SAN FRANCISCO — The arrival of spring is always welcome. It brings renewed energy in nature and optimism in people.
Depending upon your geographic location, the drycleaning cycle can introduce the beginning of a seasonal uptick in business or the end of the busiest season all year. Regardless of your locale, it typically is an opportunity for a breakout in sales because customers are changing wardrobes and household décor.
If spring has not been historically a busy season for you, it is time to rethink and redesign your promotional efforts to take advantage of this natural opportunity. Subtle and not-so-subtle reminders should abound in your stores, on your hang tags, on your flat-screens, and throughout your promotional media and materials. Reminder phone calls and/or electronic communication generated by your customer communications system should prompt your customers and prospects to bring in items for cleaning before storing them for the summer.
If you offer storage, this is the time to exhibit storage boxes in your facilities to remind customers and staff members that the time is right to take advantage of storing seasonal items out of sight in a climate-controlled environment. If you don’t provide storage, or they don’t want that service, emphasize the necessity of cleaning everything before storing it at any location.
TEAM BUILDING, TOO
This is a perfect opportunity to get your team on your side of the profit and loss equation by making everyone a winner through incentives to excel in sales. Contests and games with rewards can be an effective way to fire up your team for a major promotional effort. The incentives should include individual rewards as well as team rewards.
These incentive games for staff work better if the participants design them! You can provide a realistic budget to plan around. If you need to kick-start their creative juices, give them an example to get started and encourage them to come up with their own ideas that they will buy into because it is theirs.
Use something visual that represents the season, such as paper daffodils, to mark each storage sale for the month or each wardrobe cleaning of more than eight pieces. Pin the flowers on the back wall so the staff can see the garden expand. This is not a contest for customers, so keep it for staff viewing only.
Make every participant an instant winner at each step of the program, even if they only win a fancy cupcake or specialty coffee as each sale is made. At the end of the promotion, allow each associate to choose a gift card to their favorite store in an amount based on their number of sales. Award the sales associate with the most accumulated flowers a large prize that you identified at the beginning, again preferably by the group.
Reward the store with the most sales with its choice of prize that fits your budget parameters. Let the sales team select benchmark rewards for meeting target levels during the month, i.e. at 25 sales, the manager has to serve them a meal or do something funny. The rewards that team members select themselves are much greater incentives than those chosen by management.
Check back Thursday for the conclusion!