As the holiday season approaches, businesses are gearing up for some major shopping to begin. There’s one day that stands out above the rest because it’s known for its great deals: Black Friday. Though many condemn the celebration of consumerism that this holiday entails, downtown Bangor has reclaimed Black Friday as its own, celebrating instead the support of small businesses and small business owners with Plaid Friday. Each promotional shopping day will take place on Friday, Nov. 24th, so if you’re a downtown Bangor business owner who plans to take part, there’s still plenty of time to make a plan for your promotions.
Last year, more than 30 businesses in downtown Bangor participated in Plaid Friday sales, specials and events. It’s still a bit early in the holiday season, so this year’s Plaid Friday event hasn’t officially been announced, but you can bet that preparing ahead of time will give you an edge. Here are five ideas to help you form your Plaid Friday plan:
Keep in mind that everyone loves free items. Offer your customers a free item with their purchase. If you own a coffee shop and sell bags of coffee (the perfect stocking stuffer), offer a free cup of hot coffee with the purchase of a bag to thank the customer for buying local. Whether you offer a free sample of a product, a gift card, or the popular BOGO (buy one get one) deal, offering something for free is enticing to many people. If you sell items online, consider offering free shipping to boost your sales. Do what’s best for your business model while still offering a great deal to customers.
Have plenty of gift cards ready. Gift cards are another great stocking stuffer and the perfect option for a shopper who doesn’t know what to get their loved one while they’re in your store. Offer a nice gift card holder along with it so your customer walks out with a great gift option that’s already packaged and ready to go.
Use the influx of holiday shoppers to your advantage. Do you have an email list that needs a little help? Offer a special deal for customers who sign up for your emails. You could give them 10 percent off their purchase (don’t forget your disclaimer) or a coupon to use after the New Year if they sign up to receive your emails. This move will help your email list grow, which will benefit your business well into the future.
Be your customers’ guide. Everyone has that hard-to-shop-for person on their list. By creating gift guides for different demographics, you can help your shoppers find the perfect gift for their loved one who has everything. You should also make sure your employees are know everything they should about your products and services so they can answer questions from customers and make gift suggestions.
Remember what the holiday season is about. What do the holidays mean to you? Put a little bit of yourself into your business during this time. If donating to local causes is important to you, let customers know you’re going to give $1 for every item purchased toward a local charity. If baking holiday cookies with your family is a tradition you hold dear, offer some of those cookies for free along with a card that has the recipe on it for customers to take home and enjoy with their family.
Competing with big box stores is always hard, but now is the time to celebrate the uniqueness of your business. Sit down, make a plan, and bring it to life for the holiday season. If you need help, we’re always here, and your first 30-minute consultation is free.
Good luck with the start of the holiday season from all of us at Pulse.