Are you already thinking about the holidays?


By Liz Keener, Managing Editor
October 25, 2013
Filed under Liz Keener

Halloween is quickly approaching, and we all know what happens next. Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here, followed quickly by Hanukkah and Christmas.

If you haven’t yet come up with a marketing game plan to get customers in your dealership, spending their holiday bucks with you, then you need to now.

Big in the news over the past week or so has been the news that Kohl’s, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and others will be opening late Thanksgiving night. That means major retailers are already talking to the retail consumer. And I’ve already seen Christmas decorations for sale in at least one store. Remember, the dealership across the street isn’t your only competitor when it comes to the retail dollar, especially during the holidays.

Though we’ve heard a lot of holiday retail tips over the years, I’m going to rehash some of my favorites as reminders as to what you can do to encourage customers to spend their gift-giving cash at your dealership.

Offer Black Friday deals.

For the high-energy, thrifty buyers, Black Friday is THE day to start holiday shopping. They’re out in force, looking for whatever deals they can get. You don’t have to giveaway the bank on Black Friday, but it’s great to offer some sort of special to lure customers in. You can’t upsell if customers aren’t in your dealership in the first place. A couple years ago, I wrote a blog about some powersports dealers who had success with Black Friday; you can read that here.

Create a holiday atmosphere.

When you walk into a major department store any time in November or December, what do you see? Christmas trees, decorations, wrapping paper, etc. You’re probably also going to hear Christmas music, and if a store has really thought things though, you’ll probably smell something that reminds you of the holidays. That atmosphere is created purposefully, to remind customers of holiday gift-giving spirit. Creating that Christmas feel is especially important for a marine retailer, which customers may not think of first when considering holiday purchases.

Bundle gift items.

This is a favorite of Boating Industry blogger Jennifer Robison, so I’m going to borrow it from her. Bundling similar items together allows a novice to easily pick out a gift for a boater. Maybe the buyer wants to purchase a new tube, add in a towrope and life vest to the package to ensure a complete gift. Offer bundles at a variety of price points to appeal to more gift givers. Also, make sure you reach a variety of demographics, including men, women and children.

Don’t forget stocking stuffers.

Stocking stuffers can be a source of frustration for any gift-giver looking for something cooler than some chocolate Santas, but cheaper than an iPad Mini to put in a stocking. Adding stocking stuffers, such as floating key chains, beer/soda cozies, T-shirts or fishing lures near the registers can encourage some impulsive stocking stuffer buys.

Sure, Christmas is about two months away, but it’s coming quicker than we think, and it’s always important to fight for that consumer dollar when they’re already in buying mode.




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