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10 Easy Steps to plan a year's worth of

Promotions, and promotional events, are a terrific way to make your consignment, resale, or thrift shop stand out from the crowd, to drive word-of-mouth, and to make money and have fun. Here's the steps to go through. 

First, start with a calendar that has the major holidays marked. There's one at Holidaysmart that you can go through month by even has birthstones and links to more information (I always wondered what Candlemas was all about and now I know!) Now that you know, for example, that Super Bowl Sunday is February 1, you know when to start planning for any event or celebration you deem appropriate for your business (that would be back in early November, but never mind, that's just an example ;-) )

Add local events to your calendar. This may take some research: when is the Mardi Gras Ball that you can market for? (You'll want to order fancy feather masks, highlight all the sequin gowns, and so on.) Homecoming? The Festival of the Swallows?

Add store events. Anniversary, seasonal clearance, whatever you offer as a recurring event or would like to make into an annual celebration. One shopkeeper celebrated her dachshund's birthday every year with free hot dogs, special purchases of canine gifts, home-baked doggie treats and adoptable animals from the shelter. The name of the event? Hot Dog Days, of course (although I have my suspicions that August 1st wasn't really Otto's birthday, but rather that she needed something fun at that time of year.)

You'll want to have some sort of event about every 6-8 weeks. If you've run out of ideas, check your copy of 229 Promotion Ideas Especially for Resale or cruise the web for ideas you can adapt to our industry. Remember to keep a goal in mind: is this event designed to attract new faces? Help clear out seasonal goods before your big sale? Introduce a new category of merchandise or stimulate sales in a slow period? These events don't have to be big splashy things, and they mustn't always involve reduced prices, but they do have to be amusing, rewarding to the participant, and newsworthy.

Set a budget for each event, keeping in mind your ROI. You'll need to consider immediate return first of course, but don't underestimate the importance of lasting returns on your shop's image and word-of-mouthability (is that a word? It should be!) And of course, your budget is not only monetary but effort and time sensitive as well. Every event you do will become easier, but don't over-reach your limits if you want a promotion that will make a splash! 

Count backwards to set your tasks in the right time frame. Everything from deciding on a name, to special offers, to supplies needed and  your advertising campaign, needs to be scheduled. Who will do what when? It's best to appoint one staffer as Lead Promo Person, so all communications go through her/him. This should not be you, since you'll be looking ahead to the next event at the same time you're anticipating this one. For worksheets to help you plan, Promote with Pizzazz  will save and make you much more money than you have in mind!

 Consider what to do if things go awry. The T shirts don't arrive in time: what will you use as a substitute, and where can they be purchased? What if it rains on your Plant a Tree event on Earth Day? What if you discover you simply don't seem to have enough end-of-season goods to hold a Preview Party for your Preferred Customers?

 Stock up on notepads and memory chips for your digital camera, so you can record all the details of planning for and holding your event. Take note of everything from your budget to whether there were enough hot dogs and too much root beer (who knew no one in Yourtown liked root beer?) so the next time you do a similar event, it'll be easier and (probably!) less expensive.

 What if your event was a bust? Before deciding not to do anything like it again, take a hard look at what might have contributed to its failure. Were you competing against an insurmountable obstacle (the town's biggest football game) or did you neglect to fully publicize your event where it would motivate folks to come and to spend money? The best face-painters and glamour photographers won't draw folks in, if you've not managed to cut through the commercial clutter in your potential audience's lives.

 Ditto if your event was a success: Before deciding to repeat it, analyze! Was it the face-painting that drew the crowds...or was it that the face painter, canny artist that she is, publicized her appearance in your shop far and wide? Then repeat, for all your future events, whatever made this one a success!

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Copyright 2013 Kate Holmes, All rights reserved and enforced. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape



Read about promotions on Auntie Kate the Blog


 Impress customers with fun and cost-effective promotional events, from the simplest to the most festive

Impress customers with fun and cost-effective promotional events, from the simplest to the most festive


Produce your chosen events effectively, inexpensively...and reap the rewards for long afterwards!

Produce your chosen events effectively, inexpensively...and reap the rewards for long afterwards!


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For more details as well as worksheets to help you plan your events, Promote with Pizzazz can be yours in a a PDQ Product! (What's a PDQ?) is the premier web site for professional resalers. Start a consignment, resale or thrift store with our free articles and the Products for the Professional Resaler. Interested in business plans, operating your shop, consignment software and selling secondhand clothes, upscale designer fashions, children's gear or used furniture? Consignment shops, resale stores, thrift stores and consignment sales use Too Good to be Threw. As a lifelong member of NARTS and a consignment consultant, our information is designed for the resale industry.

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