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May 2016: Bookstore Block Party Blowout

Posted by Dean Asher on 5/1/16 5:30 AM
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Summer’s nearing, and the days are getting longer… and longer… and longer. Soon they’ll hit their peak, with the longest day of the year, and people will want to take advantage of each and every hour of summer they can get.

The first day of summer is June 20, which is a great time to celebrate by staying open late, hosting a series of flash sales to move merchandise before the start of inventory and getting to know members of your community with a Bookstore Block Party Blowout!

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Set your Block Party Blowout hours

Download: “Sun Rays” themed promo kit
 Download: “Sun Rays” themed promotion kit
Download this Theme

While the official time of sun-down will vary based on your geographical location, June 20 is the official first day of summer in the northern hemisphere, meaning it’s the point of the year where the day is the longest and the night is the shortest. That presents a great opportunity to extend your hours for some summertime fun!

The first thing to do is to select your extended hours. You’ll need to account for staffing availability and what’s realistic for your store and community, but extended hours during what’s typically a slower time of the year for many stores can be a good way to engage in some community outreach by inviting community members from outside of campus to visit your store.

Pick your merch and set your sales

You’re not just a bookstore. You sell a wide variety of merchandise from apparel to spirit gear to household items. Pick items to showcase what your store brings to the community! Given the timing, you might choose sunglasses, beach towels or other festive summertime items. It’s also a good time to put older items on clearance and move them off of the floor before your inventory count.

And since the sale is all about celebrating the long hours of summer, take advantage of your extended open hours and offer hourly flash sales! Each hour, pick a different piece of merchandise to offer a price discount or a buy-one-get-one promotion. This will create a lot of excitement for your store, and encourage shoppers to stop by frequently or stay throughout the day and enjoy your other activities. Since the sales will change rapidly, feel free to use the signage we provide to keep shoppers in your store informed of what sales are in effect!

Host a block party barbecue

Download: “Cool Sun” themed promo kit
 Download: “Cool Sun” themed promotion kit
Download this Theme

What says “summer” more than a grill and a cooler full of drinks and frozen treats? If you have a volunteer who can cook and the space to do it, set up a grill area and serve up dogs, burgers and brats to capture that American summer feel. If you don’t have the capabilities to do so, consider ordering out or partnering with a local restaurant to cater barbecue or other summery foods. Even if it’s just a cooler packed with freeze pops and soda, be sure to provide some refreshments for your guests.

And don’t forget to set up space for people to enjoy their food. Pop up lawn chairs and tailgating tables for people to sit for a minute and eat or chat. (If your store already sells items like these, you have a built-in opportunity to showcase more merchandise.)

Organize some lawn games

It could be as simple as water balloons or a water gun fight, or you could try putting together more elaborate or involved lawn games like yard yahtzee or flipper relays, but games will add to the summertime fun. Some of them can even be held inside, if you don’t have significant lawn or quad space at your disposal. If you want, you could also offer prize incentives including gift cards or free merchandise to the winning team or contestant.

To add to the fun, you could also hire a DJ, or just create your own playlist and set up speakers around the store or event area. Depending on your hours and what time it gets dark in your region, you might also look into buying or renting some outdoor lighting to keep the party going into the night.

Invite the community

Download: “Grill Time” themed promo kit
 Download: “Grill Time” themed promotion kit
Download this Theme

Many of your students may be home for the summer, but there’s no reason the greater community can’t be involved for your summer sale. This is a good opportunity to get administrators, faculty teaching summer programs and even people from off campus to come in your store and participate. Unless you have a large number of non-students following you on social media, your more common avenues of marketing might not be the best way to reach your target audience here. Fret not: You can place a small ad with your local media, or even work with community businesses to get the word out by hanging up flyers around town.

Need help? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a variety of templates and materials!
Download: complete block party marketing kit
Download: all three themes
Download Marketing Kit

About Dean Asher

Dean Asher is a former copywriter with MBS. Though he no longer writes for us, he is still proud of having helped this blog continue to evolve as an industry-leading resource of news and original content.

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