If there’s one thing we’ve learned after working with retail stores for decades, it’s that retailers are always a season ahead. It may still be spring and consumers are still buying spring dresses and summer shorts, but retail stores are already making room to bring out their fall collections.
And if there’s one thing we know about consumers (being that all of us here at Signs.com are one), it’s that we’re drawn to sales. Words like clearance, half off and BOGO free are magical words that get us into stores buying stuff we don’t need faster than stores can get all their sale merchandise marked down.
May through July are often a big discount period for retailers—you need to liquidate all your spring and summer merchandise to make room for your fall collections. And like all retailer knows, any sales or discounted merchandise really helps increase foot traffic and revenue to your store.
Sidewalk sales are the best kind of sale to offer this time of year. The weather is nice and kids are out of school, meaning more consumers are out running errands and outside enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures with their families. A sidewalk sale, when paired with the right outdoor signage, is the perfect way to grab the attention of those driving or walking by your store and hopefully get them spending their money inside your store.
How to Sizzle Up Your Sidewalk Sale
Creating this kind of successful retail promotion requires some planning. Don’t just throw your leftover items onto racks and into boxes on your sidewalk and cross your fingers that people will come and buy them. Make your sidewalk sale profitable and even a little fun with these tips.
- Check to see if you need a permit. Many cities require you to fill out an application and get a city permit to hold an outside sale, so check with your landlord and your city’s permit and zoning department so you follow the rules.
- Plan it for the weekend or in conjunction with a community event. More people shop during the weekend, so you’ve got a greater chance of getting more foot traffic then. And if it works, tie your sidewalk sale in with an outdoor annual event your community puts on, like a summer festival. Again, more people will be out attending the event and more likely to stop by and check out your store’s sale. You may even get some out-of-towners.
- Market to the masses. You can’t expect hoards of shoppers to come if you don’t advertise your sale at least two weeks in advance. Advertise in your local newspaper, on the radio, Facebook or on your website and by place outdoor signage around your community. Be sure your advertising methods are clear with the location and date of the sale.
- Use the right day-of signage. Since sidewalk sales are obviously outside, you want to use durable, brightly-colored signs along the sidewalk and street to grab people’s attention. While there are a variety of banner options that are good for outdoor sidewalk sales, we’ve found that full-color vinyl banners are a great choice. Also, consider placing a large sign, such as an A-frame or plastic sign propping up your store’s front door that encourages walk-up customers to shop inside your store as well.
- Hook people with the right prices. Those items you desperately need to get rid of, mark them 50-75% off. These high markdowns aren’t unusual for sidewalk sales, and they’ll really hook consumers passing by. Wouldn’t you stop to see the deals you could find?
- Play the right tunes. Music is almost just as important as the products and sale prices you’re offering. Music directly affects how much a consumer spends. Consider the type of store you are and the type of shopper you’re trying to attract to help you select the right music. Playing music will definitely attract attention to your sidewalk sale; just make sure it attracts the right shoppers in the right way.
- Provide refreshments for consumers and their pets. Free food and beverages grab anyone’s attention, so think about joining with a local restaurant or grocery store near your store to keep people hydrated and happy while shopping. And don’t forget about man’s best friend! Put out water bowls so consumers out walking their dogs on a nice day will stop for a moment to let their dogs cool off while they browse through your products.
- Host yours online. Don’t have a sidewalk? No problem. Host a virtual sidewalk sale. Create a sidewalk sale page on your website, announce it in your monthly email newsletter and let consumers shop your sale from the convenience of their homes.
- Evaluate your sidewalk sale. As with any event you host, it’s a good idea to write down afterward what worked and what didn’t. This way you can make it bigger, better and more profitable next time.
Let us know if you’re taking it outside this year. We offer a variety of durable and economical outdoor retail signage options to meet all your sidewalk signage needs!