Summer Invasion

The unofficial kickoff to summer is here and that brings with it the summer tourist trade. If your business makes the majority, or even a part of your yearly profit from this wonderful time of year, then you surely love summer. While your store or shop may not be the reason why tourists flock to your area, you can still cash in on the influx of new anglers. New anglers, even if they have come to your area for years, always need new tackle and gear – if nothing else, at least a license or some information on the current bite. No matter the reason why they come in, you need to ensure you cash in on their visit.

Here are six ways you can make this summer more profitable and less stressful for you than summers past.

Plan Ahead
If you do not see tourists arriving for a few weekends yet, start planning now to ensure you are fully-staffed and stocked. If they have already started arriving, don’t stress, there is still time. Most colleges are out for the summer, and high schools will be following suit soon enough. Your seasonal workers are there for you to hire – if you have not hired your summer help yet you need to get started now. The sooner you start the better your selection of qualified employees will be.

Keeping your store stocked up may be a bit harder than being properly staffed. No hot lure has really set itself apart yet from the others, and as soon as that happens it may be difficult to keep it in stock. Most tackle items though, can be stocked ahead of time and ready to hit the shelves when their supplies run on the store floor. For items that cannot be stockpiled, such as bait, you should work with your local suppliers to ensure your supply stays fresh and you don’t run out when the customers run in.

Give Local Support
Nothing says you are part of a community more than getting involved in a local event or two. Most towns will hold some sort of festival or parade each year; you should become a part the celebration. The more touristy the area, the more events there seem to be, and the more opportunities for you to get your name out. Your involvement, whether a time commitment or a financial one, will be seen as volunteering. You should look at it as a great advertising opportunity.

Be a Partner
Much like taking part in a local event, you should be more involved in your local business groups. Some local business groups are more active than others; if yours is not an active group see what you can do to change this. A fellow business group member is much more likely to send business your way than they would to a non-member’s store. You should be inclined to do the same. Tourists tend to ask local store owners where they should go to find this item or that. Tap into this resource for new clients by being a part of the local business groups. Your membership fee, if there is one, should pay for itself in new customers by mid-summer.

Show Off Your Local Knowledge
Visiting anglers are always looking for an inside tip or clue on where to fish and how to approach the local waters. You know all of this information already, and may share it with your customers for free when they come in. Why not host an event in your store or a local park and share this knowledge while promoting your store to a new customer base? If it is hosted in your store you are sure to see new sales instantly from those attending the event. If it is at a public site, ensure you have the proper permission first, be sure to give away gift cards or coupons to your store to give the attendees an incentive to visit you.

Summer Sizzlers
Everyone likes free items, especially if you are visiting a new area. For tourists who tend to stay a few days, a week or more in an area having drawings and giveaways can be a great drawing card. You can run the biggest fish of the week contest, or hold drawings weekly for in-store giveaways. If your tourist industry is more transient, it is suggested you give away items that can be shipped easily and inexpensively. Partner with a few local businesses if needed to create better prizes, but be sure your store’s name is on every item you give away. When the tourists come back, they will surely remember where they won their prize.

Stay in Touch
When you have tourists enter your giveaways and drawings, capture their contact information. Even if they don’t win anything from you, you can keep in contact with them. In areas that tend to see the same tourists return year after year you should keep in touch with them through your digital communications. Add them to your newsletters, and make sure they are following your store on Twitter and Facebook. Keep them up-to-date on the local fishing trends and help them plan their trip to your area next summer. Statistically, people are more likely to shop somewhere they feel welcomed and in a store they have a connection with.

Here you go, six ways to increase your sales this summer! If you haven’t thought of doing any or all of these, but want to there is still time. Until the last tourist leaves your area you have time to implement one or all of these suggestions. If your area also sees an increase in angling traffic in the fall or winter you can use these tactics then as well.

If you have already started doing any of these suggestions, how is it working for your business? Do you have other suggestions? If so, share them with your fellow retailers on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group.