St. Patrick’s Day is a couple of weeks away, and while it can sometimes seem that this Irish holiday is much bigger for bars or events spaces, the fact is, virtually any type of business can get into the St. Patrick’s Day fun.
And if you’re a retailer, this day presents a tremendous opportunity to win customers and sales. This year, the National Retail Federation anticipates St. Patrick’s Day spending to reach $6.16 billion — the highest in the survey’s history.
The majority of respodents (56%) said that they’re planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, though the figures are even higher for consumers from 18-34 years old. The NRF found that 73% of these shoppers plan to celebrate.
To help you get the most out of St. Patrick’s Day, here are 9 marketing and promotion ideas to try in your retail store.
1. Show your St. Patrick’s Day spirit through your window and in-store displays
The best way to show people your St. Patrick’s Day spirit is to… well, show them. Decorate your store for the occasion.
See to it that passers-by know that you’re celebrating the Irish holiday by decorating your window displays with the right props and merchandise. If you’re selling green or themed products, make sure they’re front and center. Check out what these retailers are doing:
A souvenir store in Manhattan filled its window display with tons of St. Patrick’s Day apparel and accessories to showcase their themed inventory.
Similarly, Sea Bags Maine, a store that sells tote bags and accessories, has their Luck of the Irish Collection front and center in their window display.
Consider doing the same thing in your store. If you’re selling green merchandise or if you have a collection that’s relevant to the holiday, display those products loud and proud in your shop.
2. Come up with St. Patrick’s Day collections
Another way to generate buzz is to come up with designs or collections specifically for St. Patrick’s Day. Limited edition designs or products work great because not only are they relevant to the season, but they’re not widely available all year which means you can promote a sense of exclusivity or urgency when selling them.
Check out ShanOre®, a store that sells Irish handcrafted jewelry. While Irish themes are common for the brand all year round, for St. Patrick’s Day, ShanOre is promoting their Shamrock Collection, which consists of beautiful jewelry featuring (you guessed) it shamrocks.
For best results, make an effort to drive up the excitement even before you release your collection. Build anticipation by talking it up in-store as well as on social media.
Have a look at what Happy Creek Chic did. To get their followers excited for their themed shirts, HCC posted an Instagram photo announcing that their shirts will be available soon.
3. Run a St. Patrick’s Day promotion
If it makes sense for your business, consider running a deal or promotion for St. Patrick’s Day. Look at what you have in stock and identify products that you need to move. Then, come up with a St. Patrick’s Day themed promotion.
You can, for example…
- Tack a 17% discount on select products. St. Patrick’s is celebrated on or around March 17, so this is a good way to stay relevant.
- Attach a shamrock to the products you want to move, and include a discount.
- Offer a promotion to people who come into the store wearing something green.
- Put your green merchandise on sale. This is bound to be a popular one. According to NRF’s St. Patrick’s Day survey, 79% of respondents plan to celebrate by wearing green.
Here’a great example of a retail putting this tip into action. Baylors Bow Tie Boutique, a store that sells dog bowties and flower collars, is running a promotion for their St. Patrick’s Day bowties.
4. Set up a dedicated section in your store
Make it easy for people to find your collections or promotions by having them all in a dedicated place in your store. If you have an ecommerce site, this means you should set up a “St. Patrick’s” category or page, and then promote it on your homepage with a special banner.
As for your physical shop, have a table or shelf specifically for St. Paddy’s merchandise. Check out this great example from Furry Friends Inc. on Pinterest:
5. Get your employees in on the fun
You could deck your whole store with green props and merchandise, but if your employees aren’t in on the St. Patrick’s Day fun, then your efforts will fall short.
So, let your employees to show their St. Paddy’s day spirit on and around the day itself. Get them to wear green; use props like pins or hats spice up their attire.
You can also encourage them to interact with shoppers celebrating the Irish holiday. Perhaps they can use it to start a conversation with customers.
Get creative. Meet with your staff and together, cook up ways to connect with customers on St. Patrick’s Day.
6. Talk to the party people
Parties and events are always popular on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s why if you’re selling merchandise that would work well for celebratory occasions — e.g., party outfits, dinnerware, food and beverages — make sure that these products are front and center.
You could even run a promotion around them. The ecommerce site RedBubble, for example, promoted T-shirts that people would want to wear at a St. Patrick’s Day event.
The retailer even created the promo code “PARTYON” which expires on St. Patrick’s Day.
6. Host an in-store event
If you have a highly engaged community, why not throw a St. Patrick’s Day event? Serve food and refreshments and come up with fun activities that attended can get into.
Here’s a great example from Hellbender Harley-Davidson
The dealership is hosting the Feeling Lucky St. Patrick’s Day Party & In-Store Poker Run, an on-site event where people can play poker (best and worst hands win), enjoy food and refreshments, and even get a photo with a real leprechaun.
7. Inspire people with ideas they can implement on St. Paddy’s Day (with your help)
Consumers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are on the lookout for recipe, decor, or even outfit ideas. This gives you the perfect opportunity to share relevant content — particularly if you’re selling something that they can use.
For example, if you’re a food or homeware store, why not publish recipes or party guides for occasion? That’s what Williams Sonoma did in 2016, when it published the article How to Host a Memorable St. Patrick’s Day Feast.
Are you a fashion retailer? Why not put together some St. Paddy’s outfit ideas, like what Midsummer Originals is doing?
And when you publish your content, be sure to mention or link to any related products that you have, so shoppers can easily find and buy them.
8. Host a giveaway
Being lucky is a common theme for St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s something you can use to drive engagement (and possibly sales) around the holiday.
You can accomplish that through giveaways.
Encourage your customers to try their luck on St. Paddy’s Day by running a contest. Here are a few ideas:
- Hide “treasures” in your store and award prizes to those who find them
- Give away prizes to customers who are wearing green
- Ask people to show you how they’re celebrating the holiday and give out prizes to the best participants
- Give away a St. Paddy’s Day-themed product
Need inspiration? Here’s an example from Wild Flower Creations:
“Luck” may be a common theme for St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t rely on it alone to drive engagement and sales. If you want to “get the green” on or around March 17th, you need to act early (read: now) and prep your store and your staff.
We hope this posts helps you do that, and if you try these tips be sure to let us know!
What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Leave a comment below — we’d love to hear from you.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.