Retail promotions series: From retailer to event manager

New year, new opportunities: 2019 lies ahead of us, make it a year full of reasons to buy. In our retail promotions series, we plan to give you tools and ideas every two months that will help you turn occasions into reasons to buy. After all, more and more is being demanded of us all, including retailers. We have to adapt and evolve: from retailer to event manager.

Surprise customers – create reasons to buy

Thankfully, “there are plenty of ideas. Most are right in front of your nose”, says Sibylle Dorndorf. She is editor-in-chief at publisher Goller Verlag for the “TOYS” and “LOOK forward” trade publications, the latter of which is published for Insights-X, and has been providing advice to the specialist trade for decades. We hope you will take inspiration from her comments as we kick off this retail promotions series.

What Sibylle Dorndorf has to say

And yet the goods move

We want to be cool and innovative. Today’s shoppers always want to be surprised, in a positive sense. With the constant availability of goods, you can only counter oversaturation when you understand how to create a story around a product and focus on presenting this. Content is the “open sesame” element with which you too can “play”. You will find what works for you. After all, if I may be so bold as to paraphrase Galileo Galilei: and yet the goods move!

Viewing the bigger picture

Take a leaf out of the book of other industries and cultures. Take the Carnival industry. The companies in this sector have genuinely succeeded in establishing not only a fifth, but also a sixth and seventh “season”, to the great joy of retailers. Bachelor parties, Oktoberfest, themed parties, fan fests – these get people buying, all year round! And then there’s the textile industry. Concepts relating to cruise collections, sixties’ retro, “let’s party” and “veni, vidi, vintage” as well as fast-changing product lines generate excitement for “more”, thereby increasing the number of shopping trips and occasions to buy.

Or look at the fashion industry. Mango, Zara and the like have long targeted young women with a different religious or cultural background, who have their own dress code and do not wish to go out in a short skirt or with their midriffs exposed. Look at an Islamic calendar and study the feast days and you will find that, for example, Eid al-Fitr (15 to 17 June), which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, is as major an event in Islam as Christmas for us. People come together to eat and then give each other gifts. Children, in particular, never leave empty handed. What does this tell us? In our multicultural society, retailers have long had numerous opportunities for expanding their horizons.

There are occasions galore. The trick is to turn them into a reason to buy.

Painting competitions entitled “My best holiday experience” – just hang the most original finished creations in your window and you’ve got an eye-catching display that will attract customers. A similar effect can be achieved through holding a creative workshop to launch the crafts season. An evening reception with the best exhibits encourages people to browse – and buy. And the “ice age” at the start of the year helps to banish the post-Christmas blues when everyone has “run out of steam”. Amusing knit caps and beanies in your range can break the ice...

Use your knowledge and experience and consider key information such as location, competitive environment and so on to put together the right mix of core and special ranges for you. This will set you apart from large stores who try to carry something for everyone. If you have carved out your own niche, you can go your own way. There is then no need to stick to the mainstream and play along on “official” occasions. Experience shows that a lot can be achieved with relatively little effort.

Plan your event calendar now

Create your own “event calendar” as early as possible. Get your regional advertising community on board and look for ways to cross-sell. Even chemist’s shops are a good point of sale for toys. In return, offer non-core pharmacy products such as children’s plasters and wet wipes. A powerful motto expressed well always ensures traffic.

There are plenty of ideas. Most are right in front of your nose. I’d also like to wish you a great year – don’t let any excuse to have a celebration pass you by!

Retail tip

Plan your own event calendar. Occasions are dotted throughout the year, turn them into reasons to buy. This will give you a unique selling point and ensure you keep surprising your customers.

About the author

Sibylle Dorndorf has been the chief editor of the German trade magazines 'TOYS', 'First step' and 'LOOK forward', the official trade fair magazine of Insights-X. All published by Goeller Verlag in Baden-Baden. The industry expert has been providing advice to the specialist trade for decades. She keeps her eyes open which additional range of products or activities help retailers to do more business.

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