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Sidewalk Sale: From Fizzle to Sizzle in Six Easy Steps

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Sidewalk Sales—love them or leave them?  Some shopping centre marketers cringe at the very thought of a Sidewalk Sale citing that there’s generally not enough stock to support a decent sale, that the product available is often “B” product, and that many retailers choose not to participate, thus making it less of a big deal or event for shoppers.

On the other hand, many shopping centre marketers look forward to developing and implementing an amazing Sidewalk Sale. This group repeatedly notes that these sales can be exciting, fun and worthwhile for shoppers and retailers. No matter where you sit regarding the Sidewalk Sale debate, here are six tactics to help ensure your next Sidewalk Sale is a success.

  1. Find your angle and determine a theme for the sale.  Then create an event around the theme. This could include entertainment and activities for the entire family, just for mom, or for teens. Perhaps tie it into a community event, festival or carnival.  Think about what you can do to add sizzle to or reinvent the old 50% off sale. 
  2. Once you’ve determined a theme, you need to build excitement and expectancy amongst your shoppers. Get the word out through as many channels as possible.  Weave your theme into all of your promotions, online ads, social media and in-mall collateral.
  3. Get everyone involved and encourage participation by all of your retailers.  Promote their “deals and discounts” through handouts, online and social media. Urge your retailers to effectively merchandise both discounted and non-discounted items and to incorporate the theme into their displays. Work with your non-retail business to determine ways they can participate.
  4. Open early. If you have the retail support and ample promotion, learn from Black Friday, and let the shopping begin! Super shoppers and deal hunters love a chance to beat the crowds and scoop up the best deals; plus, they’ll help spread the word.
  5. Provide freebies and additional incentives to your shoppers.  Think helium balloons, bubble machines, local bands, bouncy castles, celebrity speakers, ponies, a dog show, a trampoline squad, a new car display—find something fun and different that will attract shoppers. If it’s a Summer Sidewalk Sale, never underestimate the power of something as simple as free ice-cream to attract a crowd.
  6. Think ahead and promote forward.  If it’s a Summer Sidewalk Sale, for example, entice your shoppers with a hint of what’s to come for fall.  Hand out gift cards and food court incentives that will get your shoppers coming back early in the fall shopping season when paying full price is the norm.

  In other words, if you commit to a Sidewalk Sale, implement these types of tactics and make it the best sale ever.

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