For 38 years, the Fresno State Kennel Bookstore has had lines outside the store the week after Black Friday full of students and community members anxious to grab holiday deals. The secret to the success of the annual Holiday Open House lies in heritage and an innovative approach to connecting with faculty.
Store Director of Kennel Bookstore Curt Parkinson said this is the first year the sale included a preview event for faculty, staff and alumni.
“We had a postcard sent to all faculty and staff,” Parkinson said. “We invited them to a preview sale on December 1 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.”
The store also took a copy of the postcard and posted it to their Facebook page alongside other messages promoting the sale to the general public, which ran on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3. The idea for a faculty and staff preview sale came from campus community feedback.
“The staff couldn’t get away for the sale in the past,” Parkinson said. “Doing a preview sale for them only helped. We had food, refreshments and free gifts for the first 100 people through the door.”
Parkinson said the free gifts were gone within minutes.
“We closed the store at 4:30 p.m. to build some suspense and promote the sale,” he said. “It was nice to have a line waiting.”
Along with most apparel and gifts being discounted 25%, a 20’x40’ tent was set up outside with 50% off specials. Some of the hot ticket items included hoodies, t-shirts, and 100 Sherpa blankets.
“The blankets sold out in less than 20 minutes,” Parkinson said.
To further support the event, Parkinson said the store partnered with Apple to offer specials on Apple products to faculty and staff during the Friday portion of the sale. In exchange, Apple supported the sale with some co-op funds for the postcards mailed on campus.
With a tight marketing budget and small footprint in which to market, Kennel Store relies on word-of-mouth, social media and an innovative approach from year to year. The 2016 sale resulted in more than $100,000 in sales during the three-day period.
“We are pleased,” Parkinson said. “We will be doing it again.”
Improve your sales between now and the end of the year with some tips from social media pros.