This summer, try using an outdoor sale to promote your business

Summer is nearly here, and for local businesses, it’s a time to take advantage of the nice weather. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be able to utilize an outdoor sale; for example, if you have an existing physical storefront, you could set up a canopy with your business’s logo on the sidewalk and sell some of your top products outdoors. Or if you have a purely online store, you might find a space to sell your goods at an outdoor flea market or festival.

The Benefits of Outdoor Sales

Credit: Kalawin

There are several strong benefits for local businesses taking advantage of outdoor sales, including:

  • Brand visibility. For starters, you’ll get some extra brand visibility. For some businesses, your storefront will spill onto the sidewalk, extending the presence of your store. For others, it means setting up shop somewhere new, and featuring your brand in an area where it would otherwise be unfamiliar. Either way, it’s going to generate new attention for your business.
  • Foot traffic. Next, you’ll increase foot traffic. Setting up on a sidewalk or another heavily trafficked area in the midst of good weather means you’ll significantly increase the number of people walking by your goods. This, in turn, will naturally increase the number of sales you make.
  • Collective press. If several businesses in a single area set up shop together, they have the potential to take advantage of collective press. They could market the event as a running “sidewalk sale,” and publish press releases to encourage more visitors to the area. If you work with other businesses this way, you’ll each leverage new marketing and advertising potential.
  • Staff morale. It’s great to be outdoors during the summer months, and hosting an outdoor sale is the perfect way to reward your employees. They’ll feel happier and more connected with the outdoors if they get to run your exterior stand.

Tips for Success

If you’re going to host a sidewalk sale or other outdoor sale, make sure you follow these important tips:

  • Keep your brand prominent. Brand visibility is going to be one of your biggest priorities as an outdoor vendor, so make sure your brand is featured prominently in all your outdoor materials. For example, make sure you’re using banners, tables, posters, and other printed materials that feature the name and logo of your company. Otherwise, your table could get lost in the shuffle, or your patrons may have trouble remembering you.
  • Feature your top sellers. You may have limited space with which to display your products, so be judicious in choosing your selection. Go through your store and pick out some of the best-selling (or most profitable) items of the past few weeks and months. You’ll also want to make space for any particularly eye-catching items you sell, such as colorful or particularly large items, since nabbing people’s attention is a major key to success.
  • Be prepared to make conversation. Assuming people are walking by your booth or taking notice of it (because of your eye-catching features), you’ll need some strategy to retain them and keep them interested in your setup. For most vendors, that means employing people capable of starting and maintaining conversations. A simple line like “how are you doing?” can invite people to engage with you, and the more they talk to you, the more likely they’ll be to buy something.
  • Know your venues. Next, get to know the venues in your city and neighboring cities, and be selective about which ones you attend. Not every outdoor sales opportunity is worth taking, since some will be far costlier to attend, and some will cater to demographics outside of your primary targets. Do your research in advance and try to prioritize the most promising opportunities.
  • Work with other business owners. Networking with other local entrepreneurs is a wise move. You’ll get to know what tactics they use to sell their products outdoors and learn from their past experiences. Even more importantly, you’ll get the chance to work together on a mutual plan to improve sales. For example, you might both pitch in for an advertising strategy that lets you sell your products outdoors at the same time.
  • Have a backup plan for inclement weather. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the weather’s going to cooperate with you unconditionally. Even with a bright, sunny forecast, there’s a possibility for rain and unexpected developments. Make sure you always have a backup plan in place.

Not every business will benefit from having an outdoor sale, but if there’s a possibility of success, now’s the time to take advantage of it. Start putting together a plan, get your employees together, and enjoy the good weather while it lasts.

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