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Vacation time is sales time

Vacation time is sales time

Summertime is traditionally a slow time for most retailers. Vacations are underway, schools are closed or on summer session. But that doesn't mean your store is without alternatives. Now is the time for seasonal promotions! Here are some great ways to keep selling despite customer travels and a temporary slump in foot traffic.

Invite customers to special events

Forbes advises holding a summer event. Everyone else is hosting pool parties and cookouts, so there's no reason why you can't stage a special in-store promotion giving shoppers a reason to stop by. Consider an in-store demo by one of your suppliers. Hold a silent auction to benefit an area charity. Or stimulate traffic by giving prizes to the first 25 attendees walking in the door.  Crank up the air conditioning, serve lemonade and put up some festive displays. But above all else, keep shoppers comfortable and lingering longer by your merchandise.

Window dressing

This season, pay extra attention to window displays. For example, put an umbrella and a chaise or folding chair in the window with a mannequin. For a bookstore, the mannequin could be reading. For a clothing store, it could be dressed in summer wear. If you can relate your merchandise to what your customers are doing during the season, you'll connect with them on a more personal level.

Social media sizzle

Facebook Live is a great vehicle for a closet sale, says Forbes. Even if customers aren't walking in the door, you can still reach them at home or at the office using Facebook Live. Post a date and time for the sale, and then do 30-60 minutes selling off new inventory and leftovers. Invite all your social media followers to join you as you clear out clothing, shoes and accessories. Not only will you be making space for new inventory and generating sales, but you'll also be adding new fans to your social media base thanks to the proven attraction of video.

Target travelers and tourists

If your area gets a lot of summertime visitors, promote your store in attention-getting ways. Special signs and banners, message boards and posters can all be used to call out to passers-by and greet them by name – "Welcome, visitors!" You can also contact local tour companies with an exclusive offer for their customers, or bring flyers to your local welcome center. And make sure your company is listed on Yelp and Google.

Go out to the fair

Summertime is festival time – take your wares to nearby fairs, festivals and seasonal events and go where your customers are. Sign up for a booth, pick a few products that are perfect impulse items, pack up some portable tables, display accessories or rolling racks – and prepare for potential new shoppers.

Start a contest

All you need is a contest box and blank entry forms. Or you could do the contest online, inviting people to share a Facebook message or tweet with others in order to qualify. Or ask shoppers to tell you in a certain number of words what they love about summer. Keep it fun and easy to enter – everyone likes getting things for free!