If you live in a wooded area, you’re probably familiar with wild turkeys and their habit of standing casually in the road while you wait patiently for them to cross. You honk your horn and think, “If it was Thanksgiving time you wouldn’t be so bold!" Well, it’s officially Thanksgiving time, and now it’s your turn to bold.
This month gets hectic quickly. Before you know it there will only be a few days left to take orders for turkeys, help customers with the pains of the upcoming holiday hubbub, and possibly capitalize on the color brown; Because red and green are high-tailing it to the closets of Americans everywhere on Black Friday.
Speaking of, that day of the year we affectionately call “Black Friday” is when people blow their Christmas shopping savings, dine out and generally aren’t afraid to go over budget for a good deal. Small Business Saturday is the following day where shoppers are shopping locally to help out the small businesses in their community.
Here are a few ways to help your customers bring cheer on the most thankful day of the year. Thankfully you have fast-acting marketing platforms like Facebook and Twitter that work great for everything last-minute, too!
Make Thanksgiving easy for would-be entertainers
What can you do to make people’s lives easier this time of year? Can you cook their turkey? Can you make their desserts? Do you have all those last-minute supplies like cheesecloth or extra chairs? “Cook up” a promotion for last-minute planners that need a hand.
For those who don’t want to cook this Thanksgiving but still want a great meal, there’s restaurants like Deuxave in Boston, Massachusetts that offers a special three-course holiday meal.
The Beehive is another Boston-area restaurant serving up Thanksgiving dinner with a side of live jazz. The menu features traditional Thanksgiving fare like roast organic turkey and some more non-traditional options like lobster braised halibut.
Davio's Boston also offers a comprehensive Thanksgiving dinner for $47 per adult plate. This dinner includes: oven roasted Vermont free-range organic turkey, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, creamy cipollini onions, fresh peas, roasted butternut squash, glazed carrots, challah bread herb stuffing, homemade gravy, cranberry apple chutney and sautéed green beans. That's a tough menu to beat, even for the seasons Thanksgiving veteran.
Throw in a last-minute incentive
Christmas is the most popular holiday there is in America. For this popular holiday, many businesses have a “Christmas Countdown” promotion schedule where they start December 1st with something like “20% off a cup of coffee”, then “free cookie with purchase of a hot chocolate” on December 2nd, so on and so forth.
You can do the same thing for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. For so many that celebrate both, you can still offer a “Thanksgiving Countdown” incentive. There’s always a way to fudge a last-minute gimmick before Thanksgiving without anyone even knowing you didn’t plan it all along.
Get your wrapping fingers ready
Amazon.com can charge $3.99 to wrap gifts because lots of people hate to wrap. Capitalize on that by promoting free or paid wrapping services and convince shoppers to get everything they need in one place (your store).
If shoppers know they don’t have to wrap or hide anything before they get home to nosy kids and impatient spouses, you’ve just offered a huge perk of shopping with you.
Offer a gift in exchange for a gift
During holiday time, everyone is busy buying gifts and less busy buying things for themselves (like expensive dinners, for example). Does that mean they don’t want to buy things for themselves? Doubtful. That’s why it’s your job to relieve that guilt by offering last minute buy-one-get-one deals, or other incentives for the person purchasing the gift.
For example, you could offer a $25 gift card with every $100 purchase, which would be pretty easy for any restaurant or retail shop. Marketing it as a “buy [something] for yourself and get a gift card for a friend” strategy inspires customers to think they came up with the idea themselves.
Don't wait for Friday, start incentives on Thursday
Last year, Target opened at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while Sears and Wal-Mart opened at 8 p.m. This year, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy and Toys R Us will be opening on Thanksgiving. Kmart opens at 6am! Shopping on this night was almost as popular as Black Friday shopping last year, so don’t think that Friday is the only day to cash in on the holiday spirit. If employees are willing to ditch dessert to patrol the lines, throw a late-night post-Thanksgiving sale at your retail shop, or a late-night dessert snack at your restaurant.
Hype up "end of the season" seasonal products / treats
The easiest one of the bunch is the ability for restaurants to promote their seasonal specialties. Pumpkin soup, apple cider beef stew, pumpkin chili… you get the idea.
While people are in the mood to warm their cores, be sure to provide them with a modern-nostalgic cross of seasonal treats.
This goes the same for any bakery. There are now parties that require pumpkin pies, carrot cakes, pumpkin seeds and cookies, and there’s always a shortage of time in the lives of those who need to make them. That’s where you come in.
What will you cook up for Thanksgiving this year, metaphorically or otherwise?