As a retailer, you know there are times when you don’t have enough customers coming through the door—and that’s certainly understandable. Some days are just slower than others! But even in those “off” months where sales are slow, there are still plenty of ways to drum up business and boost your bottom line. The key to having a successful retail business is to keep your customers coming back. And there’s no better way to do that than by offering them something special every now and then—especially during the holidays. The following 28 ideas for holiday sales are sure to bring in more money for your store, but they’ll also help you build customer loyalty year-round. As the owner of a retail store, it’s up to you to find creative ways to get more people through your doors and into their wallets:
Brilliant Sales Ideas to Try in Your Store
- Brilliant Sales Ideas to Try in Your Store
- Give Customers Discounts for Orders Over $100
- Offer Free Shipping on Orders Over $99
- Create a Customer Loyalty Program that Rewards Your Best Customers and Gets Them Talking About Your Business Online
- Ask Your Customers to Promote You on Social Media in Exchange for a Free Product or Discount
1. Create a referral program.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a referral program? A free meal, maybe? Or an Amazon gift card?
That’s not a bad place to start, but there are plenty of other ways to reward customers for sending business your way. Remember: Your customer is your best salesperson, so treat them well and they’ll keep coming back with more customers in tow.
Here are some ideas for creating effective referral programs:
- Create incentives that will motivate people to refer friends and family (like cash or prizes).
- Make sure you have a referral code or link for your customers to share with their friends—and make sure it’s easy for people using different devices (phones vs laptops) or browsers (Chrome vs Safari).
- Track how many referrals came from each customer so you know who’s bringing new business into the fold. This will help motivate them when it comes time for rewards!
2. Develop a point-of-purchase display.
A point-of-purchase display is a great way to get your products in front of customers. A well-designed display can be used to promote sales and new products, highlight new services or promotions, and even help increase the amount of foot traffic through a store.
If you have a small store that doesn’t have much space, you may want to consider including multiple displays in one spot. This will help keep your message consistent as customers move through the store and also make sure that no potential customer walks away without seeing something they like.
3. Offer an exclusive membership or club.
Offering an exclusive membership or club is a great way to make your customers feel special and provide them with something they can use as a status symbol. A membership card will give them access to discounts, while a VIP club will offer freebies and other perks.
4. Start a sales contest for your employees.
For a long time, businesses have relied on one-sided sales models that are centred around pushing products. What if you flipped the model and started thinking about your employees as a group of people who could sell more than you ever imagined?
This is exactly what we did at our store. We created a contest for our employees to see who could sell the most products in one week. The employee who sold the most would get a $100 Amazon gift card, which was quite appealing to them!
The results were incredible—the top seller sold $1,600 worth of clothing that week!
5. Add upsell offers to your website.
An upsell offer is a deal that you make with your customer, usually after they’ve made their initial purchase. Think of it as an add-on or an upgrade to the original product that increases its value for the customer.
There are many ways you can use upsell offers on your website:
- Offer related products that customers may want to buy along with their initial purchase. For example, if someone buys a shirt, you could offer them a complementary pair of shoes or socks.
- Offer higher-end versions of the product they’ve just bought in addition to what they’ve already purchased (for example, instead of purchasing a digital camera with 6 megapixels and 10x zoom capacity, offer them 16 megapixels and 15x zoom).
- Have “next best” items available for sale at different price points than your initial offering (for example, if you’re selling furniture online through eBay Marketplace).
6. Offer free gifts with purchases over a certain amount of money.
This is an oldie but a goodie. Offering a free gift with purchase is one of the most powerful ways to entice customers into making larger purchases. This can be done by offering an item that they will use, and making sure it’s something they will actually use! If you’re going to spend money on a free gift, make sure it’s worth more than what you’re spending.
- Make sure your free gift helps the customer in some way
- Think about what you need as a customer when shopping: do you want discounts? Do you want coupons for future purchases? Or are there certain products or services that would be useful for your business model? For example, maybe someone comes into your store and sees something that catches their eye but isn’t quite in their budget at this time; offering them a coupon on their next purchase might entice them to buy now instead of later.
7. Run a social media giveaway and offer discounts on the entry page.
- Offer a giveaway for your customers.
- Make sure the giveaway is related to your product.
- Give your customer a little incentive to share your content on social media by offering them an entry discount if they do so.
- Make the contest fun and interesting, with multiple ways of getting entries or sharing it with friends and family.
- Keep the contest easy to follow and understand – don’t make people have to go through complicated steps just to enter!
8. Hold an event at your store with free food, wine and giveaways.
- Make sure you have a good location for your event.
- Make sure you have enough food and drinks for everyone.
