Six Ways to Beat the Summer Slump
By Guest Author Debra Paulk, Gift Basket Review Online
1. Make a Pitch to Resort Rental Offices
Owners of resort condos often leave a small welcome gift for weekly renters. Agents often assume the responsibility for ordering the welcome gifts. Offer a commission, and rental agents can help you set record sales.
Welcome to Oceanside Rentals
Condo owners often leave a welcome gift for summer renters. Here, a beach-themed basket box is filled with functional, fun gifts and goodies. A cooling pasta salad kit makes a hit with sun-baked beach goers; colorfully packaged pistachio nuts are great for late night snacks on the balcony, and sweet little treats are a hit with morning coffee or tea. The disposable camera and photo album are gifts that will create lifelong memories of the family’s summer vacation at the beach.
2. Have You Thanked a Neighbor Lately?
Data from homeowner insurance companies confirm what we might guess: more home burglaries occur in July than any other month of the year. That statistic corresponds to travel. According to AAA, more Americans hit the road in July, too. A savvy gift retailer might ask themselves, “Who’s watching the pets? Who’s watering the flowers?” More than likely, a trusty neighbor is taking over the chores and keeping an eye on the vacant house. Nashville Wraps carries Thanks a Bunch Basket Boxes.
July is prime time for getting out the message: “Have You Thanked a Neighbor Lately?” Commissions may be the key to low-cost promotions. Hair and nail salons, and other retailers, are often open to taking a 20% cut on baskets displayed for sale. Like you, many independent (non-chain) retailers are seeking ways to ring up more sales without the expense of buying more inventory. This is a good time of year to seek outlets. Travel agents might welcome the extra commission, simply for asking a simple question: “To whom should we send a thank you basket for watching your home while you’re away?” Travel agents may also be willing to place a display of baskets in their office or one large one for a grand prize in a drawing.
Bed and Breakfast inns are another excellent revenue-generating source. For a 20% cut, the inns often allow a table display of baskets — especially when the sign, “Have You Thanked a Neighbor Lately?” is placed on the table. The question heightens the inns image, in being sensitive to guest needs. If the Inn has their own branded line of jams and jellies, suggest packaging them in an easy-to-ship gift box or wooden crate.
3. Kid Party Baskets
What kinds of services and merchandise can you offer for kids? A multitude of lucrative ones! For example, in addition to Camp Survival Kits, your business might consider catering children’s parties. Think along the lines of Tea Parties, Teddy Bear Parties, Camping Out Parties, and Activity Parties. There’s a rich pool of sales waiting for your big splash. Party favor bags, craft activity baskets, face-painting kits, cooking kits, and other services and merchandise will have parents seeking out your place of business.
4. Summer Fairs and Festivals
How about some refreshing gourmet tea, lemonade, iced cappuccino or other cooling refreshments? There’s plenty of cash to be made at summer fairs and festivals if you offer the right mix of products. And you probably have them — right there on your shelves. Festival guests like to taste and sample new foods. Slice up succulent cakes into tiny taste bits and lure buyers of iced tea into your booth. Simmer up aromatic glazed nuts, or fresh chocolate to drizzle over just-popped-corn. Kids, too, like to find a special sweet treat at a fair. Enhanced candy sticks and fancy lollipops are popular with kids. Themed treat bags can be fun — and they’ll sell better if you top them off with a balloon.
Women like to find outstanding quality-crafted handmade items for the home. Display a selection of beautifully enhanced (empty) baskets and test the market for sales. Select baskets that offer solid function, like divided baskets that hold kitchen utensils offer strong allure.
5. Take-Along Appliance Gifts
What sells best in hot weather? Ice cream, refrigerators, and air conditioners. This summer, as sales of these items move up with the mercury, give your sales a natural rise, too. Design adorable ice cream sundae ‘n sauce baskets, filled with chocolate, caramel and fruity toppings, nuts, candies, and other ice cream go-alongs. It won’t take much persuading to get an independent appliance retailer to purchase the baskets. Dealers are always looking for hard-to-forget premiums that pump advertisements . . . and sales. Imagine…for each air conditioner, refrigerator and deep freezer sold in July, the buyer gets a free ice cream sundae ‘n sauce basket. Now that could add up to a lot of cold cash for your business!
6. Oops! Every Business Makes Mistakes
Businesses make mistakes twelve months a year. Sending a gift to solidify a verbal apology scores good memory points with customers. This summer, invest time exploring the opportunity for “oops!” sales in your community. Call the director of customer service and tell them you have a program virtually guaranteed to appease ruffled customers. If you have time and inventory, make miniature “oops!” baskets and deliver them to current clients. Pack the small baskets in a box with an explanatory flier, postcard, brochure or letter.
If you haven’t received an order from a corporate client in several months, why not use the “oops!” basket yourself? Send the basket with a handwritten note: “We haven’t heard from you lately, so we’re wondering . . . Is there something can we do for you?” Chances are, the executive will call you, or at least speak with you when you make a follow-up call. Many opportunities open just by asking. Nashville Wraps has a large selection of Classic Basket Boxes and basket supplies for the corporate client.
Summer Won’t Slump This Year…
Look around your community for missed opportunities. You may be surprised how many you’ve overlooked.
Guest Author Debra Paulk, Gift Basket Review Online