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If you want to keep holiday sales ringing your cash register, you must take a unique approach to making the best of this season. Stop listening to the media's contradictory stories, focus on your own business, your core customer base and stay positive.

Don't just sit around and complain that your customers are shopping at the malls and discounters. Do something about it! You can't afford to let them leave you with low traffic and too much inventory which has to be drastically reduced the day after Christmas.

Large corporate stores do this all the time. They often call those specials lost leaders. They offer hot-selling items at deep discounts to drive customers into their stores. Once you have them in your store, it is YOUR job to entice them to buy more of their gifts from YOU.

Attract customers like crazy and increase your sales by promoting specials you would not regularly offer at this time of year. Create an irresistible offer that your customers can't afford to ignore.

Too late to change your holiday advertising and promotional plans? How about a promotional event just after Christmas like no other. You can still make your December quotas, move more inventory and keep cash flow coming in.

When owning my retail stores, the days just after Christmas often generated more sales than the week before the holiday. My regular customers loved to bring in their visiting relatives. It was a way to entertain their guests. We always made a big deal of inviting our customers back and asked them to bring in their family and friends for us to meet. Remember that the holiday season is not over on December 24th. Don't miss out on more opportunities to drive traffic to your business before the new year begins.

7 Promotions To Increase Your Holiday Sales:

1. After Christmas - Year End Promotion
Entertaining friends and family for the holidays? Bring them in for a visit from 12/26-12/31 for our special holiday cheer promotion. Offer special deals, serve refreshments, create a party atmosphere. This offer motivates your customers to come back into the store and gives you an opportunity to sell a new prospective customer.

Most retailers promote a holiday open house. Why not promote a Year End open house or party? The few days after Christmas have proven to be big shopping days for retailers. Customers are returning gifts and looking for other items to buy. Some even have the gift of cash to spend. Those extra gift dollars are burning a hole in their pockets already. Help them to spend it.

2. Dated 'Holiday Bucks'
Send out direct mail flyers or postcards featuring discount bucks for your store dated at different times of the month to keep customers coming back. 

$50 off your next purchase of $200 from 12/1 - 12/24$75 off your next purchase of $200 from 12/26 - 12/31A special gift to one of our best customers. Thank you for your business and happiest of holidays to you and yours during this special holiday season.

3. Take advantage of closeouts
Contact your manufacturers and sales associates to find discounted items and close-outs that you can use as last minute holiday specials. Pre-wrap items and feature on a decorated table just 8 - 10 feet into your store's entrance. Grab their attention with an enticing promotional sign and incredible offer.

4. Two for One Specials
Combine two or more products for one special price .A combination price offer increases sales and the size of your total sale. It motivates customers to buy by getting more for their value or by getting two gifts for the price. It changes their mindset and gets them to buy NOW instead of leaving the store and driving to your competition.

5. Gift with purchase or free bonus
You often see specials in the cosmetic department offering a gift with purchase. Why do they do this? Because it works! Consumers want to get something for free. A gift with purchase always makes the consumer feel like they got a great deal.

Offer a free gift with any purchase of $50 or more.   It does not have to cost you much but it does need to have a higher perceived value to the customer

6. Free deliver to their home or office
Offer any service that will offer time-saving benefits to your customer during the busy holiday season. Motivate them to buy by offering free fast overnight delivery. Promote any benefits you offer the customer over and over again. Keep reminding them of the special conveniences that you offer. Conveniences that your competition or discounters do not offer. Never assume they know all the special benefits you offer, it is your responsibility to keep reminding them.

7. Delayed charges on store charge accounts
BUY NOW - PAY LATER! This offer generates many sales you normally would not get when customers run over budget with their holiday spending. This offer eliminates the customer's concern about spending too much money. Make sure to add your deadline to the offer. Prospects are more likely to take immediate action when faced with the risk of missing a special offer. Advertise that this special offer is short-lived.

Bonus Tip:
If your database includes customer's email addresses, these last-minute promotional specials could be easily promoted to your entire database at a moment's notice and it is also a good source for follow up and reminders. E-mail saves you the cost of postage and printing. It also helps to avoid long lead times and offers opportunity to promote a last-minute special or special VIP event.

If you currently do not have an e-mail database for your customers,  make it a priority for 2007. Your online success will offer you many more opportunities to increase sales -even during a slow economy.

Printed with permission from Debbie Allen,
Allen & Associates Consulting, Inc.
Debbie Allen, Editor
PO Box 27946, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 US
Phone: 800-359-4544 or Fax: 480-634-7692
Local/International: 1+480-634-7691