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How to Increase Your Retail Sales this Winter

Posted by PCC Small Business Development Center on December 14, 2016

Leslie Hildula, business advisor and lead of the retail programs at PCC Small Business Development Center, met with Kristen Mozian, Marketing Manager, to discuss how retail business owners can increase sales at their brick and mortar shops this winter on Facebook Live. Watch below or scroll down to the notes.

Don't see the video? Watch it on our Facebook page

Attract people to your store

  1. Lights. We have gray wet short days. Light your windows, a lot. Light the merchandise in the windows. Shine the lights at an angle, not straight down, on your products.  Stand across the street from your store and some yards away. Do you attract attention? Do you stand out? Do your lights and display tell the story: this is a fun place to shop?
  2. Increase the lighting inside the store. Bring in more lamps, more spotlights, more LED strings and high light the merchandise that you want to sell. Fluorescents fade over time almost w/o you realizing it.  Change the bulbs and even better, change to LED lights which last much longer, use less money, and don’t fade.
  3. Signage: Give people a reason to stop in today, this week. An event, a 20% discount on one category, treats like hot coffee, homemade cookies, etc. New product just arrived, come get it before it’s gone. Promote these same reasons to shop today on your social media.
  4. Change your display in your windows weekly and make it fun and colorful. Now is the time for bold. You have to break through the dark weather, the distractions, the competition, to remind your customers that you provide them with a fun shopping experience.

 Convert foot traffic to sales

  1. The role of Chit Chat. They are inside the store: find out why. Are they shopping to relax and enjoy the hunt for something special? Do they want to chit chat about their life, the story about your products? Tune in. Are they stressed and short on time and would love some guidance on how to get just what they need? Be a problem solver.
  2. Get the product in their hands. Touching it, smelling it, trying it on. Tell the story of why this product is special.
  3. Ask questions that close the sale: Those pants look great on you how do they feel? Do you like it better in black or green? Would your sister prefer the hat with the brim or without? Would you like me to wrap this for you? There’s no extra charge for a gift bag today. Let’s try a necklace with that top, which of these do you like best? Does she wear earrings? I have several pair that would look great with that sweater. Which do you thing she’d enjoy wearing?
  4. After the sale: Ask for their email and address so you can tell them about the next special thing. Give them a coupon for 20% off any one item in the store in January. Have a birthday club. Ask them what social media they use and tell them about a social media campaign.

 For merchandise not moving

  • At least twice a week, assess your store layout: if product is not moving change it’s location or how it’s displayed. Give it some signage that highlights it. Hand made? Organic? Made by local artist? Long lasting? Staff pick & why. Put it in your window display. Mark it down as the last resort but do it if it’s not moving.

Finally, keep a log of what works every day and what does not. If all goes well you’ll be doing this again next year and you’ll want to use what you’ve learned so that every year is more profitable and just a little easier.


Learn something new? Retail Small Business Management starts February 13, 2017. The 10-month program dives deep into all of these points and more. Learn more here.


The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 30 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 


Topics: Small Business, Retail, Growing a Business

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