments.
A great time to encourage homeowners to add lighting to their outdoor entertainment area is during a summer event or promotion. “If a homeowner is willing to spend $5,000 to $10,000 for a fully equipped BBQ island, in addition to the outdoor furnishings, they are ready to invest in effective lighting to illuminate their ultimate entertainment center,” Phillips says.
Photos need credit: Photography courtesy of Nora Lighting