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7 hot ways to boost summer sales for your small business

Sandy beach and wave.

People do lots of things during the summer—take vacations, grill in the backyard, attend ball games and go to the beach, among other pursuits.

What kinds of things don’t they do in the summer? Well, spend time indoors patronizing businesses, for one. That’s why you might hear a business owner refer to “the dreaded J months,” which encompass the post-holiday quiet of January and the notoriously slow months of June and July.

If you’re nervous about the summer affecting your bottom line, here are seven ideas for enticing your customers out of the heat and into the cool of your small business (or the glow of your online store).

1. Ask for reviews and referrals

Take advantage of the slower pace to contact current customers and ask them for online reviews or a referral. Consider offering them a coupon or a gift card from your business for their efforts. It’s a terrific way to get the word out and gives you a chance to check in with your most valuable customers to let them know how much you appreciate their loyalty and feedback.

2. Offer a new product

Consider taking advantage of the slower pace to offer a new product during the slow months; your product won’t have as much competition and will stand out more. Plus, you can use the smaller audience to judge if the new product is a hit or a miss before going full steam ahead. 

3. Entice customers with specials

Flash or one-day sales, sidewalk sales, holiday-themed sales (e.g., Flag Day, Independence Day, even National Sunglasses Day on June 27) are great promotional tools. There are so many good excuses to throw a sale. Plus, let’s face it—there’s probably nothing customers love more than a great deal.

4. Appreciate your customers

Being in business is as much about customer relations as it is about sales. So, let your loyal customers know how much you appreciate them by throwing a Customer Appreciation Day. Market the heck out of it, and on the big day, have snacks, drinks, fun giveaways (e.g., merchandise from your stock, gift cards to your store), games, special discounts—whatever your imagination can dream up and your financial situation can bear.

5. Amp up your social media

Post photos and videos of interesting or unusual merchandise; introduce your staff; link to helpful informational articles or videos. Or, if you’d like to get a little more interactive, use your feeds for a contest or giveaway. Ask people to follow, like, comment or tag a friend (which increases your reach), or even to post photos of themselves with their favorite purchase from your store to be eligible for the drawing.

6. Start a loyalty program

Whether you use a higher-tech key tag or cards and a punch tool, reward your return customers. Example: Every time a customer buys a loaf of bread, a bakery adds one punch to their loyalty card. After 10 punches, the customer gets a free loaf of bread. Or a discount. Or a special coupon. Or reward points. Trust us, watching those rewards add up is addictive!

7. Improve your customers’ shopping experience

We’d bet that like all good business owners, you note customer requests about the layout of your shop, both physical and online. Examples: “It’s so hard to get to the sales rack in that corner,” or “The special instructions box on your website is confusing to use.” Take advantage of the slower pace to improve your sales floor layout, spiff up your dressing rooms, or re-organize and update your website. Then, monitor and take note if your sales numbers improve.

Try one or try all these tips to boost your sales this summer and beyond. Good luck!