Retail Promotions That Work
At Gramophone in Timonium, Md., Brian Hudkins, president, uses in-store events for purposes that can be at opposite ends of the spectrum. They range from blowout clearance sales to high-toned pow-wows for the architect/interior designer crowd, as well as more traditional come-ons that fall somewhere in between. What’s common about the events is that they are all strategized down to the smallest detail.
One notable clearance sale that set the tone for future events of its type took place “on a Sunday, when we’re normally closed,” he explains. “We did a direct-mail piece and backed it by using the Real Call phone messaging service on the Friday before, where a recorded message describes the direct-mail piece’s information—and we hoped it’d get an answering machine, because if it gets a live person, it can become an annoyance and backfire. This promo didn’t target our typical customer, and we probably wouldn’t see the customer that comes in for it too often otherwise, but that’s fine. They’re bargain hunters; we’re helping them and they’re helping us, too. We did it a second time this past July, and people were lined up outside the door and down the sidewalk.”
Another event he calls a home run was skewed more towards his typical customer, one that was centered on plasma TV. Held in conjunction with Pioneer, it was promoted by direct mail and e-mail blasts, and ran Friday through half of Sunday. Targeted at customers who had expressed interest in Pioneer TVs via the company’s Web site, the event resulted in the sale of 32 sets, “unbelievable” for such a short stretch, he says, and almost $500,000 in revenues, owing to some complete-system sales that were also consummated.