At Monkeys In Hats, we practice what I call “Intentional Marketing.” This is marketing that’s done on purpose intentionally.
This is in contrast to “Oh Crap Marketing,” which is reactive marketing done when you realize, “Oh Crap, it’s Black Friday in two weeks we should do something.”
More importantly, though, Intentional Marketing is about putting thought into your marketing, looking at what objectives you want to achieve, and thinking about the most attractive offers. This could mean gifts with purchases, gift cards, and giveaways which require printing and purchasing of thoughtful items. Shopping in bulk on Amazon is easy but it’s not the least expensive means. Printing gift cards and promotional pieces locally are fast and easy but are usually not the least expensive.
You’re a Resale business so your prices are already low and you probably already have either automatic markdowns based on your consignment period or seasonal markdowns based on the change of seasons. I’m not a huge fan of discounts and sales.
We’re going to look at some winning holiday promotions for the upcoming Holiday season that reward your customers for choosing you to shop with and encourage them to come back as well as a couple of options that provide for collaborative marketing efforts.
Late September should be your final planning for the holiday season – Nov 1 – January 2nd.
You will need this time to order printing and any gift with purchase items and get all of your graphics done so you can market well in advance.
Holiday Store Hours Nov 1 – Jan 2
Start off with the easiest thing first: Your holiday store hours. If you’re a website-only business, you can skip this part.
To plan your holiday hours. Look back over the past couple of years. I am going to talk about some special promotions with the purpose of driving traffic to your store at certain times on certain days so set your holiday hours and be a little flexible as we move through the entire holiday plan. You may want to try some new days and hours of being open.
Put your entire holiday season’s store hours on one graphic and start promoting them on Nov 1.
Make a copy of that graphic and on the copy remove the November hours and just leave Dec. and New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day showing so that on Dec. 1 you can start marketing just that graphic.
We’ve been doing Pre-Black Friday weekend for years and it’s been pretty awesome. Some stores have seen more sales and traffic than other stores but pretty much across the board, everyone has experienced an increase.
When the real Black Friday & Shop Local Saturday roll around they are like the icing on the cake because you’ve already launched your holidays with Pre-Black Friday weekend.
I sort of think of Black Friday as Electronics Friday with all the TVs, Refrigerators, Phones, and X-Boxes being promoted, however everyone in retail historically gets into the game on Black Friday and now Shop Small or Shop Local Saturday.
Here are some of our Favorite Pre-Black Friday weekend promotions:
Promotion Option 1
Earn a $5 Gift Card for every $50 Spent Friday – Saturday and if you’re open on Sundays it would be Friday – Sunday.
Plus additional Surprises, Giveaways & Discounts.
You’re going to hear about this a lot throughout our planning because it’s a winning promotion which has added on an additional $2000 per year in redemption spend to some of our smaller SF stores and has added on even more than that with our larger SF stores.
The $5 Gift Card promotions have a limit usually of either 3 or 5 per customer per day. And yes we have redemption limits 2 cards per day with a minimum $25 transaction and the gift cards are valid Dec. 26th, 2023 – Feb. 28th, 2024.
Promotion Option 2
I mentioned additional Surprises:
For some businesses we will promote Gift With Purchase – you can purchase all kinds of super fun Purse Charms on alibaba.com or logo’d cosmetic mirrors, cosmetic bags, Beeswax, and a Candle.
Promotion Option 3
As for the discounts – pull all of your end-of-season items or Automatic markdown items into one section and either put a sign up that says “Holiday Markdowns” or You can offer an additional “$5 off already marked down prices” or “Additional 10% off” depending upon how motivated you are to move those items.
You do not have to do the additional mark-downs but if you do, customers will buy them because they’re in that discount frame of mind but you’re only discounting items that you’re ready to move anyway or maybe even ready to donate. So they are what I call intentional markdowns and not just store-wide markdowns because it’s Pre-Black Friday weekend.
Promotion Option 4
Tiered gift cards based on customer spending:
Receive a $5 Gift Card when you purchase $35 or more
Receive a $15 Gift Card when you purchase $45 or more
Receive a $20 Gift Card when you purchase $80 or more
Start marketing your Pre-Black Friday Weekend Promotions on Nov. 1st.
