The Anniversary Sale used to be a retail staple. Then it kind of trailed off. Now, if done right, it seems to be making a comeback. Having done hundreds of anniversary sales, we have developed some strategies to help turn your anniversary into a natural holiday strength sale.
Make it a month long celebration. Whether most stores open around then or it's just a good dead spot in the retail calender, September and October seem to be when most anniversaries hit. You can make them seem like a much bigger deal if you turn your anniversary into a full month sale, rather than a week or day. But you can't just run the same offers the entire month, change it up a bit from week to week. Then hit the last week heavily with a last chance theme.
Treat it like a natural holiday. Anniversary sales have something in common with the natural holiday sales; the consumer believes there is a real reason to have a sale. But, if you want to bring in the kind of traffic you do for the natural holiday sales, you need to put together the kind of offers you have for those sales. Or at least be in the ballpark. If it takes a big finance offer and/or big savings to drive traffic for Labor Day, it will take the same for your Anniversary. If you don't act like it's something special, the customer won't feel like it is either.
Create a compelling theme. If you don't have on of the big numbers (25, 50, 75, etc) or even just the every 5 year numbers, creating a theme around your anniversary can add to the excitement. The theme can tie into the number of years, the specific offer you're giving, something special about your store or brand or just something clever with an anniversary twist.
Vary your offer from week to week. You don't have to give all your best offers all at once. You can mix them up on a weekly basis or use them for one or two day pressure points during the month. If you're spreading out your sale over 3-4 weeks, you can have an over-riding offer for the full time, like a finance offer. But one week, you could feature special added savings on a popular product category. Or you can offer to pay the sales tax or have rebate offer one week. Then, to drive extra traffic you can combine them for the final week/final chance push at the end.
Give your best customers a private preview. Use email, direct mail or social media to connect with your very best customers and invite them in for a private preview a few days before it kicks off to the public. You can do this as a weekend before or if you only want to do a 3-week public event, the first week of the month could be for your private sale. Make it a special occasion for your best customer with either an extra offer, free gift for coming in or a party atmosphere with food and drink.
Give away anniversary prizes. Whether you team up with another local business to get a good deal (or better yet free for the publicity) on a bigger prize like a car or weekend getaway or you're giving out weekly gift certificates to your store, prize giveaways still work. It can be positioned as anniversary gifts and fits into the whole theme.It's a reason for people to come into the store (or go online) and register - giving you additional data you can use for subsequent sales. Plus, it just adds to the overall excitement of the event and says to the customer this event is a big deal.
Wrap it up with a bang! As we've already mentioned, use the final days of the sale to crank up the excitement. If you can, combine some of your best offers for the final push. Talk about these are the final days to cash in on these incredible deals and last chance to register to win the prizes.
Remember, the key here is that the customer is willing to believe this is a legitimate reason to have a good sale with real offers. Play into that belief by making it big and providing those offers and you'll see good results. Have something else that's worked for your anniversary sale? I'd love to hear about it.