I have many customers that often contemplate the idea of running a self liquidating offer (SLO) with toys and are curious to see what works and what does not.
There is no formula that will guarantee the SLO will be successful but there are certain things that can be taken into consideration when putting a program of this kind together.
The first one is to ask yourself if this is a seasonal offer. While the holidays, especially Christmas, may seem like a great idea to run a program of this sort, it is actually quite the contrary. Sometimes customers may have some extra discretionary funds available but, let’s face it, the economy is not what it used to be. With all sorts of sales offered in lots of different stores, chances a parent will spend a few extra dollars for a toy a restaurant gives away, will be very limited. What is worst, if this is the case, then you will most likely be stuck with some heavy inventory which you will have to hang on to until the following year.
Second, if someone likes your offer, you could potentially get better results if you would offer some sort of variety. Let’s say you went ahead and pulled the trigger on a holiday self liquidating offer and you decide to give away plush polar bears. I would highly encourage you to try to get your vendor to put together a variety of some sort; maybe one with a cool hat, another one with a scarf and one wearing boots! If one of your clients buys one for US$ 1.99, chances are they could potentially buy the other 2. By getting one client, your potential for additional sales from that same client have automatically increased. Whereas if you only buy a reindeer in a sled…well, and let’s say for some reason it tanks, then chances are it will tank all across the board, follow me?
Third, the amount customers are willing to spend is also crucial to the success of your SLO promotion. I have seen some restaurants selling RC cars, plush items, cool gadgets, etc. for several dollars - some as high as US$ 5.99! Yes, a suggested retail price of a given item may be high but let’s be real, NOBODY likes to pay retail and certainly, nobody is going to consider paying retail for a toy at a restaurant, regardless of how cool the item is.
Fourth - how cool is the item? Will kids like them? Will parents like them? Will both, boys and girls like them? Play it safe and offer something that is equally attractive to boys and girls, and that is not too edgy. Edgy things, while cool, scare some parents away. Parents still control expenses in the household, unless you are giving away video games and targeting kids older than 12.
So in summary, with the holiday season quickly approaching, if you are considering a self-liquidator to generate additional funds for your restaurant, think about it twice as this is no kid stuff…or at least, consider something that can be sold past a given date, something that is offered in a variety - and make sure your really cool item is not overpriced.