- Make sure you have enough seating for everyone.
- Make sure you have enough giveaways.
- Have a plan for how to handle any problems that might arise, like if the electricity goes out at the store during your event or if people show up late and there’s no more food left, etc.
9. Promote your store on local directories like Google My Business and Yelp!
You can use local directories to promote your business. Some of the most popular platforms are Yelp and Google My Business.
- Optimize your listings on both platforms by filling out all relevant fields (business name, address, phone number etc.) and adding relevant photos that show off what sets you apart from other stores in the area.
- Use them together—Yelp lets you add links from their website to whatever social media accounts or websites you want! For example, if you’re going to be offering a special during your sale period, create a Facebook ad directing people here for more information about when/where it will take place as well as how much time is left before it ends!
- Encourage customers who have visited before but not purchased anything yet (or even better: new customers) by asking them directly via email if they’re interested in hearing more about what’s happening at this time next month – then send an invitation with details like “Here’s where things stand right now…” or “We’ll keep working hard until everything goes live.”
10. Partner with other local businesses for cross-promotions and coop advertising opportunities.
Teaming up with other local businesses for cross-promotions and coop advertising opportunities is also a good tactic to pursue. This can be as simple as putting up a flyer at the local pet store, or it could involve something more comprehensive like having your customers get a free gift after they buy so many items from you. It’s important that you make sure the other business agrees to this beforehand, though, because otherwise, it will seem like spamming your own shop when customers see that sign everywhere.
11. Send hand-written thank you notes to customers who have purchased from you in the last 30 days (or longer).
Hand-written notes are more personal than a generic email or automated text. They show that you care about your customers and they encourage them to buy again because they believe in your business.
Using these thank you cards, you can also get feedback from customers on how well your products worked for them (and where there’s room for improvement). You can also ask how they would describe the experience of buying from your store to others!
12. Incentivize reviews by giving customers coupons or discounts for leaving reviews or sharing their purchases on social media using a branded hashtag.
Another way to get customer reviews is to incentivize them. If you have a customer who has left you a review, offer them some sort of coupon or discount for sharing their purchase on social media using a branded hashtag. For example, if someone shares a review of your product on Facebook, they might receive 10% off their next purchase at the store. Or if they leave a review on Yelp and include the hashtag #MyRetailStore then they can earn 100 points towards future freebies!
By creating an incentive program through email, social media and text messages (or even by creating an app), you can encourage customers to share photos of themselves wearing items that they purchased from you in order to receive additional discounts and incentives.
13. Use mobile payments to make it easier for customers to buy from your store or use a mobile app to scan their own items and bag them as they go (for example, Amazon Go).
You can make it easier for customers to buy from your store by using mobile payments. For example, Amazon Go has a mobile app that allows shoppers to scan their own items and bag them as they go. This is more convenient than having to wait in line at the register and pay with cash or plastic.
Another way you could use mobile payments is by allowing customers to use their phones as a payment method. For example, some restaurants have an app where you can order food at the restaurant and then just show your receipt at the register when checking out so they know how much money you owe them without having to swipe any credit cards or enter any PIN numbers yourself (which would be extra work for both parties).
14. Create a sale out of a holiday.
Holiday sales are a great way to attract new customers and help existing ones feel appreciated. They can be seasonal or year-round, and you can choose the holidays that work best for your store.
Some of the most popular holiday sales include:
- Valentine’s Day (February 14)
- Patrick’s Day (March 17)
- Easter Sunday (April 21)Easter Monday (April 22)
- Cinco de Mayo/May 5Day after Cinco de Mayo/May 6
- Memorial Day WeekendMemorial Day Monday/Last Monday in May
This list is not exhaustive—there are many more holidays that make good candidates for a sale!
15. Leverage social media.
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you get the word out about your sales. Create an Instagram account and share photos of your products. Use hashtags to reach people who are interested in similar items, like #blackfriday or #cybermonday. If you have a Facebook page, consider promoting your social media accounts from there (as well as on Twitter and other platforms).
Use social media to offer coupons or discounts for specific days or times during the year. For example, if you’re having a sale on Christmas decorations at the end of November, announce it on all of your channels so customers know when they should come looking for deals!
You can also use social media to build excitement around new products by including product photos in posts leading up to their release date (or even showing them off early). You could also create series featuring different aspects of your business—for example: “An inside look at our warehouse” or “Meet the staff member who makes our jewelry shine!” In this way, readers will feel like they know more than just an image; they get insight into how things work behind the scenes which builds trust while increasing brand awareness as well!
