From bad weather and road construction to seasonal sales dips, it’s inevitable that your boutique will experience a slump in sales and foot traffic at some point during the year.
Slowdowns cause a shortage of cash, so it’s a good idea to have a strategy for how to attract customers in place for times when shoppers are few and far between. Here are some ideas to get you through the bumps in the road until business picks up again:
1. Put out a sign to attract customers
Place an A-frame chalkboard sign advertising a special offer outside your door to attract passing customers. In case of inclement weather, keep a “sale” sign or banner on hand that you can easily place in your window when needed.
2. Throw a surprise sale
Offer a limited-time, surprise sale to attract customers in the door. Whether it’s a two-for-one special or 30% off everything in the store, creating a sense of urgency can make consumers feel like they’ll miss out on some great deals if they don’t check out your boutique.
Let people know about your sale by posting on social media, sending out emails or doing some text message marketing. As a courtesy, check weather forecasts to make sure your sale won’t hit during bad weather.
3. Be a boredom buster
Sometimes cold, grey weather makes people hibernate. Draw them out with some social media posts that will appeal to those who are bored with couch and/or channel surfing.
Your posts could say something like, “Tired of binge-watching Netflix? Head out to (insert your boutique’s name) for some rainy-day deals.”
4. Go mobile to attract customers online
Does your business use location-based mobile marketing apps? Slow days offer a great opportunity to try them out.
You’re more likely to tempt people to check out your boutique if they’re already out and about. Sending out a discount code for a free gift with purchase—or other special offers—will make it harder for them to pass you by.
5. Attract customers with refreshments
An offer of free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate on a cold, wet day, along with other tasty treats, can entice chilled shoppers to drop by and warm up.
You’ll want to stock a supply of these items in your backroom so you can serve refreshments whenever the occasion arises. And don’t forget to promote them on social media and other marketing channels.
6. Distract & delight the kiddos
Whether they’re stuck at home with young children during stormy weather or they’re desperate to shop without feeling like they have to keep a close eye on the kids, parents will appreciate some help with the little ones. You can tempt parents to drop by your boutique by offering entertainment for children.
From play tables, toys, and books to having an employee read stories or play games with your customers’ children, you can provide a much-needed break for parents and allow them to shop without distraction. Additionally, offering them a discount will be the cherry on the top of their “child-free” shopping experience.
7. Reward, reward, reward
If your boutique offers a loyalty rewards program, you can inform customers that you’re offering double rewards for a certain period of time, whether it’s for one day, over the weekend, or for an entire week.
Incentives can make a big difference when it comes to help attract customers out the door and into your shop.
8. Offer over the top service to the shoppers who do drop by your boutique
The goal here isn’t to appear over-eager about making a sell. Instead, go for genuine service by engaging customers in a warm, and friendly way.
Since business is slow, you have an opportunity to really amp up your service level by listening to what they have to say and suggesting complementary products to accompany what they’re shopping for, or discussing the pros and cons of particular items.
As a retailer, you will inevitably experience periods when foot traffic and sales ebb and flow.
While it’s possible that not all of the suggestions above will work for every boutique, it helps to have strategies in place for those days when shoppers are in short supply.
Whether you create your own holiday or offer a free sip-n-shop night (with free beverages and tasty treats), you can create compelling reasons for customers to drop by your boutique—even during slow seasons.
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