Black Friday, Shop Small, or Shop Local Saturday
Promotion Option 1
Black Friday & Shop Small/ Local Saturday
You can use the same $5 Gift Cards with this special:
Receive $10 in gift cards for every $50 spent when you shop 10 am -12 pm and …
Receive a $5 Gift Card for every $50 spent when you shop 12 pm – 6 pm.
The limit on this one is 5 Gift cards per customer.
Promotion Option 2
Use Black Friday Weekend to clean out your store of expired or nearly expired merchandise.
One of our clients who uses colored tags will offer this as her Black Friday Shop Local Saturday special:
50% off all Blue & Yellow Tags
25% – 50% off all FB LIVE sales in which they will only feature expired items or NWT items purchased at market with good profit margins.
This is offered both in-store and online. To set this sale up online you indicate you want 50% off all items prior to August 31, 2022, as an example. Or whatever date you choose. You can then also pull all of those into a category and then have that category go live during the weekend and send out marketing emails featuring items only from that category during the weekend.
You can pull this sale into your Cyber Sunday & Monday sale by featuring it online on those two days.
So, all you’re really doing is offering a clearance sale which you would have had anyway and making it your holiday sale.
Promotion Option 3
Black Friday – Mystery Discount scratch-off cards. We printed 20%, 25%, 30%, and 40% off total purchases of clothing, shoes & jewelry; we offered mostly the 20% off and then lesser amounts of the 25 & 30% off with only 1 of the 40% off.
Customers received the scratch-off cards upon check-out and many customers would go back and shop for more. This was at a store that does buy outright so the margins worked for them.
If you are planning on doing this in a Consignment store I would change those to dollar amounts instead of percentages.
And then this store offered a Shop Local Saturday special called Sweet Treat Saturday:
They filled a bowl with candy and put a colored dot on the bottom of each candy. Each colored dot represented a dollar amount and this was good for handbags only.
So, Black Friday was clothing, shoes, and jewelry, and Sweet Treat Saturday was focused on handbags.
Cyber Sunday & Monday
Promotion Option 1
My most favorite Cyber Sunday & Monday promotion is one we have done several years running for one of our furniture store clients and we do an Anti-Cyber Sale – encouraging customers to come in and walk off their Turkey and Pie.
Customers received a $15 Gift Card with every $75 spent earning up to 2 gift cards per customer.
Promotion Option 2
Gift with Purchase – a good gift, which means something like a fun, sparkly cosmetic bag filled with some goodies like make-up (can purchase in bulk from anyone who buys palettes) and logo’d screen cleaners/ glasses cleaner; purse charms; logo’d cosmetic mirrors; Bees Wax Cleaning Kit
One year a furniture store received on consignment a bunch of outdoor patio fireplace sets on a closeout so we did a Free S’mores Kit with every fireplace purchase.
The key is to make it something people will want. Think about what GWPs you enjoy receiving online and mimic those.
One thing about GWP – you can buy in bulk on Amazon and other sites but the best place for bulk purchases is Alibaba and they have usually about a 4-week min. Shipping window. Sometimes you can get it down to 3 weeks but I like to play it safe and do windows of 5-6 weeks.
Promotion Option 3
15% off All Jewelry
Jewelry sales are great for the holidays, so boost up your jewelry category online so you can promote the heck out of it all season long.
We have done luxury handbag promotions on Cyber Sunday and Monday but they didn’t result in a lot but the jewelry is a big hit.
Promotion Option 4
Free Shipping on orders over $35 or you can simply do FREE Shipping. If you’re a Furniture Store you can offer 1/2 Price Delivery with every purchase when delivered within X miles of our store.
Promotion Option 5
Up to 50% or more off Select Cyber Sunday & Monday items. In Shopify set up a sale that is all of your expired items or nearly expired items so you put in a date of 50% off all items from Oct. 1 or earlier and then you can create a category of those items. So now you can direct your customers to a category right on your website and you can do product emails that have those items from your sale category featured in the emails.
Another client likes to offer a Jewelry promotion online on Cyber Sunday and then a LIVE-A-Palooza on Monday with a preset schedule of what is going to be featured throughout the day or however long the LIVE-A-Palooza is scheduled for.
So that brings us to the month of December.