16. Host an event.
Hosting an event is a great way to increase sales and gain exposure. Events can be hosted in the store or outside, on a regular basis or once in a while. In addition, they can be free or require a fee to attend.
- Parties or celebrations: Hosting parties is one of the easiest ways to increase sales without having to spend much money on decorations; you just need ingredients for food and drinks, which are usually cheap! You could also hold an activity-based party such as painting classes, singing lessons etc., where people pay per hour/session.
- Workshops: Workshops are very similar to parties but have more structure and focus on specific topics; for example, if you sell furniture then you could host workshops about how best to maintain it properly so that it lasts longer. The main advantage of workshops over parties is that they allow participants who want something specific from them (e.g., learning how best to use furniture polish) rather than just want entertainment value like most parties provide
16. Reach out to your customers by phone.
The best way to retain your customers is by staying in touch with them. You can do this by calling them, asking them what they are looking for and if they have stopped in recently. If they say yes, then ask them why they haven’t been back in the store lately and if there is anything you could do to help get them back into your store more often. Also, ask about their favorite items or brands that you offer as well as any ideas that they might have for future sales or promotions you could run at the store.
If not, ask if there is anything specific that would drive more foot traffic into the store. Maybe try offering additional incentives such as a “buy one get one free deal” or a coupon code where customers who spend over $200 will receive $50 off their next purchase. You should also consider sending out email newsletters on special events taking place at your store including new merchandise just released or upcoming sales events happening soon!
17. Donate a portion of a sale to charity.
Donating a portion of your sales to charity is a great way to 1) get more people in the door, and 2) give back. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!
- Local charities: Donate proceeds from local sales to an organization that supports the community.
- National charities: Donate proceeds from national sales to a national organization that supports the cause you care about most.
- International charities: Donate proceeds from international sales to an international organization that supports causes similar to yours (e.g., animal welfare).\
You can also choose specific causes, such as breast cancer research or helping inner-city kids get access to healthy food options at school lunches (if you own an organic grocery store).
18. Have employees wear branded apparel.
Employees in a retail store are often the first and last impressions that customers have of your business. They should be dressed in branded apparel that is attractive to customers. For example, if you’re selling shoes, you may want all of your employees to wear a branded shirt with a logo on it. This will help brand your store and make customers feel more comfortable shopping there.
When choosing employee clothing, consider things like:
- What is the theme of my store? Are there colors associated with this theme? Do I want my employees to wear bright colors or more muted colors? If so, think about what colors would work best for each employee’s role at my company (for example: one type of shirt for cashiering staff, another type for salespeople).
- What kind of quality do I want from my employee uniforms? Should they be made from cotton or polyester? Are there any logos or designs that need to appear on them (for example: an embroidered name tag)? How many different styles should I offer (plain t-shirts versus dress shirts versus buttoned-up collared shirts)?
19. Hold a contest.
- Hold a contest. You can create a giveaway or sweepstakes by giving away prizes, coupons and gift cards. To make the contest more attractive to your customers, ask them to post photos or videos of themselves enjoying your store and its products. You may also ask them to share their stories or experiences with your store in order to increase engagement.
- Offer discounts on social media posts about your brand on specific days (e.g., every Friday).
20. Give away free stuff on your Facebook page or website.
- Give away free stuff on your Facebook page or website.
This is an easy and effective way to boost your store’s exposure because it gets people talking about you and what you sell. You could even make a contest out of it and give away two prizes each week for a month—or whatever works best for your business model! The point is that giving away something relevant to the business is an excellent sales idea, especially if the offer is limited in time (i.e., “free until supplies last”).
21. Send an email newsletter to existing and potential customers.
An email newsletter is one of the most effective marketing tools you can use to promote sales, market new products, build customer loyalty and make them more likely to come in-store.
Email newsletters are also a great way to send coupons and promotional offers.
22. Do something unexpected that adds value for your customers, such as offering valet parking.
One of the most important things you can do for your customers is to add value to their shopping experience. For example, the valet parking service at restaurants offers customers a convenient way to park their cars and avoid looking for a parking spot themselves. If you have the space in your store, offering valet parking can be a great way to add value for customers and improve their shopping experience.
23. Give bonus points through your loyalty program for purchases during the holidays.
Bonus points through your loyalty program for purchases during the holidays (or whatever timeframe you choose). Bonus points can be used towards future purchases, towards a discount on future purchases, or to enter a drawing for a prize and/or discount on future purchases.
Bonus points are great because they have no monetary value at all—they’re just another way to say “thank you.” And when customers feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to come back and spend more!
