Christian Retailing

Plan your sales calendar to draw more traffic Print Email
Written by Kirk David Blank   
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 04:05 PM America/New_York

How to time specific store promotions to increase sales


No doubt Christian retailers want to keep the front doors of their business swinging throughout the traditional and nontraditional buying seasons. But how do you do it? Driving foot traffic to a brick-and-mortar store may seem something of a lost art, but it’s no less critical to the health of your business than it ever was.

Keep in mind that just because your store has been up and running for a while doesn’t preclude celebrations that attract foot traffic. Any promotion that draws attention can be effective, so it’s important to find the right idea for the sale or event.

Most retailers link calendar promotions to holidays or seasons. Seasonal sales are the most popular type of promotion and will usually be on in your store when your competitors are running something, too. That keeps competition for customers high, but the key to success with calendar promotions is keeping them fresh. Avoid the temptation to have “just another Back-to-School sale or Father’s Day sale.” Try for an angle your store can play that’s different from the expected. Consider these ideas:

New Year, New You: The start of the year is a natural time for the purchase of inspirational and self-help books, devotionals, Bibles and calendars.

Cabin Fever: “The weather may be bad, but this sale is good!” Give those who have been stuck indoors a reason to come out and enjoy what your store has on sale.

Valentine’s Day: “No store gives you more ways to say, ‘I love you.’ ” Feature relationship books, gifts, music and couples’ devotionals.

Spring Cleaning: Celebrate the beginning of spring and clean out some of that old winter inventory. Think of it like a Soap and Water for the Soul sale.

Bridal Fair: Engage brides-to-be and their families with wedding gifts and other  needed supplies: music, bulletins, candles, cake topper and more.

Seniors’ Week: Encourage your 55-and-over customers to shop with a special coupon during this promotion.

Cinco de Mayo: Focus on the first week of May as you give your customers a reason to celebrate. This is a great time to introduce new titles that are also in Spanish.

1776: Offer your customers a reason to celebrate and purchase items around the 4th of July. Use 1776 as a fun price point. Sale-price some Bibles at $17.76 or three books for $17.76.

On the Road Again: This sale highlights the many items that can make vacation trips more fun such as audiobooks, games, activity books, DVDs and best-selling fiction and nonfiction books.

Gutenberg’s Birthday: This sale is in honor of Johann Gutenberg, printer of the Gutenberg Bible. Offer all Bibles for 20 percent off. Although scholars disagree on the exact date of his birthday, this sale may best be done in the summer to drive additional traffic prior to back to school.

Never Too Late to Learn: This sale takes advantage of the back-to-school traffic but emphasizes items that would be of interest to adults. A Back-to-School sale for grown-ups might feature study Bibles, Bible studies, small group materials and reference books all at a great price.

Grandparent’s Day: Usually the second Sunday in September, Grandparent’s Day honors grandparents and other seniors who have made an impact in our lives. Feature a sale on gifts, boxed cards, and large print Bibles and books.

The Sale You’ve Always Wanted: This sale is a “non-themed” sale that helps to reduce inventory and allows your customers to create their own sale. Give some choices and let the customers choose: $2 off any CD, $4 off any DVD, $10 off any Bible or something similar.

Harvest Moonlight: This is a late-night sale for those who, perhaps because of their work shift, find it difficult to make it into your store during regular hours. Offer prizes, drawings and special sales “after regular hours.”

Thanks for Giving: This promotion sale combines giving and saving. Customers who bring a nonperishable food item get a coupon for savings in the store. Start this promotion in early November and run it for two weeks. Donate food to a local charity or food bank.

Holiday Open House: This sale marks the beginning of the Christmas season. During this promotion, you can announce special services such as holiday gift wrapping, Bible imprinting, extended hours, refreshments and seasonal events.

Hook and Nail: This sales helps you move framed art, posters, wall décor and anything else that can be hung on the wall.

Paper or Plastic: Books are paper. CDs are plastic. Offer a sale to your customers that when they buy a book (paper), they will receive a coupon toward the purchase of any CD on their next visit or vice versa.

“Promotional events have to be really exciting and different; otherwise, people just won’t come,” said Rick Segal, author of The Retail Business Kit for Dummies.

If you and your staff have fun, your customers will, too.

Kirk David Blank is president of Largo, Florida-based Munce Group, an association of 400 independent Christian retail stores, and publisher of More to Life (