Let freedom ring!
And by “ring” we mean “cha-ching!” because nothing says, “Happy Birthday, America!” quite like consuming 150 million hot dogs in one day, spending $700 million on fireworks and flying more than 125,000 American flags over the U.S. Capitol. America loves to spend money almost as much as it loves to party. During the July 4th week in 2010, the U.S. spent an estimated $92 million on chips and $60.3 million on dip. That’s right, more than $150 million spent on arguably the laziest potluck contribution (you know who you are).
Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be the first to the grill begging for another crispy dog, and I can always use an excuse to buy some patriotic outerwear. But one thing every retailer can take away from this holiday spending spree is this:
American shoppers are ruthless, so you better prepare for this stampede coming your way. They are ready to spend, and you better be ready to sell.
Americans aren’t just over-consuming fireworks and dogs - they’re expected to spend in all kinds of places, and one of them may be your shop. That’s the beauty of national holidays in America, right? Sales! Sales! Sales!
With the holiday just a week away, your July 4th plans may already be set, but here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready for the holiday’s big spenders:
1) Leverage social media with your loyal fans: For a lot of retailers, Independence Day sales may be a prime opportunity to introduce your brand to new customers. Leverage your loyal customers to spread the word about your brand and engage with them via social media with a #july4thsale or #independencedaysale hashtag.
You can also encourage customers to share pictures of your products that day with the discounts you’re offering. Do your research and select customers that have a large number of social media followers. Incentivize them with free products or even offer to repost great pics on your blog and social media outlets. Whatever you can do to grow your marketing army at a lower rate of energy output, do it!
2) Continue communication with new customers: With all those loyal fans spreading your fabulous discounts, how are you capturing new customers that buy from you? Create a quick sign-up form on your site and collect new customers into your email marketing database. Foster these new relationships through drip-campaigns and make sure you are winning them over even after the sales are gone. You don’t want to train people that they can always get your products at a cheaper rate. Leverage that great brand you have to build a connection and keep them coming back.
3) Make sure your website is prepared for increased traffic: Because of your oh-so-tempting sales, new and old customers will be flooding your website more than usual. Who is in charge of your website? Do you have a plan if it were to go down? Make sure you have communicated with the necessary people to (1) assure downtime does not happen and (2) if it does, you have an immediate remedy. There is nothing worse than going to all the trouble of creating a strong marketing campaign and then having your entire website crumble. Make this a no tears holiday by being prepared.
4) Nail down your packaging and shipping process: Just like your website, your operational process will need some maintenance during this busy time. With a routine schedule of packing and shipping products to customers, you may not have experienced a large uptick in orders. Be sure that you have a team in place that is ready to handle the heavy load. Bring the positive energy, get them pumped and prepared for a wild week of shipments. Create a checklist of every single step and don’t forget to stock up on items that aren’t included in your product list (i.e., packing slips, shipping tape, boxes, etc.).
5) Set realistic expectations: You most likely have a small team, so it’s probably best to realize that you can’t do it all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and obligated to do everything at once, pair down your list and set clear, realistic expectations with your team. The more informed they are, the better your process will be. Lean on them as much as possible, and do what you can ahead of time to prepare for a higher volume of orders and a flooded website. Put your best people on duty, and don’t forget to celebrate a little yourself!
Alright. I think you’re ready for this! Now grab a hot dog and get to work. It’s going to be a great week!