24. Hold a sidewalk sale outdoors if local ordinances allow it.
A sidewalk sale is an outdoor event held in front of your store or business to promote its products and services, typically during the summer months when people have more time on their hands. A sidewalk sale can also be held at any time of year, but it’s best to avoid going up against major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving when many people are travelling or visiting family members.
To advertise your sidewalk sale, consider using posters and flyers as well as social media posts about it. To prepare for the event itself, make sure that you have enough staff members to help customers with their purchases during peak times (morning rush hour or late afternoon), and make sure all merchandise is clearly marked so that shoppers know how much they’re spending on each item.
Sidewalk sales are often very successful because they’re easy for people on foot or bicycle to access nearby areas; however, if there aren’t many people around your location then this might not be worth doing just yet! This obviously doesn’t work for online retailers and online ecommerce stores — except maybe soon when the metaverse is more of a thing.
28. Use your window display as part of the sale theme.
When it comes to holiday sales, a good window display can be one of the most effective ways of enticing customers into your store. The phrase “you can’t miss me” is an understatement when it comes to your sale window display. Your window is the first thing people see when they walk by your business and you need to make sure that it grabs their attention right away.
You can use your holiday sale theme as inspiration for creating a great window display. If you are having a sale on men’s clothing, consider using mannequins in themed outfits like Santa Claus or elves with candy cane-colored ties and accessories (the candy cane-colour scheme will also go well with red and green). If it’s Christmas-themed items that are being sold, think about using snowmen or gingerbread cookies instead.
26. Offer special discounts for first-time customers only.
- Offer a discount for first-time customers only.
You can offer a special discount to people who have never shopped at your store before, like 10% off their first order or 20% off the first item they purchase. This is a great way to attract new customers and get sales from them right away.
- Offer referral discounts when customers refer friends and family members who make purchases at your store as well.
If someone brings in another customer (a friend or family member), give him or her a small reward for the referral—like $5 off of their next purchase at the store, for example—to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing efforts from loyal customers
27. Invite artists to participate in a show and sale hosted at your store.
Use your store as the venue for an art show featuring local talent. If you want to keep it simple, ask the artist if they would be willing to sell their work at a discounted rate, or even for free. You can also have them display their art in your store permanently (with permission). Another option is to have them create an original piece just for your retail space.
28. Use Groupon or similar sites to create buzz about your store.
Groupon is one of the most popular sites for getting customers, so it’s worth your time to learn how to use it. You can offer a discount on your products or services in return for the customer agreeing to come back and purchase more stuff from you.
Groupon has been around since 2008 and while they’ve had mixed success with their company and IPO, they have helped small businesses like yours get new customers and increase sales.
What Groupon does well provides free advertising in exchange for guaranteed sales (or at least high probability that someone will buy something). It’s a win-win situation: The customer gets an awesome deal, and you make money selling products or services at discounted prices; everyone wins!
The sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with fresh sales ideas!
The sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with fresh sales ideas! Use your imagination, create a list of ideas and then choose the best one for your business. Here are some other ways you can come up with new sales promotion ideas:
- Ask customers for their ideas. Take note of what people say about your store and what they like about it. You could also collect customer feedback in an online survey or by asking them on social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
- Ask employees for their input! Your staff members have valuable insights into what works well at the store and how to improve customer service so make sure they know how important their input is to you by listening carefully when they speak up during meetings or after work hours over coffee (or beer).
The One Thing You Need for All These Ideas
There are plenty of ways to have a successful sale. Start by brainstorming, planning and executing your ideas, then promote them in a way that’s enticing to your customers. The key is consistency—the more often you hold sales and offer discounts, the more likely they are to become regular shoppers at your store! If you’re looking for new retail store ideas, these 28 sales ideas are a great place to start.
If you want these ideas to help you boost your sales and increase profits, however, you need to make sure you’re using the right tools for the job. RunSensible is an all-in-one sales and marketing platform with a host of amazing features, which you will need to use for any of these sales ideas for retail stores efficiently. From the necessary tools for discounts and promotions to scheduling and email marketing tools, RunSensible empowers you to actually set these ideas in motion in the best possible way. Start using RunSensible right now for free or ask for a demo to know how it can help your business.
When do I need new sales ideas for my retail store?
Any time you need to improve your sales or when you see your sales figures are not as high as they should be is a great time for using these sales ideas for retail stores.
Does implementing sales ideas for retail stores usually cost a lot of money?
Not at all. Of course, there are some expensive ways to promote your retail or online store, but most of these ideas can be implemented at very little cost.
What are the most effective sales ideas for retail stores?
It really depends on you — what type of business you have, and what do you plan on getting out of it. Read the article for some popular scenarios and what ideas are most effective for each.