Approaching the garage sale with a little innovation and creativity will help maximize sales. Advertising department chair of Miami International University of Art and Design, Judith Anderson offers some ideas that can generate buzz: “The same theory Mr. Schulz uses applies – it is imperative to use the same thinking advertisers and event planners use to maximize the opportunities in a garage sale.”
These opportunities include a mix of tried-and-true tactics blended with newer retail innovations. “Retail establishments use customer loyalty programs to increase return business,” says Tammy Tavassoli, fashion department faculty member at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. “Applying some of these tactics can increase not only your current garage sales, but future sales as well.”
Schulz, Anderson and Tavassoli offer these suggestions to make the most of your garage sale:
* Scheduling/location/traffic: When scheduling your sale, think about high traffic times like community events or neighborhood garage sales.
* Customer convenience/loyalty: Many shoppers will arrive with children, so offer a designated play area to help keep them occupied while parents shop. Also, offer refreshments like lemonade and cookies. Place a welcome book at the refreshments table. After the sale, send visitors a thank-you note and notify them of your future sales.
* Pricing/merchandise: Since garage sales rarely have a “cost” associated with merchandise, any income is pure profit. You want to price your wares fairly, and consider combining large tables or areas to group like-priced goods – and post the retail on a large sign. This saves time and eases set up. For those who include their contact information in the previously mentioned notebook, you may want to offer a small discount.
* Advertising/marketing: A garage sale should be thought of as an event that requires planning and promotion using advertising strategies to ensure its success. For example, choosing a theme related to the merchandise and carrying it throughout the chosen advertising including the day of the event can be very effective. Other ideas can include:
* Creating an advertising campaign employing traditional media – standbys such as neighborhood signs and fliers (placed in city hall, local business bulletin boards, PTA and school/church bulletin boards) and local directory and newspaper listings.
* Continuing the advertising campaign with new media by creating a social networking fan page and creating an event for the garage sale inviting friends and family.
* Using your Facebook and Twitter updates to inform your networks of the event at least four times (2 weeks prior, 1 week prior, 2 days prior, and the day of the event).
* The day of the sale use Facebook and Twitter to offer discounts to customers or promote additional incentives for referring fans or customers
Successful garage sales require creative planning. Borrowing effective strategies from the merchandising and advertising industries can ensure success. It is important to remember all the tools and resources available, and to minimize wasted time and resources while maximizing your profit margin. To learn more about The Art Institutes schools, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/nz.