Creativity Drives Retail Sales
This past weekend, our family traveled down to Freeport to check out the L.L. Bean annual pumpkin festival. We had tried to go in previous years but were never able to make it happen. This year, however, the stars aligned and the great fall weather had us in the mood to check it out.
Thousands of lit, carved pumpkins were all over the L.L.Bean campus and it was a sight to behold. The event helps raise funds for Camp Sunshine and brought in different school groups to carve the pumpkins and set them up. Hundreds of people hours from L.L. Bean went into the planning and execution and it did a great job in bringing people to Freeport. Whether or not those additional people turned in to sales goes back to the hard merchandising principals of quality, price and selection.
The event got me thinking about the many ways retailers are creative in getting the attention of a very fickle customer base. I think in some respects, the good deeds that retailers do along the way don't get as much publicity as they deserve. Union Farm Equipment in Union, ME does a Cutter's Day each spring for their landscapers to come in, try out the new equipment and puts on a great spread of food for folks so you don't leave hungry. It has become an annual tradition. Haven's Candies does a Make Your Own Candy Cane event each holiday season. The tickets sell out every year and the proceeds go to a local charity.
As we head into the true holiday season, retailers will continue to find creative ways to support their communities and try to capture the limited attention of customers. It's not an easy task, but like the pumpkin festival, the results can be memorable.