The holiday season is upon us and if Black Friday and Cyber Monday are any indication, consumers are in a spending mood this year. That’s great news for tobacco retailers and manufacturers but instead of waiting for business to come to you, start thinking of ideas to bring business to you.
Typically, the winter months are tough for sales. The colder it gets, the more consumers tend to stay at home and hold onto their money. While many manufacturers and retailers focus on the holiday season–Thanksgiving through New Years Eve–many fail to put a marketing and sales strategy together for January, February and March when many see a sales slump that recovers later in the spring. For many tobacco businesses, however, making money and paying bills don’t take a winter break. Tobacco Business is here to help you spark your sales not just during the holiday season but well into winter. Here are some ways you can ignite your sales and profits in the months ahead.
1. Go Digital
Winter storms, travel plans, cold weather–these are just a few of the reasons traffic into retail stores are likely to decline in the weeks ahead. This impacts not just tobacconists and tobacco retail outlets but also manufacturers who need their products to move so that there’s a demand and need to replace inventory with more cigars. Take your customers into consideration and make it easy for them to shop and see what you have available from anywhere–go digital.
Sending out regular email communications to your customers about sales or holiday events in your store or new product releases is an easy way to generate interest among your customers without them having to come into your store. ConstantContact and Mailchimp are just a few email marketing programs online that will allow you to easily design email newsletters and manage a list of your customers.
Tobacco companies are also investing in more in apps, with Drew Estate’s Drew Diplomat app [read more about it here] being one that’s helped the company connect with its consumers and drive traffic into its retail partner’s stores. You can also create a website with app-like features, similar to Davidoff’s new ACCESS program (us.davidoffofgeneva.com/access) that gives consumers the chance to purchase vintage products, personalized products and helps connect them to nearby Davidoff of Geneva – Since 1911 retail stores.
2. Make a Limited-Time Offer
Consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they feel like they are getting a deal and if they are going to miss out if they don’t jump on it fast. Offer your customers something unique and exclusive that doesn’t compromise the quality of your brand.
The more niche your offer is, the better the result you may see. Recently Gurkha Cigars announced several luxury gift packages that appeal to its more premium clientele who are looking for a luxurious and unique experience and aren’t as concerned with the price. This promotion was designed around Gurkha’s unique customer base, giving them the chance to not only experience the company’s cigar portfolio but to travel as well [read more here].
3. Plan a Memorable Holiday Event
Many in the tobacco space believe an event is one where a manufacturer comes into a retail space, sets up a table and sells products offered at various deals for a few hours. This only one kind of event–get creative! From special dinners co-sponsored by your tobacco product to creating an event space within your cigar lounge or retail store, there are many ways you can make money through events–with varying levels of involvement.
Lee Ringelheim of Soho Cigar Bar in New York City, sees his share of holiday parties and other events hosted in his establishment throughout the year. He focuses on customer service and providing his patrons with a memorable experience that will keep them coming back year round. “We have event/party menus with cigar roller options, customized cigar bands, live music and the greatest gift of all, a place for a person to come indoors to have a cigar, great spirits, and eclectic array of appetizers.”
4. Attend a Winter Trade Show
For many, the winter is slow and there are not as many opportunities to make money as there are in warmer months. This is the perfect time to attend a trade show that could help your business make more money. For manufacturers, attending a holiday trade show could help you break into new markets. Tobacco products–especially cigar and pipe tobacco ones–are enjoyed during holiday events and occasions. Promote your products as a luxury item that would make any holiday gathering even more exciting. For a retailer, adding a new category of product or accessories to your store could be a new line of revenue to help bolster your sales.
For anyone involved in the tobacco industry, the TPE Show (Tobacco Plus Expo) is a great opportunity to sell or purchase tobacco, vape, and alternative products. With educational sessions focusing on growing your business throughout the year and gives you the chance to network at the start of the new year rather than mid-year in the middle of your busy summer. Presented by Tobacco Business Magazine, you can save 25 percent off TPE’s conferences using promo code TBTPE. For more information about this event, visit tobaccoplusexpo.com.
– Story by Antoine Reid, an editor and digital content director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid