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8 steps to set your business up for summer success

Growth and Operations

8 steps to set your business up for summer success

Updated: December 2nd, 2022

5 Ways to Use a Business Line of Credit to Cover Seasonal Costs

For retail businesses, summer 2022 could be challenging. Though COVID restrictions have been lifted in countless areas across the country, many people still aren’t eager to ramp up their spending.

A survey from found that 47% of US adults don’t plan to increase their discretionary spending this summer, thanks in large part to rising inflation. That includes non-essential costs like travel, clothing and accessories, fitness, dining out, electronics, and entertainment. 

Gen X and Boomer survey respondents were particularly cautious; more than half (65%) said they don’t plan to increase their spending. Meanwhile, 51% of Gen Z respondents and 46% of Millennial respondents said they’d spend more in at least one category. 

As a retail business owner, your customers’ attitudes toward spending can have a big effect on your operation. This summer, you have to figure out how to generate steady revenue, while still holding onto customers who may be taking a step back from spending. 

Here are eight ways to make the most of the summer months:

1. Create or update your rewards program

A rewards program incentivizes customers to continue spending on your products or services by offering them discounts or freebies. It’s a win-win—you get consistent revenue and your customers get rewarded for their loyalty and spending. 

If you don’t already have a rewards program, consider developing one. You can give customers points with every purchase, hand out (real or virtual) stamp cards, or create tiered loyalty programs based on spending amounts and frequency. 

If you already have an effective rewards program, consider how you can revamp it this summer. The most obvious solution is to provide bigger discounts, but you could also offer non-monetary rewards, like early access to limited edition products or complimentary services with certain levels of spending. Think: tailoring at a clothing boutique or a skin consultation at a dermatology center. 

2. Host an event

Hosting a summer event is a great way to drum up business and treat your customers to a unique experience. You can also use an event to promote new products, get rid of old inventory, generate awareness for a cause, or simply show your appreciation for longtime customers.

Here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Host a monthly open house where you extend your hours and serve food and drinks while people shop 
  • Host a themed event with live music
  • Turn your store into an art gallery
  • Host a class related to your business, like a cooking class or candle-making class
  • Partner with another local small business to host a community event, like a fundraiser or family day
  • Host a pop-up shop in a different location 
  • Participate in local farmers markets and craft fairs

3. Improve your in-person shopping experience

Instead of focusing solely on your products or services this summer, consider how you can elevate your customers’ in-person shopping experience. At a minimum, that means finding ways to make shopping easier and less stressful, like cutting down checkout lines or rearranging your product displays. 

From there, think about your core customer demographic and their needs. Do your customers want a relaxing shopping experience—or an energizing one? Do they want visual stimulation or simplicity? Do they need time to explore their options or do they want to make fast decisions?

Even making a few basic changes can have a big impact on people’s moods when they enter and leave your business. Try:

  • Providing multiple checkout points and payment options
  • Changing the type of and volume of music in your store
  • Providing seating options for shoppers and their families to take a break 
  • Changing the layout of your space so people don’t feel overwhelmed when they walk in
  • Serving free beverages, like coffee, tea, or water
  • Offering a gift with a certain purchase
  • Using candles or scents to create an atmosphere 
  • Providing attentive customer service
  • Updating your store’s aesthetics by repainting, hanging art on the walls, or adding greenery 

4. Create limited edition summer products

Producing limited edition summer products gives customers a reason to engage with your business—and get something unique in the process. Depending on your customer interests and business cash flow, you could either create an entirely new product or give one of your best-selling items a summer twist. 

If you own a coffee lounge, for example, you could create a special summer latte using seasonal ingredients. If you own a clothing store, you could launch a line of summer totes or shirts. Just make sure you promote your offerings in advance and on a variety of platforms. 

5. Re-train your staff

Proper training can increase your employees’ confidence on the job and result in better customer service. Before summer starts, re-train your staff on how to handle everything from customer interactions to inventory management. You may also want to enroll managers in a leadership training course that teaches them how to handle conflict, delegate tasks effectively, and lead with empathy. 

6. Rethink your employee care

The better you care for your employees, the more likely they are to be happy and engaged at work. Creating a positive workplace environment starts with showing genuine appreciation for your employees and taking an interest in their overall well-being. In addition to offering feedback and thanking them for their efforts, consider expanding their benefits. You could:

  • Offer a summer bonus or higher commissions
  • Give extra vacation days or mental health days
  • Give employees a stipend to cover commuting costs
  • Reward employees for their hard work with a gift
  • Increase wages for the summer to account for inflation

7. Focus your marketing efforts

This summer, try focusing your marketing budget and resources on your most effective type of campaign or channel. Depending on your business and customer base, that might be email newsletters, social media partnerships, video campaigns, word-of-mouth referrals, or even outdoor signage if you’re in an area with heavy foot traffic. 

Start by reviewing your marketing expenses and data over the past year. Considering the costs and results, identify your top-performing distribution channels and either eliminate or pause the ones with the smallest ROI. Tightening your marketing focus for the summer lets you reach customers in the most effective way while cutting costs. 

8. Revisit your technology 

The right business technology can save your employees time, speed up checkout, and engage your customers in interesting ways. Before summer kicks off, audit your business software and consider how you can either automate or improve certain operational processes. You might want to:

  • Upgrade your point of sale system to process customer payments faster
  • Invest in customer relationship management software to better reach customers and tailor promotions
  • Review your store management software to make sure your inventory counts are accurate
  • Adopt QR codes so customers can shop on their phones and score discounts
  • Update your online store so customers can talk to chatbots and get automatic product recommendations 
  • Try out software that monitors foot traffic to your business 

Invest in your summer sales 

Customer spending might fluctuate this summer, but you can still make the most of the season’s sales opportunities. Getting financing can help you stay proactive and adaptable. If you need to bridge a cash flow gap or stock up on inventory, consider applying for a Funding Circle line of credit or term loan

Our financing solutions are designed with flexibility and affordability in mind, so you can get the cash you need to meet your summer goals—without adding extra stress on your plate. 

Want more information? Learn more about our term loans or see if a business line of credit is right for you


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