Drive Traffic During the Holiday Season

Summer NAMM 2013 kicked off with the NAMM Retail Summit. The session looked at ways music retailers can supercharge their fourth quarter and holiday season. In this segment, NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond speaks with three prominent music retailers about creative ways to drive store traffic and maximize sales during the busiest days of the year.

Take Advantage of Music Lessons
Jeff Mozingo, president of Mozingo Music in St. Louis, uses the holidays as a chance to promote his sizable music lesson program. He hosts daylong holiday student showcases to draw students, families and potential customers into his store.

"The students can volunteer to be a part of that, and then they perform in the store, either in our performance venue or on the sales floor," Mozingo said.

"We have a Christmas tree in each location. They can take an ornament and write their name on it with their wish list. When their grandparents and relatives and family come in, they pull that off the tree, and they've got that wish list.

"[Students] ask their friends to come see them play, watch them perform. And then we get the information from the people that they bring … We get their email and their contact information and say, 'Would you like to have a free lesson?'"

Partner With the Media
Ryan West, senior vice president of West Music in Coralville, Iowa, leverages his media relationships to create excitement and get people into his store.

"With our local media partners, we're doing some media buying," he said. "Maybe it's for radio. Maybe it's advertising in the newspaper if we're going to do an insert. They're always looking for the next story. 'What's that feel-good thing?' And music in the holidays is a big winner.

"When [we're] partnering that media buy, we try to reach out to the other side of it—the content side—and say, 'We've got a story for you. We'll put together a press release, some PR.' And what we've found is they'll usually show up and actually come into the store, do some mentions on the air—even do a live broadcast."

Host Appointment-Only Sales
Peter Sides, president of Robert M. Sides Family Music Centers in State College, Pa., adapted a piano promotion to his band and orchestra business. The Top-Line Step-Up Showcase drives sales and rentals of B&O step-up instruments during the holidays—right before students go into festival season.

Sides' employees book appointments with potential customers, who come in to try out instruments with manufacturer reps on hand.

"We have four stores, so we did four consecutive days—Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday," he said. "We sent direct-mail letters and invitations out to current rental customers within a certain range.

"You need to have 60 to 75 percent of your sales come from appointments because mass media is only going to draw so much.

"The manufacturers set up tables with their unique instruments that aren't part of our normal stock. So that attracted certain people that had come into our store before but maybe were saying, 'This is going to be a little fresh. I've never seen this before.'

"We were able to pull off a low 80-percent closing ratio. The end result of four days was 56 instruments, and we're not in major markets. Twenty-five of those were step-up rentals, though. So if you're not doing any type of step-up rental conversion program, I'd really encourage you to look at how you can incorporate that in.

"I can't imagine we spent more than $3,500 to move 56 instruments."