Gift Card Promotion
Buy a $25 Gift Card and receive a $5 Gift Card for yourself.
No sale – just ongoing month-long promotions of NWT tag items perfect for gift-giving. Start today by including NWT as an attribute when you put NWT items on your website so that during the months of November & December you can really promote shopping at your store for NWT items.
While we start NWT promotions in November we really punch up the promotion in December. As a separate category on the website, we are able to do dedicated emails featuring items from this category and promoting this category to customers as well on FB & IG.
What Would Santa Do Shopping Promotions. Sometimes these include an in-store and online discount and sometimes they are just emails promoting gift-giving.
Get Guest Ready
For furniture stores, we do a lot of Get Guest Ready. We feature beds & occasional chairs as well as dining room tables and tabletop decor.
What’s Your Favorite Way To Pay
A great promotion started by Article Consignment, which consists of a graphic listing out all the ways you can pay:
Affirm (pay over time with Affirm) Sizzle (buy now, pay later) Shop Pay (pay in full or pay in installments) Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Meta Pay.
While we do promote this graphic all year long, we change it out to a holiday theme and really promote it more heavily Nov – Dec. We also promote it more heavily prior to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Graduation.
$5 Gift Card Promotion the week prior to Christmas
We run this promotion while simultaneously promoting the NWT category to continuously send the message that even though we’re a resale store, we have a lot of NWT items.
This promotion also works well for Furniture to promote those last-minute furniture and home decor needs.
We also run this promotion the week AFTER Christmas and even on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for any open stores. It just gives customers that extra reward for coming in to shop on those days. In reality – this promotion doesn’t necessarily bring people in droves to your stores but it is full of good karma in that customers love to receive bonuses – so you’re giving them a little something extra for shopping with you.
A side note on the $5 Gift Card Promotion. The gift cards themselves are printed 5X7 postcards that are handed out to customers on the postcards the redemption guidelines are printed. And Yes, while the guidelines state the cards can be redeemed Dec. 236 – Feb. 28th and we do give them out after ec. 26 we do write a little message that also states “Please use this on a future purchase, we’d love to see your smiling happy face again.” It’s a nice way of saying, “This card cannot be used on the same day it’s earned. I’m not big on lots of rules, even though we do have to have them. Say whatever you need to say, however you need to say it for your redemption guidelines.
An additional note on these gift cards: January 5th – Feb. 28th we send out dedicated emails reminding customers to come in and redeem the gift cards they earned over the holidays. Don’t discard this promotion if you have a low redemption rate because you got the feel-good factor by handing them out in the first place. However, after years of doing this promotion, we found a great increase in the redemption rate when we kept reminding customers to come in and use them. And of course – everyone buys more than necessary to redeem the gift cards!
$10 Gift Card with a purchase of $75 or more
This is a variation on the $5 gift card above. A few stores will do this on the week after Christmas and over the New Year’s Eve weekend to encourage shopping.
Invite local vendors to set up tables (if you have the space) usually 4-7 Vendors will work. Gift-type items work great. Prepare graphics in October and start promoting one month in advance. We usually run a promotion for about 2-3 from late September – early October taking applications for Vendors (we’ve now moved to an online application process) and then we promote the event about one month in advance. All Vendors are required to promote the event to their email databases and on their SM platforms 3-4 times.
NYE LIVE Champagne Shopping Event
There are actually a lot of people who stay home on NYE. If you happen to be one of those people or you have a staff member who is willing to work – doing an NYE LIVE Shopping Event is actually really super fun and you’ll be surprised at how many shoppers you’ll have to tune in.
Start anytime after 7:30 PM, dress up for the event, and enjoy champagne. Toast your customers when someone claims an item, have customers share “toasts.” It is really super fun and you will bring a lot of smiles and cheer to a lot of people who are home on this day.
We have tried a great many events and promotions over the years and I’ve shared with you here the most popular and most successful.
There are of course more great holiday promotions. I hope you’ll share your own favorite promotions, events, and sales in the comments.
The idea is to plan. Plan your graphics, plan your emails, purchase your gifts, and get this all done in late Sept/ early Oct.
Intentional Marketing is marketing with a purpose. You’ll generate more sales and keep more of your hard-earned money.