Take Advantage of Big Events, like March Madness, to Increase Retail Sales

With only four teams remaining, the peak of March Madness is upon us. Even if you didn't fill out a bracket, you are aware of the buzz this 68 team tournament can create.

This time of the year turns casual sports fans into enthusiast – checking scores on their phone and yelling at the tv after their team loses. Words like Final Four, Cinderella story, and upset adopt a new meaning during this time of the year and everyone wants to be part of the in-crowd talking about it.

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Independent retailers everywhere can utilize major events like this to increase foot traffic and boost sales. They don't always have to be sports related. Events like open house graduations, Mardi Gras, Spring Break, Groundhog Day, and of course, any national holiday are easy ways to attract customers attention by sticking with current events.

As good as it sounds to take advantages of this idea you still need to plan and execute.

  • Look at your monthly calendar and conduct some internet searches to find an event that is a good fit for your store. You can't cover them all so hone in on a few throughout the year. Even if the event isn't nationally recognized, but still brings a gathering of people around your location, don't rule it out.

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  • You will also want to plan your inventory and sale schedules accordingly. Order more items that are expected to be popular and prepare to set a sale on smaller items that are going to grab customer's attention as they walk by.

  • Updating your storefront is a huge step in this process. Convert pedestrians into customers by grabbing their attention with relevant window displays and other storefront tactics to show you are an active retailer that is with the times.

  • Once you can get a potential customer in your store make sure the theme stays constant. It doesn't have to dominate your whole store but if they are attracted to the jerseys and team hats from your window display keep their attention by having merchandise displayed near the entrance of the store. You could even rent a Pop-a-shot basketball game (going with the March Madness theme) and have people play to win small prizes.

  • After an event has wrapped up, go back and evaluate how you did. Decide if the return on investment was worth it and if you should focus on the same event next year. Try out different events and displays throughout the year to find your best results.

After the event has fully wrapped up you may be stuck with left-over inventory. There are options you have when making a decision on what to do with it. You can store it year round and hope the cost of storage doesn't eat into profits for next year, or you can place items on the clearance rack if you have the time and space. You can also donate it to charity, or upload your items onto BoxFox's excess inventory marketplace where we connect independent retailers with buyers who are interested in excess inventory. Point of the story is, there's an opportunity to make money so don't be afraid to take advantage of big events. If you don't sell every piece of merchandise, it's ok, there are solutions to help sell it afterwards.

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