'Tis the Season to Boost Sales

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After the economic whirlwind that has been 2009, great deals are going to be the hottest item on everyone's holiday list. Small business owners can take advantage of this situation- just in time for the year end. Big retail businesses have already established some great customer-attracting sales methods. Why not try these ideas in your own company?

Reward Loyal Customers

It is more important than ever to say "thank you" to your long-time customers. According to their 2008 Fact Book at thekrogerco.com, The Kroger Corporation was one of the largest retailers in the US based on annual sales. They offer "Rewards" or "Plus" cards at Ralph's or Kroger stores for things like points toward rebate certificates and fuel discounts. Your business could set up a similar points and rewards system. For example, a printing company could offer points on certain size orders of stationery or letterhead and allow customers to use those points toward future purchases or rebates.

Buy One, Get One...

Take a page from Payless ShoeSource's playbook and try a "BOGO" sale. Customers buy one pair of shoes at full price, and then get a second pair for half price, according to payless.com. They do include their whole inventory, but you can restrict your sale to a certain part of your stock or certain dates. A florist could offer buy-one-get-one half-off holiday wreaths. An organic farmer could offer a deal on pumpkins where shoppers can buy one for the pie and get a free one for the porch.

Personalize Your Customer's Experience

In a video interview with Matt Boyle at Businessweek.com, Macy's Chief Financial Officer, Karen Houget, calls their new "My Macy's" program a customer-centric strategy. My Macy's is a system that takes direct input from customers to help tailor their product lines to regional tastes. In their Pittsburgh area stores, women requested more conservative options in the dress lines they carried. Macy's changed those stores' lines accordingly. The holiday season could be a great time to implement this sort of customization, especially for business with multiple locations. For instance, a small candle and fragrance franchise could create a candle or scent that represents each area in which they operate.

"Particular brands and retailers may already have an ingoing advantage for certain holidays, but shifting consumer spending habits has changed the playing field, creating an opportunity for all retailers - even upscale retailers - to showcase the value they provide to consumers in a new way," a report by researchandmarkets.com reveals. The use of these ideas may help shift some more customers into your company and bring opportunities for bigger profits.

For more information visit:

The 2008 Kroger Fact Book.

"My Rewards" at Ralphs.com

"Fuel" at Kroger.com

"Holiday Shopping in the United States 2009"at Researchandmarkets.com

"Macy's New Strategy" Businessweek.com Video