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Celebrate New Times

Give a little to get a lot this New Year’s Eve selling season

By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

William Blake wrote, “The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom, for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.” If ever a holiday were devoted to testing that principle, New Year’s Eve would be it.

As Marc Joseph, president and founder of America’s Suppliers and DollarDays International, Inc. points out, it doesn’t really matter that much whether customers are throwing a rowdy and gigantic New Year’s shindig, a giant warehouse soiree using thousands of dollars worth of wholesale New Years’ party supplies or simply having a few friends over to watch “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” some kind of overkill always enters the picture.

However, while every culture we know of marks the New Year with some kind of event, not all treat it is as a time for riotous celebration.

“When January 1 rolls around,” Joseph said, “celebration is the name of the game.”

Colors and Sounds
At Simply Unforgetable Party Shop in Ocala, Fla., the major holiday focus is on New Years, selling kits for partygoers and doing a lot of business with the bars, restaurants and clubs in the area.

“For New Years, I set the kits up in floor displays,” said Owner Kathy Dalton. “The old ‘stack it high and watch them fly’ mentality seems to work well for this holiday.”

Joseph said balloons remain a popular party favor for celebrations, as there’s something silly and playful about them — making them a ubiquitous party favor at shindigs for all age groups. He added that party hats are very much in the same category and appeal to the child in everyone.

“It’s simply impossible to take life very seriously when you’re wearing a pointy hat or even looking at someone wearing one,” he said.

Confetti party poppers are the most miniature possible version of the fireworks that are used to celebrate New Year’s around the world. Somewhere, somehow, loud noises and riots of color have become synonymous with celebrations. For whatever the reason, all we know is that bright colors and loud noises excite us.

“There is the most noisily excessive New Year’s party favor, the incredibly loud ‘blowout’ horns that make that joyfully annoying noise that have a way of growing more and more enveloping at New Year’s parties as the midnight hour approaches,” Joseph said. “Until, of course, the big ball drops in Times Square, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ finally gets played and some measure of peace, if not quiet, is restored.”

Giving Season
Dalton noted that house parties seem to get arranged and decided upon after Christmas, making New Year’s shopping very compact and at the last minute. Christmas shopping overwhelms New Years and buying goods can often be an afterthought for the customer in the week after Christmas.

Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor and author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business, suggests retailers begin marketing in October with their e-mail list. If you don’t have one yet, it’s not too late to get started now.

“Start planting the seeds before Halloween with an e-mail like, ‘Don’t be alone on New Year’s – 5 Tips To Plan the Perfect Party,’” Phibbs said. “Come up with follow-up e-mails that talk about a single parent and what they could do with the kid at home — include games, crafts and your party supplies at the end.”

When you help your customers see the possibilities for an experience, an event or decoration, you ultimately help them see your store and you.  

“Which frankly,” Phibbs said, “is a heck of a lot more fun than giving away your profits.”
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still give. Joseph said whereas this holiday promotes thinking outward with celebration and noise, the real marketing opportunity is to think inward, helping the community see your store as the place to support when ready to celebrate with others.

“A portion of the sales of your New Year’s products can be designated to a nonprofit in your area,” Joseph said. “The day after Christmas seems to be the day most people remember the true meaning of Christmas. Customers start to worry about how are they going to pay for those Christmas gifts and how much weight they now need to lose to pay for all that excess celebration. They’ve forgotten that charity starts at home the day after Christmas.”

He suggests tying in the message of celebration with the message of giving, a New Year’s promotion that will separate you from the competition. Rather than taking markdowns or spending big on promotions, tie in a piece of every sale to the Homeless Shelter or the Food for the Poor; provide a New Year’s party for Big Brothers and Big Sisters or Special Olympics; take hats and plates and games to the local hospital or St. Jude’s or Shriner’s Hospitals.

“Reminding your customers (as well as yourself) that sharing with your community is the real celebration will pay off in the long run,” he added.

Because, with all due respect to William Blake, when it comes to sales there’s no such things as more than enough.

New Year, New Designs
What can we expect to see for 2010?

Debbie Beer
VP Marketing
Unique Industries

Glitz, glitter, sparkle and bling are all the rage when decorating for the most exciting New Year’s celebrations. Silver and Gold will stand out alongside bright primary colors to create exciting table settings, room decorations, noisemakers, hats and tiaras.

For the festive New Year’s holiday, Unique focused on developing stylish, contemporary design specifically for our new Select-Stylz paperware program. We launched our new “Bubbly New Year” paper ensemble featuring square plates, paper napkins and cups in an elegant silver and gold sparkling glass motif. The paperware package counts vary so that all items retail for a single price point, making it easy for stores to merchandise and consumers to grab-and-go during the busy holiday season.
 
Noisemakers, confetti, party hats and tiaras remain must-have items for New Year’s. Successful retailers offer a selection of eye-catching items in a variety of price points, whether customers are shopping for big bash celebrations or small home gatherings.

Unique has refreshed our noisemakers with bright new packaging and added new eight-count gold and silver squawkers to complement our best-selling assorted-color version. The new four-piece Hat-Tiara-Horn Party Set is perfect for couples planning a party or attending a big bash. We’re introducing new Bubbly New Year glitter tiaras, available bulk or four-count package, with competitive pricing for high-volume shelf sales.
 
Unique offers a variety of package counts, price points and display options to merchandise poppers and party snaps, with new packaging design and a new Snaps & Poppers combo-pack to offer additional opportunities for add-on sales.

Originally posted Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2010