Winter can be hard on your retail business. Snow and ice storms can shut your business down for days. And customers may hunker down at home rather than brave the cold and dreary days to go shopping at your store. So as the warmer days of spring arrive, you are probably looking forward to renewed sales and seeing more customers venture into your stores. But it's important that you don't just sit back and wait for these customers to find you. Instead, be proactive and entice customers to visit your business.
Spring is the season of renewal, so make sure your business looks as fresh and inviting as the season. The following are a few steps you can take to freshen up your business and make it look more welcoming to customers:
- Clean your windows. If the weather was too bitter during the winter to do much outdoor cleaning, give your windows a fresh scrub now.
- Street sweep your parking lot. What is typically the first part of your business that customers see? In many cases, it's your parking area. So if your parking lot still bears the remnants of your war on winter -- for example, sand and salt -- it's time to clean it up. A street sweeper can help you scrub away these grimy reminders of winter and make your lot look as fresh and as ready as the spring season. If there are other business owners nearby, you could always ask them if they would be interested in chipping in with you for this service.
- Add pops of color with containers or hanging baskets of spring flowers. Pretty and colorful flowers can draw the attention of customers to your storefront. Tying pretty balloons outside your storefront is another colorful way to draw attention to your store.
- Use a sandwich board. Old fashion sandwich boards can be an eye-catching way to announce sales and other activities being held at your store.
Many businesses just sit and wait for customers to enter their doors. If you want to be more proactive, consider doing some of the following:
- Hold a sidewalk sale. If people can easily see some of your goods on display, they may be more apt to enter your store to see what else your business has to offer.
- Offer a happy hour at your business. Happy hours aren't just for restaurants. Many retail businesses now offer an hour -- perhaps on a Friday evening -- where light refreshments are served to draw in potential customers. Typically, the business will also have a special offer going on during the happy hour, such as a buy-one, get -one-free sale.
- Use social media websites to keep your customers aware of your sales and any activities you may have planned at your business. As the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind." By keeping your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sites updated with new and interesting information, you can constantly remind your customers of your existence. In addition, on slow days, you can also drive sales to your business with spontaneous sales that you announce on these social media sites.
- Offer a daily deal coupon. Consider partnering with a social network daily deal website such as Groupon and Living Social. These pre-paid discount vouchers can be an excellent way to introduce your product to new customers and to entice former ones to return to your business.
If you want your business to shake off the winter doldrums and "spring" forward, you need to be proactive. So follow these tips, which could help you get an edge on your competitors.