Two Ideas to Drive Sensational Summer Sales


Summer. We are in the thick of it now. Here in New York we are expecting crazy high temperatures that will drive thousands to shores both near and far. However, with so many people taking vacation or just taking refuge in their air-conditioned homes, summer also tends to be a slow time for many retailers—except, perhaps, for those that happen to be located in those very towns and communities to which people flock each summer.

Two Salty Dogs Pet Outfitters, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, happens to be one of those stores. Owner Don Kingsbury says the store generates roughly 35 percent of its yearly income in the months of July and August. “In all of February—the entire month of February—I don’t make as much I do, as say, on a Tuesday or Wednesday in August,” he says.

And yet, even during this high season, Kingsbury does not kick his feet up to just watch the dollars roll in with the tide. Instead, he and his industrious wife have found clever ways to market to the town’s tourists that also allows them to get a little intel on the store’s customer base. An idea Kingsbury credits to his wife, Liana, Two Salty Dogs fills cellophane bags with the store’s rack card, a pamphlet listing the local dog-friendly trails, a roll of poop bags, a Two Salty Dogs logoed carabiner, a bumper sticker, a dog treat and coupons, and distributes them to all the local dog-friendly hotels. And voilà, soon thereafter customers begin trickling in, pups in tow, to check the store out.

“Customers come in and say, ‘We love your bags,’” Kingsbury says. “It’s the best advertising we’ve ever had.”

Each bag costs about $2 to create, but he says it is well worth it.  “We get so much return on that investment,” Kingsbury says, who adds that when customers are driven to the store by the hotel goody-bags, he takes the opportunity to ask them where they are from and at which hotel they are staying.

Two Salty Dogs also employs an equally clever strategy in local restaurants, where Kingsbury distributes thousands of coasters boasting the store logo and an offer for a free pig’s ear for customers who present the coaster when they come in. Customers with a coaster can also take advantage of a 10-percent discount on merchandise. “We’ve found that to be pretty effective,” he says.

Of course, marketing does come with a cost, and both of these ideas require a financial investment at the onset. However, rest assured, summers will probably continue to be hot for Two Salty Dogs, as tourists flock there to cash in their coasters and buy more of the yummy treats they sample from their goody bags.



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