If you're looking for creative ways to celebrate the holiday season in your store (without having to spend a great deal of time), we recommend these simple ideas from Retail Minded. Any of them can be adapted easily for a college store customer base and pulled off without much effort. Perfect for an already busy season!
Get a jump on the “official” holiday shopping season by hosting a promotion the weekend before Thanksgiving. Email your customers an invite to blow off some pre-Thanksgiving steam and avoid the Black Friday madness with cocktails (or hot chocolate) and stellar deals to share with friends. For example, when a customer makes a purchase, she gets a card to share an additional discount with a friend. Make sure to offer discounts across the board (after all, you don’t want to alienate loyal, if solo, shoppers).
College Store Take: Since campus will more than likely clear out this weekend, you may want to plan ahead for the weekend before students leave for winter break.
Ugly Sweater Day
Tacky holiday sweaters aren’t just for parties anymore: Bring a fun, festive element into what can be a stressful time by inviting customers to wear their loudest, trippiest, most sartorially unfortunate sweaters into your store. When they do, offer them a storewide discount. And, if you’re a clothing store, think about offering a special deal on sweaters that don’t look like costumes. You can also add a charitable element by asking customers to donate gently used (and not ugly) sweaters for a store discount.
College Store Take: As our Facebook feed is demonstrating, many of you are already selling ugly sweaters this season! We'd love to see pictures of any events you have had, so share 'em in the comments!
An alternative to the sale idea could be a craft night, where you supply some glue, glitter and other inexpensive supplies (or encourage participants to bring their own odds and ends) and give a prize for the best — or worst — creation.
The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful, so invite customers to indulge in a little “me” time by offering mini spa treatments. Pick a weekend day in the thick of the shopping season for their choice of a chair massage, nail polish change, or makeup touch-up when they make a minimum purchase. Try to partner with a local salon and spa to set up a mutually beneficial relationship.
College Store Take: This would also work very well for buyback, which will be here before you know it. Planning a relaxing or fun treat for your students will help keep everyone's spirits up during in the face of finals stress.
Turn last-minute shopping into an event with saved-the-best-for-last deals and offers. Turn the last weekend before Christmas into a party with cookies, hot chocolate and complimentary gift wrapping on items purchased in the store that day.
College Store Take: Celebrate those who are last on campus, have a special event geared toward faculty and staff, or have a Stop Day Party before finals start.
For even more ideas, check out the holiday sale ideas in this marketing plan!